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.
White Ascot holds a special place in my heart because they were one of my very first groups that I covered in starting R&B Worldwide. They’ve released a new single called All Over Me which is about a relationship that could never get off on the right start, but with a mature atmosphere about the situation. The emotions that are brought up aren’t binary. The vocalist, Frida Lydia, in the song goes as far as to take some responsibility for the state of affairs.
“All over me is a love song with hints of hope”
In the beginning of the track, it’s starts off as a break up song when Frida goes “On my way to see you one last time.” That’s a declarative statement if I ever heard on when it concerns about relationships. However, when you get to the end of the chorus the second time, she sings:
Say how you feel about me, Please tell me we got something
Initially, I couldn’t see the “hope” aspect of the song, but the attitude and language changes from a forgone conclusion, to one of “but there’s still a chance.”
This track also features rapper Vuyo which give the other person’s perspective of this relationship and to the character’s credit, they owned up on some faults on their own. It was a great addition to the track. It shows that when you can be open on both sides, there can be opportunity for growth. And as the rapper, Vuyo gives a nice eight bars and delivered with a chilled confidence. Wasn’t over the top, but carried his cadence over the beat.
This is their third single from their upcoming album that is releasing next month with GGG and Weakness being the first two. Take a listen to their music and be ready for the album.
More About This Song From White Ascot
The single marks a dialogue between two who never really got the timing right, but still feel it for each other. It marks a small hope of a love affair that encapsules their album … The main character in our album goes through many emotions related to love, and this is one of the mildly positive
I think we can label Francesco Yates as a “smooth brother” with his latest single Dive. Last year he released his EP Superbad which I thought was a great project and we all awaited to hear what the next step was. He took a great first step in this song showing us that velvety, soothing voice of his. If you are into double entendres, then Francesco has made an entire song on just how much he can do in the bedroom just for you. He teeters on the edge, but avoids the need to be explicit with the language and that shows good songwriting. There’s a time and place for everything, but personally, if you can get your point across without the need of saying the exact word (like sex) then it’s more impressive.
I mentioned on twitter on how he and Victoria Monet should do a “professional” Dive collab since their songs are about the same thing but hearing it from two different perspectives. Maybe there was some inspiration obtained or the closeness of the releases was just all a coincidence.
SIVIA – Are You My Valentine?
Indonesia is a better country for having SIVIA flourishing the way she has been over the past year with the release of her debut album Love Spells and she’s back at it with Are You My Valentine. Her style of soul really speaks to me and when I heard the guitars, the organs, and her just humming along, I knew I was in for a treat. When you can count how many days you were in a relationship that just wasn’t going anywhere (730 days per the song), saying things like moving on with someone else without a plan may make sense. This is a song that says Love will find a way to make you whole despite your past situations. It’s a feel good song from SIVIA and she makes it feel so personal, intimate, and relatable. I felt that as she was getting to the bridge of the song and you felt that emotion from her.
Natnael – Seigmenn ft. Isah
Context is key especially when it comes to listening to songs in a different language. So when I first heard Seigmenn from Natnael and Isah, I thought it was just a nice bop and vibe that I really liked. When you get to the lyrics, the music video makes more sense. And if you can speak and understand Norwegian, of course you get it, but I didn’t even know that the title was a candy brand which relates to the lyrics in a more sexual way. Now I get everything and I’m like, oh this is nice. One thing in particular from Natnael, his style of singing reminds me a lot of The Weeknd and it stood out especially during the pre-chorus. Isah came in during the second half and was more aggressive in his lyrics so there is a nice play off them both on how they approach the concept of candy and sugar.
Falana – Joy
Toronto artist Falana sings about motivation and gratitude in her latest song Joy. The afrobeat vibes are so perfect for the lyrical content because of how upbeat it is. Here is this potion from the second verse:
Sometimes I sit and wonder
Things that could have been
But it don’t even matter
Cause every day’s a win
Falana – Joy
That is the kind of words that people need to hear every day, to include the past year and months during the pandemic. The energy that Falana gives makes your heart be filled as she is singing throughout the song.
What is nice is the themes carry over to the music video where you get a journey of this little boy carrying these balloons in town which ends up with this couple, with one of the two extremely happy to see. Just to see the reaction from her was the payoff from seeing how we got to that point. We even see the little boy being well compensated for his role. The dancers were on point in their routines and Falana was a joy to see in the different shots and gave us some dancing as well. It’s a great song to listen to.
Shark Tank is the latest song from the Norwegian singer Delara where if you are keeping up with the song, then you know exactly what kind of Shark Tank she’s rocking in the song. This is a song where Delara is letting you know what kind of life you can live if you fill the tank up. The track is pouring out the confidence in her own sexuality. You hear it from the first words on.
When you get to the music video, you see how the power dynamic you sense in the song, is showing itself on scene. You have a guy trapped in a shark tank while Delara is just toying with him. And her fascination with that sword (looks like a scimitar) got my eyes wide open. You know that last song she did with Loredana in Checka had her at a firing range shooting rounds off. Don’t know if they were blanks, but she didn’t seem like it was an act. I wonder if she has a thing for weapons.
