Monthly Archives: May 2012

Roman Lob

Roman Lob is a German singer/songwriter from Düsseldorf. I first saw him in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, where he represented Germany, and I knew I had to find his album. Apart from this solo career, Lob is the lead singer of the band Rooftop Kingdom, an alternative-rock band from Neuwied (which I haven’t found any info on yet!), and also a founding member of the metal-core band Days of Despite. In 2006, Lob had competed in German casting show Deutschland sucht den Superstar but had to quit due to a vocal cord infection. In 2008, he took part in the competition to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, as a part of the boy band G12P – Germany 12 Points, but their song “When The Boys Come” was not chosen to compete in the national final. But this year Lob represented Germany solo, and achieved 8th place in the finals with 110 points.

Changesis Lob’s debut album, released in April this year, after being selected to represent Germany for this year’s Eurovision in Baku, Azerbaijan. It peaked at number 9 in Germany, and as far as I know has only been released in German-speaking Germany, which is just a shame. I absolutely love the album myself. The lead single, “Standing Still”, from this year’s Eurovision is wonderful. As soon as I saw his performance I began a frantic search for his album! I love his voice, it’s just so mellow and beautiful. The album is a light sort of pop/rock and is really just a great listen. It has a vibe that I haven’t heard in a while. I foresee this album being played over and over in my car. I have to say that Germany has given me some great artists including Roman Lob and Lena recently, particularly from Eurovision. Good job Germany!

Check out his website: Roman Lob and more unplugged action:

 

 


Eurovision 2012 – Baku, Azerbaijan

I can’t believe it’s already that time of year, and I can’t believe it’s come and gone! – Eurovision 2012, hosted in last year’s winning country, Azerbaijan. The contest’s 2012 motto: “Light Your Fire”, adapted from the country’s nickname: Land of Fire. As usual the abundance of Europop was awesome! I was incredibly sad to see Poland not participating this year, but many that did were incredible. I thought Finland’s entry by Pernilla Karlsson, “När jag blundar”, was a great song. It was a beautiful performance, and I liked it’s quiet power.

Russia’s entry this year was very amusing. Buranovskiye Babushki, a group of eight elderly grandmothers from the village of Buranovo, Udmurtia, halfway between the Volga and the Urals in Russia. Their disco-esque song, “Party for Everybody”, was actually damn catchy, and this performance was adorable! Best part? The group had entered the contest before in 2010!

I really enjoyed Germany’s entry this year as well. Roman Lob’s “Standing Still” is mellow, catchy, and just a great song! It may be my favourite song from this year, at least I know I’m going to hunt for more music from Roman Lob in the future (it doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute!)  The song came in 8th place in the final round.

But this year’s winner was Loreen, with the song “Euphoria”. This song was incredible. A perfect example of euro-dance/club music. The slow build up, the powerful chorus – it’s just simply epic. There is no doubt this was the year’s winner. Last year Sweden placed third with the song “Popular” (one of my favourite entries from 2011). I can’t wait for more of Loreen’s music! And I can’t wait for next year’s Eurovision!

You can watch the contest online and see all the magic yourselves: Eurovision

 

 

 

 


Björk – Homogenic

I was in the car listening to this album today and thinking about how absolutely incredible it is. I would without a doubt have to say this is one of my top 5 favourite albums of all time. Björk is one of my favourite artists ever, and books could be written on her genius, her music, and her career (in fact there are several! This is one I’ve been dying to get, the first real book that is focused on the music itself:  Björk) But for now I choose to focus on the brilliance and musical experience that is Homogenic.

Homogenic is  Björk’s fourth studio album, released in September 1997. The album marked a change in her music’s style, a more trip-hop/electronica sound with acoustic stringed instruments. Before we even begin to talk about the album, we must talk about the album cover:  themes of the album are reflected in the album cover designed by Alexander McQueen. Björk had approached McQueen explaining to him the person who wrote Homogenic‘s songs was someone who “had to become a warrior. A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love. I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn’t walk easily”. Grant Scott says, “It’s an amazing composition: every element balances; every line leads where it should, all framing an enigmatic face, staring into your eyes through artificially-wide pupils”, about the cover taken by photographer Nick Knight. I have seen Homogenic‘s cover praised highly in many photo magazine articles as well, and is always high on any list of “best album covers”.

Now on to the music! The music of Homogenic is simply cosmic. From start to finish the album is a work of genius. The beats are raw, the sound worlds created by Björk are – to quote the album’s “Jóga” – ’emotional landscapes’ that could only come from Iceland, and only from  Björk. “Jóga”, the second track on the album, is one of my favourite, and one of 5 singles to come from the album. Written with Icelandic poet Sjón, because  Björk wanted to have “epic” lyrics – and this is without doubt achieved. The song is so emotional, so entrancing. I must share a video of PS22 chorus singing this:

I cried when I first saw this. Firstly, there needs to be more music educators like this man. These kids are feeling this song, and singing it with emotions which I never thought possible in children of their ages. The most amazing part is some of their faces as they sing, and how the song can inspire then to feel such musical passion.

“Bachelorette” is without doubt my favourite song on the album, and one of my absolute favourite songs of all time. Sometimes I listen to it over and over. The lyrics are simply incredible. Just an amazing piece of poetry. The heavy beat throughout the song is something that moves me. It is hypnotic. I can’t help but drift away into another world of music ecstasy when I listen. I can’t even put into words how much I love this song. And the video is another brilliant piece of art. Funny story: when listening to this one evening with a bunch of friends, a good friend and I both envisioned this music playing behind the orgy seen of the Penthouse movie Caligula. (X-rated so I won’t post a vid!) but for those who are curious, hunt down a clip of that scene and play this song with it. It’s uncanny.

“Alarm Call”, the album’s 8th track, contains one of my favourite stanzas in all music lyric history: “I want to go on a mountain-top /With a radio and good batteries/And play a joyous tune and/Free the human race/From suffering”. Something about that just speaks truth. The song of course is amazing and it has another amazing video. The remix for the video is different from the video, and I prefer the original on the album, but they are both great!

Now you cannot talk about his album, or  Björk’s videos and not mention “All is Full of Love”. The song is ambient bliss. It completely envelops you. The electronic sounds and flow are painfully sensual. The video is one of the greatest videos of all time. As a piece of art it is on permanent display in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. Incredible. The video is just as sensual as the song. This is a video that everyone must watch at least once in their lives. The remix for the video is for me much preferred to the album’s, the one remix I wish had been on the album instead! I once watched this video at least ten times with my good friend Monique, overwhelmed by it’s pure sensuality.

Homogenic has been hailed as critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine calls it “if not the greatest electronic album of all time, it’s certainly the greatest of its decade”.