Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex.
When I heard Lana Del Rey had released two new songs a few weeks ago, I instantly thought this is a sure-fire sign that a new album was on its way. And I was right, as Del Rey confirmed that Mariners Apartment Complex and Venice Bitch, were definitely two new songs of her forthcoming album titled Norman Fucking Rockwell. Interestingly, everything points to an early 2019 release and Jack Antonoff has apparently produced the whole thing. I quite like Antonoff, I especially like what he did with Lorde and St. Vincent’s last albums, so I am quite thrilled by the prospect of a new Lana Del Rey release pretty much hard on the heels of Lust For Life. Anyway, as a Lana Del Rey fan, I find these two new songs very interesting. They seem to be evoking perhaps another new direction to Del Rey’s fascinating recording career. I’m already smitten with Mariners Apartment Complex but I’m not so sure about Venice Bitch. The latter is a marathon at nearly ten minutes. It teases a lot of new sounds, as we find Lana in the mood to experiment. I quite like the first half, but the second half seems like an exercise in self-indulgence with its overly long synth solo. I’d honestly have to hear it in context to the new album to totally appreciate it, because at the moment I’m definitely more perplexed by it than truly digging it. Mariners Apartment Complex on the other hand, I find instantly recognisable, wrapped up nicely as a pop folk ballad with plenty of #Lanaism.
Songs key lyric: “They mistook my kindness for weakness/I fucked up. I know that. But, Jesus/Can’t a girl just do the best she can?”
Little Rêd – Hell.
In 2017 Welsh songstress Ellie James aka Little Rêd released her debut single Hell. I came across it interestingly ONLY this week courtesy of her record label Seahorse Music, which is incidentally run by another amazing Welsh talent called Sarah Howell. If you’re fan of this site you may know Sarah Howell better as Bryde, whom I interviewed earlier this year. Anyway, Little Rêd’s Hell is a dazzling debut drenched with sweeping soundscape of guitars and synths. It’s pretty much what I would call left-of-centre dreamy electro-pop, glued together by pop-folk inspired vocals. I read that Little Rêd’s has drawn comparisons to The Japanese House but I would add that she sounds eerily similar to Blackheart Orchestra. Her follow-up single What Love Is is also quite catchy and tender, arguably a sign of the unflinching direction she wants to head musically. But for now I’m happy to enjoy Hell described as “an anthem for love-worn relationships.”
Wang Chung – To Live and Die in L.A.
I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic this week and decided to revisit some of my favourite ‘80s films. Often I like to sit through some of those lost or underrated masterpieces that others just don’t give a second thought to anymore. That said, To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), which was more recently on my mind because of my interest in actor Willem Dafoe, seemed like the perfect vehicle. In short, To Live and Die in L.A. is a sophisticated cop crime thriller that will leave you gobsmacked by the end. Underpinning the whole film is an amazing original music score soundtrack produced by Wang Chung. I wont get into the entire backstory how it came about, except to say that director William Friedkin of The French Connection and The Exorcist fame was a big fan of Wang Chung and gave Jack Hues and Nick Feldman pretty much a free hand to come up with something amazing. The resulting soundtrack didn’t disappoint and in fact when Hues and Feldman sat through a rough take of the complete film they were blown away how the film and score supported each other. As a result, the lads felt compelled to record one more song for the film, which would become the title song. Interestingly, Friedkin who was already pleased with what was already recorded was initially against the idea of a title song. But surprisingly he changed his mind upon hearing it and the rest they say is history.