niallon – National Anthem

Yes I forgot to do a write up on ‘Zombie’ (and ‘The Funeral’ come to think of it) and yes we’re back to solo videos this week. I can be consistent in my inconsistency though, haven’t you heard?

This song just straight up breaks my heart if I’m being honest. There are a couple of thousand things I reckon Brian Fallon wrote this song in relation to, and there are a thousand more things personally to me that I can relate it to and in essence, that’s a large part of why I love songwriting. A part of you wants every listener to get what you meant when you wrote it, another part of you enjoys the different interpretations rolling in, especially if they are well wide of the mark to where your head was when you wrote it. I listen to ‘National Anthem’ and I am regularly struck dumb by the lines “I remember when she looked so good in that dress / Now she just screams that I promised her more than this / Take it easy baby, it ain’t over yet” and to me they are some of the finest words ever committed to paper in relation to the trials and tribulations of love and marriage. They’re also the only explicit reference in the song to those topics. Technically speaking, the song is more focused on the modern day tech obsession and maybe a little loss that Fallon feels is deriving from that (“Everybody lately is living up in space / Flying through transmissions on invisible airwaves”). To me though, those aforementioned lines are just so powerful that they dominate the entire song. Whereas they are mostly an aside in reality, to me the rest of the song is the aside. But that’s music, and that’s lyrics, that’s art. That’s also enough from me, and I swear the I’m Talkin’ Here slacking off is over!

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niallon – Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

I was first introduced to this song via Rod Stewart’s cover. Suffice to say I was surprised to find out that it was originally written and recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Up until that point I solely knew them for Bad Moon Rising which in turn I solely knew as the song from An American Werewolf In London. I can confirm I’ve now educated myself far more thoroughly with CCR’s back catalogue though and this song has remained one of my favourites of theirs.

We have covered a few tracks in the past where the intent has been to shine a spotlight on some songs that get dismissed as run of the mill, when in fact there’s a very sincere and well thought out piece buried within layers of production. This one somewhat falls into that category, though I’d hardly argue that the sincerity is absent in the original. Frontman John Fogerty maintains that the song was written in relation to rising tensions within the band and specifically the impending departure of his brother Tom from the group, despite the theorising that it related to the Vietnam war amongst other things. Nobody can argue that there is a genuine level of emotion and strife to be heard in the original but for me there’s an alternate spin available by bringing it down a bit more in pace, tearing the song open and letting it be even more raw. And that’s how we ended up here! As always, watch, like, share, subscribe!

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niallon – Not In Love

Another request, another song totally new to us. Even though I’ve seen Crystal Castles live and would consider myself somewhat of a fan of The Cure, this song had never managed to cross my radar! Once again though the magic of the requests pays off and we now have another track in our repertoire I could easily see getting played again down the line. Approaching the arrangement on this one was interesting, somewhat similar to Far Away in many ways. On the one hand there was a straightforward acoustic “hash it out” type approach on offer but as we dug a bit deeper we found something more substantial. We actually didn’t discover until well after the fact that this was a cover itself, originally released by Platinum Blonde and listening to the original we probably fall more in line with that but that’s to be expected I guess, once we decided to strip away the more electronic elements from it.

In the past we’ve covered the likes of David Guetta and Fragma with the aim being to put a new spin on songs whilst hopefully opening up the access to a broader range of genres. Crystal Castles would definitely be of a niche variety which unfortunately means many would easily overlook this track, and diving further still I doubt I’d have ever heard any Platinum Blonde without discovering they were the originators of this track. Sometimes people can be very quick to label music of a certain type as “not my thing” or the wrong genre and when I say people I most definitely include myself in there because I’m a nightmare for this at times. Sometimes though it’s worth taking songs as just that, songs. Peel away the genres for a moment and just take the song as it comes. I can guarantee that in a worst case scenario you’ll find yourself with a new outlook on a song you had maybe long since wrote off. With that rant from the highest hill over and done with, watch, like, share, subscribe!

niallon – Use Somebody

When Kings Of Leon released they’re massively successful album “Only By The Night” a strange thing seemed to happen. All of a sudden they had a legion of new fans after years as indie darlings and I can proudly say I was one of those fans. At least I was a fan of the album anyway. Many say they “sold out” (whatever that term really means) and what resulted was incredibly accessible tracks like Sex On Fire, Revelry and of course Use Somebody.

The first time he heard it my father described Use Somebody as a ‘real rock song’ and I don’t think I’d even attempt to find a better description. It may be a bit generic, a bit straightforward, but it incredibly efficiently succeeds in conveying a central point while never sacrificing intellect at the same time. There was a more straightforward way to write this song, a way to make this a song more appropriate for a plain Jane pop act but it carries enough smarts to rise above that. As always, watch, like, share, subscribe!

niallon – Kids

Another cheat but, c’mon, the mullet era needs to be updated! Alongside Toca’s Miracle, this is a very significant cover in myself and Peter’s history of collaborations. These covers originated in us wanting to figure out new spins we could put on well known songs, keeping them familiar but at the same time making them our own. Since we first put our stamp on it we have performed this song on multiple occasions and, a little like Mr Brightside last week, it seems to be one of those songs that just insists on lasting. As always, watch, like, share, subscribe! 

niallon – Mr Brightside

We’re now up to our 3rd track from The Killers on this page and it’s safe to say this is the big one. Mr Brightside was an instant classic when it released back in 2004 (though it technically released in 2003 to little or no fanfare!). Since then it has gone on to become an anthem for so many significant moments in mine and many other’s lives, ever present in the background in moments of sadness, joy, romance, tragedy and the rest. That might sound like a gross exaggeration of a song’s relevance, but this truly was the soundtrack to a generation, and still continues to be in some ways. So when it came to covering it, these thoughts were front and centre in our heads. In its original form, this song is timeless excellence and there are also a huge number of more than decent acoustic covers of it on YouTube already, so what were we gonna do? What we settled on, and what I believe we’ve pulled off sits somewhere between acoustic cover and putting a different spin on things. Mr Brightside has an anthemic quality and does nothing but get people buzzing when it lands on a night out or at a gig, but behind that the lyrics tell a different story. Mr Brightside lyrically paints a tragic picture that’s all too real when you’re a teenager (and older) – you love them, they don’t reciprocate, worse still you have to watch as they go on to impart that love on others but yourself…..Jesus, it’s brutal stuff really. Unrequited love has always been a massive driver of lyrics and has led to the creation of some of the best songs in existence. We hope, through this spin on it, that we’ve done a good job of bringing Mr Brightside into that fold. And, as always, watch, like, share, subscribe!

James Blunt – The Afterlove Review

James-blunt-the-afterlove
Wikipedia.org

Yes, he’s back. And you probably hate him too much by now to be bothered. That’s OK, he knows it and with The Afterlove he’s here to talk about it. What Blunt has produced with his 5th album is a fusion of his more traditional style mopey ballads with some more modern 21st century pop sounds and for the most part it has been a resounding success.

Continue reading James Blunt – The Afterlove Review