Top 30 Songs for June 26-July 2, 2022

Brooklyn, New York-based Two Feet (the music moniker of singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Bill Dess) has been my favorite music artist for the past four years or so. I’ve written about him numerous times on this blog, and have seen three of his live shows. His latest single “Tell Me The Truth” assumes the #1 spot on this week’s Top 30, his tenth song to top my weekly chart. Many of his songs are sultry and sensual, but “Tell Me The Truth”, taken from his fourth album Shape & Form, is one of his darkest and sexiest yet. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of a man who’s tried everything to win the love of a woman he desires, to no avail. “For too long, I dream of you, All that you do. I watch you float on, float on. For too long, I contemplate, I try to be all that you need. So tell me the truth, my baby, baby. Is it me, is it you?

It’s a powerful and gorgeous song, and I love how it transitions from haunting interludes of restrained instrumentals and vocals in the verses, to an explosive, cinematic crescendo in the choruses, in which Two Feet’s vocals are more impassioned and raw than we’ve ever heard before. It’s also longer than most of his previous songs, and his scorching guitar solo in the final chorus is well worth the wait. He’s commented that it’s his favorite of all the songs he’s written and recorded, and I have to say that it’s certainly one of mine. The steamy video, directed by Brian Lipko and starring a finely chiseled Two Feet and sexy LA-based model and restauranteur Tina Louise, shows them experiencing the throes of unrequited sexual desire and angst, both together and alone.

Entering the top 10 this week are “About Damn Time” by Lizzo and “A Little Bit of Love” by Weezer, who I’m happy are still making music after nearly 30 years together. Making a strong upward movement are My Chemical Romance‘s “The Foundations of Decay” and Arcade Fire‘s “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”, both of which climb seven spots to #16 and #22, respectively. Three new songs make their debut: “The Funeral” by British artist YUNGBLUD (which I realized I really like after reading this post by fellow blogger The Alternative Mixtapes), “Mistakes” by the always wonderful Sharon Van Etten, and the haunting “Failure to Comply” by MISSIO, another one of my favorite artists, who I’ll finally be seeing perform live in LA on July 30.

  1. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (3)
  2. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (1)
  3. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (2)
  4. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (4)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  6. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (7)
  7. BELIEVE – Caamp (9)
  8. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (12)
  9. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (11)
  10. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (8)
  11. WILD – Spoon (6)
  12. 2am – Foals (13)
  13. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (10)
  14. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (15)
  15. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (16)
  16. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (23)
  17. CLOSER – The Frontier (20)
  18. LONELY – Sea Girls (21)
  19. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (22)
  20. SLEEP – Gooseberry (14)
  21. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (25)
  22. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (29)
  23. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses(26)
  24. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (17)
  25. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (18)
  26. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (28)
  27. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (30)
  28. THE FUNERAL – YUNGBLUD (N)
  29. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (N)
  30. FAILURE TO COMPLY – MISSIO (N)

EML’s Favorite Songs – “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes

The other night I watched the wonderful classic 1942 film Now, Voyager, starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains on Turner Classic Movies. Seeing Davis in scenes on the cruise ship, her famous eyes luminescent beneath the wide-brimmed white hat, made me think of the 1981 Kim Carnes hit song “Bette Davis Eyes”. It’s my favorite song of 1981, and ranks among my favorite songs of all time.

“Bette Davis Eyes” was written in 1974 by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, who’d had prior success with her hits “What the World Needs Now is Love” and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”. With lyrics about a strong-willed, alluring and precocious woman with “Greta Garbo standoff sighs and Bette Davis eyes“, the song was originally recorded in 1974 by DeShannon for inclusion on her album New Arrangement. Her original recording has more of a country vibe, with twangy guitars and honky tonk piano, but it was Kim Carnes’ more synth-heavy 1981 version that made “Bette Davis Eyes” a massive worldwide hit. It spent nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached #1 in many countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and South Africa. It was ranked the #1 song of 1981 on the Hot 100, and also won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Though she’d been writing and recording music for well over a decade, it wasn’t until 1980 that the raspy-voiced Carnes broke through with two top 10 hits – her duet with Kenny Rogers “Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer”, which she co-wrote with her husband Dave Ellingson, and a terrific cover of the Smokey Robinson song “More Love”. But it was her cover of “Bette Davis Eyes” that shot her to international fame and acclaim.

