Marie Dahlstrom makes songs so good that you can’t contain them in a single track. Need You, Pt. 1 & 2 released where she went solo for the first track and enlisted Dayne Jordan and Dan Diggas for the second part. Credit to Dan for the production because it’s that familiar Marie sound. Soft, chill, and laid back. Her voice is so therapeutic and I wonder if she is aware of it. I can’t get enough of it.
The first part of the theme is Marie always saying in your ear, “You know I need you babe.” You hear this on the backdrop of all of these situations of where the world simply sucks. So in order to get through it all, she needs you. There’s no other way that she’s gonna get through.
Then in part 2, Dayne Jordan comes on and gives us his flow in which he gives more lines than Marie. Dayne discusses that he’s a flawed person and is well-aware of that fact, but he moves forward. Better to fall or fail at doing something that aligns with your principles than being afraid to do anything at all.
You also get the second part of Marie and what she wants to express in this song. The first part is more of a “grand scheme” and how does she fit within it all when it comes to her life, especially the more recent years. And then how she interprets those experiences as what she thinks it means to her. Then the second part, which is short, I believe is simply that people grow and evolve and there’s nothing one can do about it, good or bad.
I find it surprising that I haven’t covered one of her songs before because I LOVE Marie Dahlstrom and her music. I am happy that I could do this at least once. But we are definitely doing more. If you haven’t heard of Marie Dahlstrom, stop waiting and just go down her catalog. Start with Need You, pt, 1 & 2.
Danish artist Bethia alongside Mort and NaMo comes together with a banger in Heartbreak on the Weekend. The pre-chorus and chorus are really catchy with the beat. That beat is really smooth and over something that really gets you in a vibe. If you are in a situation where you were lonely over the weekend, this track might just hit different for you. However, I don’t have any lyrics to read from to make sure I’m hearing the entire track correctly. I can say that the vibe is so amazing. It’s a good track to just relax to.
This week we are going back to Sweden to show love for Lele and her latest single SÄG MITT NAMN (Say My Name). I love her voice and it feels so buttery smooth to my ears. Unfortunately I don’t have any lyrics so I can only go by the tone and Lele’s skills, but I can tell it was well done.
I will say that the music video is sort of ambiguous of what this could be about. You see Lele leaving a storage facility with this important bag. Drives all across town to a bridge where she gets to the ledge with it and the video cuts off. Let’s assume that she doesn’t want anyone to know what’s inside. There were some great camera shots of the video and she was working it on screen.
Please enjoy this week’s playlist and enjoy the weekend!
Queen of the 30-second snippet Daniela Rathana brings on fellow Swede artist Zikai for her latest single Överdos (Overdose). I would rather not see her be the 30 second snippet queen, but she loves to tease with these videos on Youtube. This one has both artists playing “The Knife Game” where Zikai takes it easy, but Daniela shows off how a pro does it. Makes me curious to know if that was a real knife or if the footage was edited. I can say that the straight face that Daniela makes was real to me.
Hearing Zikai on this track singing over the chorus makes Daniela’s deeper voice stand out in the beginning of the track. Never really had a chance to hear those small details until now since I haven’t heard any songs where she has had a feature yet. Just a small wrinkle for you all to pay attention to as you are listening to her songs.
The theme of the song is having Daniela and Zikai play a little game of going along in this relationship where the other person thinks they are “holding all the cards” as it were. When you have nothing to offer, as the chorus goes, Ingen ring eller ros, bara överdos (No ring or rose, just overdose). So throughout the song they talk about lust and what it can do for both people. However, with no commitment it’s just a game fueled through an overdose.
This is the fifth single release for the upcoming album Rathana Club. Lots of singles have already been released and now I have to wonder when that date is coming. We have to save some room for our audio dessert.
Swede artist Daniela Rathana has put out a party song in Havana, but I’m a little upset (and this could change by the time of posting). There is no full music video. We get a 30 second short on her youtube page, but nothing songwide. But putting that to the side, Havana is infectious and full of energy.
