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Norwegian Nightcap: AURORA

Blend of both ubiquity and originality, Norwegian gospel guru-artist AURORA is a pop mastermind deep in the depths of wispy pop-folk mastery.

As enchanting as Into The Unknown itself, her follow-up shake-up album of The Gods We Touch is primed and armed to make anthological history with an album that is just sheer pleasure to listen to.

AURORA – Better known for her emphatic tales of Runaway and Running With The Wolves from All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend.

Running the same concord as similar angels in our game like LORDE and Agnes Obel, her ethereal refrains are contextually and lyrically magnificent in their own beautiful, simplistic way. Having not heard much of her – since this initial release splattered seemingly everywhere – I’m very grateful for forced marketing introducing me to such a compelling artist of our time.

Tastefully curated with sharp tones to boot, AURORA is a once cover artist for John Lewis adverts (AURORA covered Oasis’ Half The World Away in 2015 for such an advert) to a now fully fleshed, immersive and quirky character within an ever-growing and an ever-influential music industry that need its role models to keep the wheels churning. And by God, do we have it.

This is AURORA, and she is my artist of the week.

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BRIT AWARDS 2022 PERFORMERS ANNOUNCED

The set of artists for this years’ Brit Awards has been announced ahead of the scheduled date of 8th Feb at The O2.

The likes of Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, Holly Humberstone and Doja Cat are among the performers on the night.

Amongst a few big yawns, it will be yet another night of hopeful celebrations of the best of British music – all of the British music that is simply mainstream, mind. You’ve all heard my thoughts on award shows so this is not the time or place for that extensive argument, but still.

It will be interesting to note how upcoming music artists are going to be reflected and of course, those all important amendments to male/female artists categories that will no doubt spark up controversy … with people that doesn’t affect at all! I think if it makes the artists more comfortable reprising their roles in the music industry, then I’m all for it! I was this close to purchasing pre-sale tickets but at £80 a pop at The O2, I didn’t think it was necessarily worth the ticket price considering the line-up stacks and the typical stigma of award ceremonies … !

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Adele ’30’: Album Review

After an excruciating wait …

the definitive voice of heartbreak returns.

That’s right. Adele is back. With the album portraying an emotive struggle as she stands at the ultimate cross-roads, the new sounds of Adele is fresh, immersive and simply brilliant. Becoming written gospel at this point, it’s classic Adele at its best.

There is certainly some elements in this album that may come as a surprise to some, however. With angelic triumph of Easy On Me acting somewhat of a red herring, it sees Adele branching out to new sounds. With the distorted magic of Cry Your Heart Out and the funk-edge of Can I Get It many may see it as tonic Adele-brilliance, while others may seem it as fusion confusion. The classic Adele-prowess we’ve all grown to love from the Tottenham singer is rawer here though, with these broader sounds coming to the frame. Where she may have been accused in the past for playing it safe, all genre inspirations are on show here. The bold and brash is ultimately bolstered more-so with its gospel and string arrangements that make it such a pleasure to listen to.

For me, it’s a fantastically fresh and superbly simple on making music. Turns out that yet again, all you need to make compelling music is a piano arrangement – accompanied with an astounding voice.

Although the album is being received with mixed results, I think it’s a great idea to switch up the scene and flip the excepted into something new. It shouldn’t be written in her career to always make Rolling In The Deep-etiquette. She was only 21 when she wrote that after all.

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Adele and The Vinyl Delay: What’s the Problem?

Ever since Ed Sheeran spoke about him having to push his new album out quicker because of Adele booking every vinyl factory for her release of ’30’ this week, there has been a huge delay in production getting shifted out of the factory gates. But it’s not solely Adele’s fault.

The huge waiting times for vinyl production – and music production in general – is due to the fact that since the pandemic struck our industry, every avid musician and producer out there is making albums between the dates of September 2021 to 2022. With no avenues to tour and no discernible income from new, hot records – the time to push is now. With record labels setting high standards of lead times and deadlines, it’s come at a cost of getting the music to the consumers.

The real problem lies why this is a real issue. We wouldn’t have to necessarily rely on the manufacturing of vinyls if vinyls weren’t the only thing musicians relied on to earn any aspect of money. Therein lies the problem – the monetisation of the music industry.

If it weren’t for the hideous regimes of streaming services providing ill-health to the pockets of the musicians, the only real way of earning any equivocal value is via merchandise and vinyls (and cassettes, for some.)

It seems that the exponential growth of vinyls since the pandemic has caused the huge spikes in new vinyl releases, classic legacy albums and remastered editions to peak in production and value.

Whether or not this will be subside is another question. One thing is for sure though – this will continue long into next year. The resolution is the issues of music streaming, and certainly not those within the vinyl factories. Where are you at with this one? Let me know your thoughts!

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Ed Sheeran: Is = Worth it?

It’s been a week since Sheeran’s fifth album, = and despite topping the charts with another Number One album of his, … but is it a worthy addition to his collection of mathematical symbols?

Since his adolescent debut of + way back in 2010, Sheeran has become a quintessential pop legend throughout the decade. But as he began to shift away from his true acoustic-folk works to the more chart-topping arena pop anthems, many people feel that he has become to lose his way, and ultimately sell himself to the mass public of the music industry. Whether that may be true or not, Ed Sheeran’s recent album falls short of the mark in every sense of the word for me.

Flush with the plasticity of pop – from Shivers to Bad Habits – the album feels boyish, lazy and oddly rushed from a production perspective. The slow, emotive moves of Love in Slow Motion and Visiting Hours seem like favourable works that begin to save the album from its brink, but the lazy fillers of Sandman and Be Right Now choke any desire for this album to reflect any songwriting with depth.

Whether it was the fatherhood break that threatened his retirement from the love of music – or the fact that he was taking a break from songwriting itself – the change in Divide to Equals is somewhat devastating.

I totally understand the desire to change your creativity avenues all to make adventurous music that you have never attempted before, but I really do miss the authentic and enriching style of + for his debut. Whether that was because it was at the start of his career and the fame and adoration was not all that present at that moment in time, we’ll never know.

Still, we’ll always have those albums to cherish. He’ll do whatever he loves to do. He’s the biggest music artist in the world after all.