This song, Raw, really has a hold on me because everything about it is working. Canadian singer LOONY really stepped out in her best releasing this song as her first single for her upcoming album. The musical arrangement in the beginning with the guitars, pianos, and harmonica gave it that old neo-soul feel. It’s like back in the day where you’d eat grits or oatmeal in the winter because “it’ll stick to your bones”. The warmth of her voice gives you that feeling. And then the cymbals and drums pick up in the second half after the end of the chorus picks up the pace. LOONY matches that beat with no trouble at all. There is one guy in the background whose only line is “Let me see you, baby” and gives a nice contrast with LOONY in the chorus. Let’s not overlook the lyrics too and the theme behind the song. There is nothing better to see someone you love first thing in the morning with the light shining and nothing to hide behind. Raw as she says it. No aftereffects of liquor to inhibit your view, no makeup to hide behind, no night lights to show only the parts you’d want to see and hide the rest. Love is best experienced when it’s out in the open. To me, it’s a perfect song
Gallant – Comeback.
Gallant is just so good. I don’t have anything cheesy to say. When I think of American R&B that leans more on that mature lyrics, 2000s R&B sound, it’s him. His voice is otherworldly and feels like something that we’ve been missing in the R&B scene. The lyrics are master class. Read this part from verse two:
As I lay here in defeat
20/20 hindsight, can see
How that tall and sturdy fortress
Was really built on broken beams
If a new big bang’s the remedy
Could your star burn bright for me?
Not a lone one, but a new one
Home sweet home, galaxy
Gallant – Comeback.
Bruh, just wow. Do we have a group of people who still yearn for this type of music? I do wonder. I appreciate all sub-genres and cousins of R&B, but there is nothing like this kind of music. Where you don’t have to go above the top, but just sing beautifully and speak plain and not shy away from your inner feelings. On any other week, easily Cover Art artist.
Emilie Nicolas ft Isah – Who’s Gonna Love You (Remix)
Norwegian singer Emilie Nicolas and compatriot Isah comes together for a gem of a song called Who’s Gonna Love You, which I believe was officially released this past week. I did some research and realized that this is a remix with Isah and the original song was from her album Let Her Breathe. I’m doing this mid-typing and I had a gasp when I realized this. After hearing this version, I understand why someone (don’t know who) made the decision to get someone else on the track. I had chills watching the live performance on YouTube because seeing Isah come on the stage has that much more meaning for me as he gave the track new life. I mean this about 8 months from the original version, but wow, I can imagine the wait for this was worth it. The theme behind this song needed that second person. Just hearing the back and forth between the two gives the song so much more meat. It’s not Emilie trying to persuade someone imaginary, but it’s tangible to us. The words “Are you gonna fuck up as much as you do with or without me?” means a little more because you see the person on the receiving end of that. You can hear a response from the other person. Amazing track.
Kara Marni – Trippin
Kara Marni really did Amerie justice with the inspired track called Trippin. The singer from North London gives so much life in this track and has to because the production causes for it. 1 Thing, the track that Trippin is reworked from, is a dance/party track bar none. So Kara reeled it back just a tad, but really got into the flow of just how much fun this song is. How she blends in the chorus is so good and her range is pretty good too. In the first verse, you can hear the lows in her voice (where it would be the bridge later on) and he gave me flashes of Lianne La Havas on how she stretches out that last word in the lines “I’ve left my second thoughts behind … Finally, I’m learnin’ how to feel alive”. Kara’s has loads of talent.
You have to appreciate the kind of vibe Norwegian artist Marie Noreger walks into as Eager To Feel starts off. The trumpets coming off as to announce that something great is about to happen in your life. The slow paced production from this song really put the listening in a mood as the soft voice Marie gives and her singing style fits altogether. The boom bap you hear through also adds another layer to this song.
3 more weeks til we reach the end of the year. This week there has been a lot of music coming from South Africa including this collab from Sun El Musician alongside Sino Msolo and Mthunzi with Amasosha. We also Norwegian artist Marie Noreger with her song Eager To Feel. I also want to bring up Yura Yunita from Indonesia and her new single Duhai Sayang. I think it’s easy to say that she is a bonafide songstress. Take a listen to all of the songs for this week.
This week has some singles new album releases from Childish Gambino and a song from PARTYNEXTDOOR and Rihanna (who hasn’t done a song in about 2 years, welcome back). There was even a true remix (not just add rapper on the exact same beat and VOILA!!) from The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights with Chromatics and Johnny Jewel is, to me, is better than original.
To the cover artists Ylva and Jesper Jenset, such a standout song. If you saw some of my posts on social media, you know how much I love this song. If there is one song you need to hear, it’s this one coming from Norway. One of my favorite artists keeps putting out good music. Pabllo Vittar, from Brazil, has a new single Salvaje. Staying in Latin America, Chilean artist Cancamusa sings softly on Vengo y Me Soy.
Over in Indonesia, DJ and composer Kenny Gabriel and fellow countrywomen Rizikia Larasati and Kara Chenoa has a new single that doesn’t take kind to people wasting time in Ex-Cuses.
Coming back to North America, Candian artist, LOONY, released a single NO! and from Brooklyn, NY, we have Alex Mali releasing a single, Problem.
There is so much more great songs this week. I just can’t shout them all out, but take a listen to this week’s playlist. I think I got music from over 30 countries. It’s hard, but a great problem to have. I’ll try and do better next week.