The song fell into her lap almost by accident during the search for material for her album Mistaken Identity, which she was recording with music producer/engineer Val Garay (who’d previously produced “More Love”). Garay later recalled that songwriter Donna Weiss had contacted him about a song she’d just written with Bruce Roberts that she wanted to play for him and Carnes. “So she came over and played us the song, and Kim and I kind of looked at each other and we thought, ‘Yeah, not bad.’ But it wasn’t what we were looking for. So she said, ‘Well, you know, I have this other song I gave to George Tobin and nothing ever came of it.’ And that was ‘Bette Davis Eyes.’ Kim had actually heard it before, and liked it. So she played the demo for me, and it was totally different than the record. It sounds like a Leon Russell track, with this beer-barrel polka piano part. But I loved the melody and I loved the lyrics.

Garay had keyboardist Bill Cuomo come up with the signature synth riff, using a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer, which became a defining element of Carnes’ more sensual and rather mysterious version. The song was recorded in the studio on the first take. (Wikipedia, MIX webzine)

Bette Davis was 73 years old when Carnes’ version of “Bette Davis Eyes” became a hit, and was thrilled to have a song named after her and inspired by her legacy. She wrote letters to Carnes, Weiss, and DeShannon, telling them she loved the song and thanking them for making her “a part of modern times“, also adding that her grandson now looked up to her and told her she had “finally made it”. After their Grammy wins, Davis sent all three of them roses as well. In her 1987 memoir This ‘N’ That, Davis wrote “It was a thrill to become a part of the rock generation” as a result of the song. Carnes and Davis also struck up a special friendship, with Carnes visiting Davis at her home several times before her death in 1989.

Her hair is Harlow gold
Her lips a sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She's got Bette Davis eyes
She'll turn her music on you
You won't have to think twice
She's pure as New York snow
She got Bette Davis eyes

And she'll tease you, she'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious, and she knows just what it
Takes to make a pro blush
She got Greta Garbo's standoff sighs, she's got Bette Davis eyes

She'll let you take her home
It whets her appetite
She'll lay you on a throne
She got Bette Davis eyes
She'll take a tumble on you
Roll you like you were dice
Until you come out blue
She's got Bette Davis eyes

She'll expose you, when she snows you
Off your feet with the crumbs, she throws you
She's ferocious and she knows just what it
Takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she's a spy, she's got Bette Davis eyes

She'll tease you, she'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious, and she knows just what it
Takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she's a spy, she's got Bette Davis eyes
She'll tease you
She'll unease you
Just to please you
She's got Bette Davis eyes
She'll expose you
When she snows you
'Cause she knows you, she's got Bette Davis Eyes
She'll tease you

The song’s official video, which shows Kim Carnes singing in front of her support band before an audience of oddly-costumed people doing bizarre dance moves and symbolically slapping one another in sync with the percussive synths, is deeply unsatisfying to me. I think it would have been far more effective to have Carnes sing the song against a visual backdrop of scenes of Bette Davis from some of her most iconic film roles, but my guess is that it would have been prohibitively expensive or a lengthy legal process, or both, to obtain the rights to be able to include such scenes.

Here’s a simple audio of the song, which has much better sound quality:

Top 30 Songs for June 19-25, 2022

One of my best new finds of 2022 is the young British singer-songwriter Charley Hullah, who goes by just his last name, stylized as HULLAH. I learned about the handsome and talented London-based artist as a result of being a guest moderator for the BBC Music weekly song competition Fresh On The Net, for which he’d entered his single “Chasing Trains”. I loved the beautiful song the moment I heard it, and chose it as one of my five top picks out of the 170 entries. (Three others of those top five have also appeared on my Weekly Top 30: “Deception” by Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard, which reached #1 in late April, “The Hurt Within” by Holy Coves and “La Cienega” by Chief Springs, which is still on this list.) Now in its 15th week on my list, I’m thrilled to finally place “Chasing Trains” at the top. HULLAH’s compelling lyrics, haunting melody, sparkling atmospheric synths and ethereal vocals are gorgeous, and I love this song more with every listen.