‘Havana’ is about wanting to dance, without any major significance. It’s just a call to dance and enjoy. Almost the whole song is improvised by me in the middle of the coldest winter because Charlie Bernardo and I needed to fantasize about a better place.
We were there when MALU’s debut single, Polish, came out in April earlier this year and became our Cover Art Artist for that week. Now we get to hear her second single with No Hearts and it’s just quality music from the Danish artist. If this production was on a spectrum, The Weeknd’s Earned It would be on the opposite end because of those powerful horns and keys in chords you hear. MALU takes it in a direction that is more poppy in its approach.
MALU’s theme is about not pretending that the current situation of this relationship is more than what it is. You don’t have to put on a façade and just be honest with one another. When you are among yourselves, you can just be yourself and enjoy each other. The video I was a little disheartened because of how short it was.
She just got to the meat of the song and took the video starting there. It looks like she was in the middle of a daydream as one scene she’s laying in bed and in the next, she’s on one of those floating beds out at some big pond with a special, loving friend of hers. You see a lot of shots in that setting of those two together and they look like they are having a great time. And then all of a sudden, she’s back in her room. Heck of a daydream I’d say.
This is a nice song between Norwegian artists Gabrielle and Isah about two people getting to a point in their relationship in which one asks the other to wait. kan du love å vente (Can You Promise To Wait) has Gabrielle not knowing what she wants at this point, at this fork in the road and it is killing the other person Isah. He comes in for the second verse pointing out how she gets to do as she pleases, but it’s like spraying salt in the wounds when he gets asked to wait. A bit of a double-standard from his perspective, but he also knows what they have is real. All he wants is for Gabrielle to let him inside in her life and to let them be more than what they are now.
I like the stripped production of the track. It fits the mood of these two talking about something serious as figuring out what the next step is in their relationship. There was a song earlier, Joia, that I talked about that was like this. That Indie R&B type of vibes. I also wanted to speak more about the featured artist Isah. It seems as though he has been coming through on my posts and after the third time, I’ve noticed him. I have previous songs Seigmenn with Natnael and Who’s Gonna Love You Remix with Emilie Nicolas. His range of songs that he’s been a part of are wide. I really love hearing him on tracks. Always gives that extra “oomph” on the track.
After eight years of being together, White Ascot can proudly say they’ve released their debut album. Pink Blood/False Memory is 10 tracks full of tracks that, at times, pushes what we may traditionally think of R&B and Soul.
The first track is GGG which is their debut single from January of last year. This was the track that put White Ascot on my radar and started my journey with this blog. The theme for this track sounds like a commentary on life as they see it now and it’s not a positive outlook. But despite how they receive it, there is so much confidence when the vocalist, Frida Lydia Hansen, sings “I know this is weak, but here we stand tall.”
Naive pt2 gets to some of the softer-toned arrangements of the album. The section at the middle of the second verse at the 1:10 really tugged at my heart. Just a nice touch that stands out on the instrumental side of the track. What I gathered from the lyrics of Naive pt2 is acknowledging the real truth of something that holds you in a grieving state (not necessarily the death of a loved one). But you have to move on. It’s only when you try to grasp on what was familiar and “real” to you makes you naive through it all. One other thing that I loved about the lyrics was the final verse and how it is a combination of verses prior and it reads something thought-provoking.
Oh you know that there will go days before
something new controls your mind
And you know that there will go years before
something really touches your heart
Naive pt2. – White Ascot
The very next song, l.i.y.f., is one of my favorite songs from the album. The message is sharp, quick, and digs deep at your heart and feels. Frida sings about how she’s not experienced enough to judge you on how love sucks when the guy you loved doesn’t love you back. But the part about growing older is not about wiser or stronger, but the toll of the failed relationship is wearing on your face. There are a lot of self-empowerment songs about how you become better for leaving bad relationships behind, but not everyone can do that. Kudos to White Ascot for writing about other stories that can happen after a breakup because this is a real thing. The content from Naive pt2 to l.i.y.f. transitions so well. It is also a little cheeky to toss in the fact that Lydia has been laughing at this person for falling for the same games many times over. Yet she has grace to still help them and simply say wait for love to destroy him. The hidden message is that love destroyed you, now it’s time to wait for karma to do its thing.
