This week take your heart on a strange journey — explore feelings that you've never thought you had with songs for lost lovers, songs for your 'Sunday chill' or music simply to accompany your viewing of art by Edvard Munch.
Listen and read on.
The Junkies Ball by Billion Dollar Babies
Right off the bat, The Junkies Ball — the lead single from Billion Dollar Babies's latest LP Chemical God — is arguably one of the Swedish hard rock outfit's heaviest offerings so far. An amalgam of sneering vocals, driving rhythms and a singalong chorus, this is a promising track and certainly whets the appetite for the rest of Chemical God. A minor criticism: At around three minutes and 45 seconds, it's way too short.
Shim El Yasmine by Mashrou' Leila
Mashrou' Leila formed in the American University of Beirut — the band's name means 'overnight project'; it was indeed formed overnight when band members Haig Papzian (violinist) and Andre Chedid (guitarist) asked for people to join them for a 'jam' to sing about the political stress they were experiencing in Beirut. A resistance that emerged as a soulful expression of the self, Mashrou' Leila is that beautiful orgasm when politics and music meet one another. This is made more powerful in a society in which gay desires can have you killed.
Shim El Yasmine (Smell The Jasmine) set to the raspy, smoky voice of Hamed Sinno is about yearning — saudade, if you will. Sinno's voice is haunting and aching. He beseeches your heart to feel what he is feeling, perhaps then, we would understand? Openly gay in a culture that finds homosexuality repugnant, Sinno has written Shim El Yasmine for a man who once broke his heart. The gentle drums and the long, fantastic solo jazz trumpet (by the excellent Erik Trufazz) interludes make this song, the magic that it is. Also listen to, Lel Watan (The homeland) and Wa Nueid (And Us — this one is just fantastic).
The Music Scene by Blockhead
Papaoutai by Stromae
Brussels-born singer with Rwandan roots, this was Stromae's comeback album in 2013. Papaoutai sounds melancholic at the beginning but they dare you to accuse them of having anything but the sunniest of dispositions.
Stromae is the Europop megastar you would have never heard of. Europop is fizzy. Stromae, however, blends the corn-syrup pleasures of continental pop with tough lyrics. Papaoutai fuses Congolese rumba with piano house on a song about absent fathers. Papaoutai is the perfect song for a Sunday, when you are nursing a nasty hangover.
The infectious sound and Stromae’s laidback delivery will have you singing this the whole time.
Thalli Pogathey by Sid Sriram, Aparna Narayanan, ADK (Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada)
At Firstpost, we do a lot of work and then every once in a while (almost way too often), a colleague pings you a song, forcing you to stop what you were doing and to listen to the song — I walked into Thalli Pogathey like this. It's a song that grows on you quite instantly, lyrics set to fairly simple catchy tune that make you want more. It lacks the intensity of Gira Dil Kahin Dafatan (from Delhi 6), but is perhaps made in a similar vein — lyric heavy with the perfect musical arrangement.
Show me by Alina Baraz and Galimatias
Picture this. It's a Sunday morning, and you've just woken up. You're not sure if you should feel happy that it's an off, or that you have to resume work in 24 hours. What do you do? Listen to Alina Baraz, we say. This LA-based singer rose to popularity mostly on social media but her collabs with music producer Galimatias is what brought her on the map. Show Me is the chill-est of chill songs. Infact the entire album, Urban Flora, is like flying on a magic carpet, or walking on clouds. Yes, it's so good that we're coming up with the cheesiest of metaphors. Do yourself a favour; switch off your phone, brew a cup of tea and play this song on loop. Thank us later.