In other chart developments, Two Feet moves up three spots to #3 with his smoldering song of desire “Tell Me The Truth”, and Florence + the Machine, The Black Keys, Harry Styles, Spoon, Sam Fender and Bob Moses continue to dominate the top 10. Caamp climbs three spots to #9 with their lovely “Believe”, Weezer‘s optimistic “A Little Bit of Love” also moves up three to #11, and Lizzo‘s delightful “About Damn Time” leaps 14 spots to #12. Making their debut this week are “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” by Arcade Fire, and the brilliant “Lin Manuel” by New York-based indie rock band Onism E.

  1. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (2)
  2. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (1)
  3. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (6)
  4. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (3)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (4)
  6. WILD – Spoon (5)
  7. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (8)
  8. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (10)
  9. BELIEVE – Caamp (12)
  10. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (9)
  11. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (14)
  12. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (26)
  13. 2am – Foals (15)
  14. SLEEP – Gooseberry (7)
  15. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (17)
  16. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (18)
  17. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (11)
  18. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (13)
  19. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (16)
  20. CLOSER – The Frontier (22)
  21. LONELY – Sea Girls (23)
  22. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (24)
  23. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (25)
  24. ON MY KNEES – RÜFÜS DU SOL (19)
  25. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (28)
  26. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (29)
  27. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (20)
  28. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (30)
  29. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (N)
  30. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 12-18, 2022

No matter how often I listen to “My Love” by Florence + the Machine, my love for it (no pun intended) only grows stronger, and the gorgeous song maintains a firm grip on the #1 spot for a third week. Moving up two notches to #2 is “Chasing Trains” by London singer songwriter HULLAH, another beautiful song I never tire of hearing. In other notable chart movements, my favorite artist Two Feet jumps six spots to #6 with his darkly sexy “Tell Me The Truth”, and Ohio band Caamp leaps 10 spots with their lovely song “Believe”.

Three new songs make their debut this week: “About Damn Time” by Lizzo, her first ever appearance on my chart, enters at #26. I know she’s one of the most popular artists around today, but none of her previous songs have really appealed to me until “About Damn Time”, and I can’t resist its infectious 70s dance groove. At #29 is “Warning Signs” by the wonderful Band of Horses, whose songs never disappoint. And bringing up the rear is “Desperately Wanting”, a haunting collaboration by prolific and talented singer-songwriters Brian Lambert and Marc Schuster.

  1. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (1)
  2. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (4)
  3. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (2)
  4. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  5. WILD – Spoon (6)
  6. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (12)
  7. SLEEP – Gooseberry (3)
  8. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (9)
  9. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (7)
  10. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (11)
  11. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (8)
  12. BELIEVE – Caamp (22)
  13. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (10)
  14. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (16)
  15. 2am – Foals (17)
  16. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (18)
  17. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (19)
  18. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (20)
  19. ON MY KNEES – RÜFÜS DU SOL (13)
  20. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (15)
  21. THE HURT WITHIN – Holy Coves (14)
  22. CLOSER – The Frontier (24)
  23. LONELY – Sea Girls (25)
  24. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (26)
  25. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (29)
  26. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (N)
  27. DECEPTION – Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard (21)
  28. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (30)
  29. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (N)
  30. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 5-11, 2022

Florence + the Machine‘s cinematic “My Love” holds the #1 spot for a second week, while The Black Keys‘ “Wild Child” remains at #2. Brooklyn band Gooseberry climbs a notch to #3 with their wonderful “Sleep”, and London artist HULLAH moves up to #4 with his ethereal and moody “Chasing Trains”. British band The Amazons‘ “Bloodrush” climbs four spots to #11, Two Feet jumps seven spots to #12 with his smoldering “Tell Me The Truth”, and Caamp’s “Believe” leaps eight spots to #22. Two songs make their debut this week – the epic “The Foundations of Decay” by My Chemical Romance, their first new music in eight years, and the buoyant “In The Mirror” by Los Angeles ska punk band The Interrupters, entering at #29 and 30, respectively.