Next track I want to bring up is Gotta Run. It’s a neat story about being so close to this person despite being many feet/meters away and the connection is made by texting over the phone. So it starts to get good as they mention hiding in plain sight and physically closing the distance. But the wild card was the 3rd wheel in the situation reading every word of those texts. It was all good until she knew who Lydia was and you gotta abort the mission. Then the song plays out as you have Lydia realizing the developments and just finding her exit. The funny part is seeing just how much two people would do just to get a moment with one another.
The last track, Pink Blood/False Memory and the very first line:
Twelve years old I cut-me in the tub
And my reaction was “OMG”. There is no sugar coating in these words. It makes me wonder if the cutting led to drugs (or whatever she started using). But to be fair, she did say “I’m not saying that’s why I started using, so stop accusing…” One of the aspects of the songwriting that I adore is how their choruses are not just placeholders, but it gives meaning to the verses more than one way. There is one question that I had after listening to the song and that is Who is the person she could never lie to, forced to grow, but had to run away from? Sounds like a riddle, but for good or bad, this person was very important in her life.
The musical arrangement on this album is a 10 out of 10. Adrian Danielsen has done a superb job on putting a new idea of what neo-soul and R&B can sound like with a band and instruments. There is this group from Australia called Hiatus Kayote that would closely resemble White Ascot, but even then, the sounds aren’t that similar and that’s okay. I mentioned before that the softer tones of the instruments, especially with the keys, combined with the guitars gives a different feeling than what I would normally expect to hear from neo-soul. It still comes off so well. Another thing that I noticed is that even though Frida is the main vocalist for White Ascot, there was always time to let the band shine. It never felt like it was Frida featuring White Ascot, but there was equal billing if you will. For a band that, again, has been together for 8 years, there’s a lot of trust that has to be built that everyone involved can deliver.
Danish producer Alexander Grandjean and singer Maenad comes together for a second time with On My Mind. Looking up this track, I saw that he has a Bandcamp set up and I got to chance to look at the credits. To my surprise, I see that Freja Kirk for the lyrics and choir. We love Freja Kirk on this blog and I can hear some of her influence on the lyrics here. Her ability to write about relationships in a more personal level is really good and you see that with this verse:
On our way, outer space
Are we out of time?
All the way, all in grey
When it pours down in paradise
We’re supposed to be right
You were supposed to be mine
Let’s talk about the production on this track. I love the vibe it’s giving me. Very dreamy r&b in the approach and if you thought it would be done after 3 minutes, Alexander takes us home getting more involved with the instruments like with the sax for example.
The music video for the track is like watching a COLORS test session with the bold colors under dim settings. You see how sometimes you have the background of Los Angeles blend with Maenad as she’s either posing or dancing during the song. And I can tell she is the one who brings a pair of shoes solely for the choreography because she has the moves. When she was in the bandana and shades, she really got into it. Now, we have to wait and see about that release date for his debut album.
There is something special with MALU and her debut song Polish. I believe it’s her tone and confidence as she sings. It’s like a sixth sense where you can feel the words that one person sings rather than going into a studio to just record. I would add that the ambiance of the production helps tenfold. There is a real intimate vibe that hits you in your soul. She’s a real soul singer.
The music video has MALU in 4 spots in particular, on a large stack of mattresses, in a bathtub, in front of a vanity mirror, and on stage with a spotlight. One thing I’ve been intrigued is the ideas and concepts people come up with using minimal resources. And I like what the team was able to come up with. I loved all the parts because of how it was able to focus on MALU. My favorite was the spots where she was on stage. I mean you could see that she was really feeling herself on stage.
Overall, you see and hear that aura of “confident, grown woman”. Mind this is just the debut song. What else is in MALU’s locker of songs? I am genuinely curious as to where her career is going to go because I am really in love with her brand of music.