  1. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (1)
  2. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (2)
  3. SLEEP – Gooseberry (4)
  4. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (5)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (3)
  6. WILD – Spoon (6)
  7. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (7)
  8. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (8)
  9. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (10)
  10. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (9)
  11. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (15)
  12. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (19)
  13. ON MY KNEES – RÜFÜS DU SOL (11)
  14. THE HURT WITHIN – Holy Coves (13)
  15. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (14)
  16. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (17)
  17. 2am – Foals (18)
  18. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (20)
  19. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (21)
  20. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (22)
  21. DECEPTION – Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard (12)
  22. BELIEVE – Caamp (30)
  23. ANIMAL – Partisan (25)
  24. CLOSER – The Frontier (27)
  25. LONELY – Sea Girls (28)
  26. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (29)
  27. I LOVE YOU – Fontaines D.C. (16)
  28. WHAT, ME WORRY? – Portugal. The Man (23)
  29. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (N)
  30. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (N)

VULTURE PARTY – Single Review: “Blood Wolf Moon”

Vulture Party is a Scottish three-piece who, in their own words, play “disquieting Alt Pop for the socially conscious“. Based in Falkirk, a smallish city located roughly halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the band consists of Louise Ward, David King and Dickson Telfer. Having both a male and female vocalist deliver their thought-provoking lyrics also gives their already fascinating sound even greater nuance and depth.

They released their debut single “New Humans” in 2019, followed a few months later with “Sun Dance”, then dropped their eponymous debut album Vulture Party in April 2020, just as the pandemic turned the world upside down and brought everything to a crashing halt. Undeterred, they began writing and recording songs for their second album Archipelago, and in July 2021, they released “Afterlife”, the first of a series of singles to be included on Archipelago. They followed up with “Iso Disco” this past January, and now return with “Blood Wolf Moon“, the third single off the forthcoming album, to be released later this summer on the not-for-profit independent record label Last Night From Glasgow.

About the song, the band explains “‘Blood Wolf Moon’ is a contemporary take on European werewolf folklore where, through isolation and lack of human connection, people were labelled as outcasts, leading to their basic need for love not being met. Our theme for the song and music video is a werewolf searching for human contact and finding love through music and dance. Despite the subject matter, the tune is upbeat and buoyant, influenced in part by European dance and pop.”

Musically, the song calls to mind some of the great European dance-pop songs of the 80s, with its deep, pulsating bass and drum-fueled beat, overlain with sweeping, almost psychedelic synths, sparkling keyboards, edgy guitar notes and crisp percussion. Louise and David’s intertwining vocal harmonies are really marvelous too. I love this type of synth-heavy dance music, and “Blood Wolf Moon” fills the bill quite nicely.

The delightfully silly video, filmed, directed and edited by Neil McKenzie of Keep it Creative, shows Louise as a campy werewolf who’s also a big Dolly Parton fan, sneaking around and trying to take part in a line dancing society event where David and Dickson are participating. She finally succeeds in the end, fitting in with the other dancers.

Connect with Vulture Party:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Stream their music:  SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloudYouTube

Purchase on Bandcamp

Top 30 Songs for May 29-June 4, 2022

I love the music of British band Florence + the Machine. Fronted by singer-songwriter Florence Welch, their sound is a glorious blend of indie rock, baroque pop, folk, art rock and soul. Their gorgeous song “My Love” takes over the #1 spot on my Weekly Top 30. The third single from their new album Dance Fever, Welch told Rolling Stone that she initially envisioned the song as a “sad little poem” to be performed acoustically, but later transformed it into a number she describes as “Nick Cave at the club.” In an interview with BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, she commented “Sometimes the biggest dance songs, I think, have a really sad core to them.” The song was co-written by Glass Animals vocalist Dave Bayley, with whom she collaborated on Dance Fever along with Jack Antonoff. The video for “My Love” was directed by Autumn de Wilde, who also directed the videos for the previous two Florence + the Machine singles “King” and “Heaven Is Here”. In the video, Welch is shown performing a concert in a pretentious nightclub, where she hypnotizes and immobilizes people, then arranges them in dances. Very baroque and cinematic.

In other chart developments, the songs at #s 3-7 remain in their same positions, while two beautiful songs – “Virginia (Wind in the Night)” by The Head and the Heart and “Seventeen Going Under” by Sam Fender – enter the top 10. Debuting this week are “Beds Are Burning”, a terrific remake of the Midnight Oil classic by AWOLNATION, featuring guest vocals by Rise Against lead singer Tim McIlrath, and “Believe” by American folk band Caamp, making their first appearance on my Weekly Top 30.

  1. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (2)
  2. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (1)
  3. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (3)
  4. SLEEP – Gooseberry (4)
  5. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (5)
  6. WILD – Spoon (6)
  7. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (7)
  8. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (10)
  9. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (11)
  10. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (12)
  11. ON MY KNEES – RÜFÜS DU SOL (13)
  12. DECEPTION – Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard (8)
  13. THE HURT WITHIN – Holy Coves (14)
  14. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (16)
  15. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (17)
  16. I LOVE YOU – Fontaines D.C. (9)
  17. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (20)
  18. 2am – Foals (21)
  19. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (25)
  20. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (22)
  21. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (23)
  22. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (24)
  23. WHAT, ME WORRY? – Portugal. The Man (15)
  24. BROKEN HORSES – Brandi Carlile (18)
  25. ANIMAL – Partisan (28)
  26. BLACK SUMMER – Red Hot Chili Peppers (19)
  27. CLOSER – The Frontier (29)
  28. LONELY – Sea Girls (30)
  29. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (N)
  30. BELIEVE – Caamp (N)

Onism E – Single Review: “Lin Manuel”

Photos by JMK Pictures

For my final review that I’ll be writing for the foreseeable future, I’m featuring an amazing band with a fascinating name, Onism E. The brainchild of California-born, Texas-raised and now New York City-based singer-songwriter Eline Chavez, the term “Onism” can be defined as “The awareness of how little of the world you will actually experience.” Inspired by groundbreaking female rockers like Joan Jett, Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge, Eline draws from her experiences living in vastly different places to create her own distinctive style of edgy and soulful indie rock, expressed through her honest, often biting lyrics and fierce vocals.

To help deliver her message, Eline has enlisted three talented Texas musicians – Chris ‘Lefty’ Vargas on guitar, Chris ‘CeeRod’ Rodriguez on bass, and Raj Arenas on drums. The energy and inspiration they contribute helps elevate Onism E to even greater musical heights, and together, their warm, welcoming approach and riveting live performances have enabled them to form a strong positive relationship with their fans. Since the release of their debut single “Love You More” in August 2019, they’ve dropped several more outstanding singles, as well as an album Survivors in February 2021. Now they’re back with a brilliant new single “Lin Manuel“, a song inspired by Eline’s struggles of trying to make it as a musician during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

The song is darkly beautiful and melodic, with a moody, almost progressive vibe. The arrangement and instrumentation are pretty spectacular too. CeeRod lays down a sensuous throbbing bassline, while Raj keeps pace with his flawless drumming that goes from restrained to explosive and back again. Then there’s Lefty’s gorgeous intricate guitar work, which is positively mind-blowing. Wow, this man can play, coaxing shimmery notes, wobbly psychedelic riffs and screaming distortion from his six-string, seemingly with ease. All this incredible music serves as a dramatic backdrop for Eline’s powerhouse vocals, which she delivers with an impassioned conviction that’s downright chilling. “Lin Manuel” is a magnificent track in every sense of the word.

I asked Eline why she chose to name the song after the talented singer-songwriter, composer, playwright and actor, to which she kindly responded: “I’ve always found Lin [Manuel] an inspiring individual. He’s been one of those people that just kept going and working to make his dream happen. As an indie artist, I gravitate towards people like him because his story resonates with me. It’s about the everyday struggle where I question my place in this industry – ‘What am I doing? Should I keep playing? Should I keep working towards this goal?’ I know it’s a common artist struggle but during the pandemic, that voice got louder and I started questioning my next steps. I kept thinking…what would Lin do right now, what would Tom (Petty) or Bruce (Springsteen) do? The answer was always the same. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep believing.”

Those sentiments are beautifully articulated in her poetic lyrics: “Broken glass and shattered ceilings, I’m still waiting for my season they tell me you will one day see. But darkness comes and darkness goes, and I’m still all alone here with my dreams. / Lin Manuel reminded me that freedom comes at a cost for those who believe in. But I’m so scared of failing, I rarely sleep, I rarely sleep. And we’re all just working for better days, but sometimes I wanna scream!

Connect with Onism E: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Stream their music: SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloudYouTube

Purchase on Bandcamp

SKAR DE LINE – Single & Video Review: “Reset”

Skar de Line is the solo music project of singer-songwriter, producer and composer Oskar Abrahamsson, a talented, handsome, thoughtful and creative artist born and raised in Sweden and now based in London, England. Fascinated by the concept of boundaries and the human obsession for self-understanding, he fuses his love for cinematic soundtracks by such composers as Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Ramin Djawadi with hip-hop, rock and electronic metal to create dark, unconventional music that takes the listener on a sonic adventure while giving us a lot to think about. He writes, performs, records and produces all his own music, as well as writing, directing and editing all his music videos.

In October 2019, Skar de Line released his debut single “In Charge”, a fascinating orchestral electronic song about the human need to understand and control our surroundings, followed a year later by “Satisfied”, which explored the concept of satisfaction, posing the question “do we get satisfaction from being right, or merely by the act of searching for what we think we want?” The intensely dramatic song ended up spending 10 weeks on my Weekly Top 30 from January through March of 2021. (I reviewed both singles, and you can check them out by clicking on the Related links at the end of this post.)

Now he’s back with another single “Reset“, a dark and cinematic song that sees him continuing to explore new musical sounds by pushing beyond his comfort zone. He explains that the song “is built on my need to be better. A wish to constantly evolve, but also a fear that nothing ever will be enough. This is a journey out of this mental prison, in order to try to find something that I believe in, something I can hold on to forever.” He further elaborated on his Instagram page “Does every circle, even the ones we’ve created ourselves, hold us back? No matter how positive they are meant to be? As I looked around the room, I knew myself well enough to know that in my search to be better, this moment was just a phase, and would not mean anything in the next moment once I’ve grown beyond it. But I didn’t know if I really could accept that and let that happen, or if I, in this moment, could be more than that… Just take what I needed from myself.

“Reset” opens on an eerie note, with sounds of Skar de Line’s echoed breathy gasps, which are soon accompanied by a distant rumbling bass and gently ticking drums as he sings in a rather ominous voice “Every time I open my eyes I kill an old version of mine. But I’m not a murderer, no, I’m a maker./ Every time I close my eyes, I am already set to reset.” From there, the music gradually builds as the breathy gasps continue, with the addition of dark orchestral synths and sharp percussion, creating a strong aura of tension along the way. His vocals turn more menacing as the tension continues to build, finally exploding into a bombastic cinematic crescendo, highlighted by a hauntingly beautiful angelic chorus that he states serves to “lift us out of the darkness“.

The brilliant video, filmed mostly in black and white and sepia tones, pays homage to the neo-noir black-and-white art style, and reflects the claustrophobic sentiments expressed in the lyrics. Skar de Line is dressed in black amidst a dark background, representing him feeling deeply trapped in the dark mental prison from which he wants to break free. His mind’s eye envisions a setting sun in a world of color, symbolizing a sense of freedom that still eludes him, and pushing him to fulfill his wish to climb out of this cycle that holds him back.

Connect with Skar de Line: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase on  Amazon

Top 30 Songs for May 22-28, 2022

Not a lot of changes from last week on my latest Weekly Top 30. The Black Keys hold at #1 for a second week with their raucous “Wild Child”, while Florence + the Machine‘s “My Love” closes in at #2. British five-piece Chief Springs enter the top 10 with their lovely song “La Cienega”, named after the famous boulevard that runs through West Hollywood and Los Angeles. The lone new debut this week is “Lonely” by British band Sea Girls, who’ve been around since 2015, but I sadly didn’t learn about until a few weeks ago.

  1. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (1)
  2. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (3)
  3. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (2)
  4. SLEEP – Gooseberry (6)
  5. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (7)
  6. WILD – Spoon (8)
  7. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (5)
  8. DECEPTION – Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard (4)
  9. I LOVE YOU – Fontaines D.C. (10)
  10. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (13)
  11. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (16)
  12. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (19)
  13. ON MY KNEES – RÜFÜS DU SOL (14)
  14. THE HURT WITHIN – Holy Coves (15)
  15. WHAT, ME WORRY – Portugal. The Man (9)
  16. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (17)
  17. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (18)
  18. BROKEN HORSES – Brandi Carlile (11)
  19. BLACK SUMMER – Red Hot Chili Peppers (12)
  20. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (22)
  21. 2am – Foals (23)
  22. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (24)
  23. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (25)
  24. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (26)
  25. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (27)
  26. BROKEN HEARTS – Ships Have Sailed (20)
  27. GIVE A LITTLE LOVIN’ – Jamie Alimorad (21)
  28. ANIMAL – Partisan (29)
  29. CLOSER – The Frontier (30)
  30. LONELY – Sea Girls (N)