Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙁𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 - 𝙋𝙤𝙡𝙚 𝙋𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣
Charles finds significance in retrospect.
Occasionally I mention mainstream artists in my reviews. Sometimes for comparison, sometimes because they often simply can’t be avoided - here’s looking at you, Beatles. When sifting through new releases, we are unlikely to stumble across a new Beatles album, unfortunately - not counting the 2021 Let It Be mix of a few weeks back. It will be the usual huge artists of the last 10 or 20 years. Coldplay’s ‘Music of the Spheres’ (universally deemed mediocre by the press), Ed Sheeran’s ‘=‘ (said to be dated and very unexceptional indeed), and Adele’s latest single, ‘Easy On Me’ (another masterpiece from the mastress - well okay, if you say so). But - if it hadn’t been for the pummelling of pricey advertising - we maybe didn’t expect a brand new album by one of the old greats: ABBA.
And what a surprise, it was thoroughly disappointing and rather embarrassing. ‘Fernando’ is NOT one of my favourite tracks by ABBA. In fact, I would say it is the best of the worst of their discography. They have however seemingly based an entire album on this track, and of course, it is not close to being as good as the original. I realised straight away what the album was lacking. The punch, the fun, the excitement, the joy! There is no ‘Dancing Queen’, no ‘Money, Money, Money’, no ‘SOS’, no ‘Mamma Mia’, no ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ and no ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ (AH-HA!). There is however plenty of ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘Thank You for the Music’, but still not coming close. Of course, it was well reviewed, because the reviewers desperately wanted it to be good. I, thankfully, am more honest.
During my weekly listening marathon of fresh songs on the New Artist Spotlight, I spent much time sifting, sorting and searching for THE ONE! My MAYBE pile is ever-growing - rather a lot of good stuff here, to say the least. But this time, I spent longer than usual, as it had occurred to me that there might be some wonderful tunes from the past that I had overlooked. After much deliberating (golly, it’s hard), I eventually went with one that stood out, to me. It’s heavy rock. I wondered when this might have been released. It turns out to be 7 years old! And going by the superior sound, I never would have guessed it. But hold on. Why did I mention all this about the most unlikely platform-donned megastars of all time…? I would usually speak and think of ABBA in terms of great writing and a unique sound, rather than their cool and their appearance. Those voices of Agnetha and “the other one” are the quintessential sound of ABBA. Can you imagine them in any other style of music? Not really, right? WRONG!
With a smattering of Suzi Quatro (for those who might remember her), Falling, by Pole Position - this week’s lucky reviewee - has the most unusual balance of classic heavy rock with - to my ears - the tremendously powerful and exhilarating vocals of ABBA! And the result is astounding! I am not the hugest fan of heavy rock, but this is mainly because I find myself missing that lift that other genres might manage more easily. I suppose the rarity of female vocals in hard rock comes from there maybe not being enough power to overcome the instruments. No, this is not a sexist comment. It is mainly due to the fact that women will usually sing an octave higher than men, and therefore with a conceivably thinner sound. Debbie Harry (Blondie) managed this similarly rare achievement in making female vocals powerful and thick. And like ABBA, Pole Position’s sensational singer, Cecilie Helle sings like like an organ - you sing full-on, or you don’t sing at all - sometimes subtlety is overrated! Pole Position’s musicians are top notch and such professionals, but for me it is Cecilie’s vocals that lead the way. Particularly in the tremendous harmony-driven chorus - truly fabulous. It is with no surprise that Pole Position is from Norway - they had to be Scandinavian to manage such a sound.
The sad thing about this review, is that it’s almost like an epitaph or memorial, for Pole Position is no more. They rocked from 2012, and rolled in 2016. But as with ABBA’s back catalogue, we still have their great music to listen to and enjoy for the rest of time. I felt the need to bring their music to your attention. My reviews are not all about bringing new artists the attention they deserve, but also for the sheer love of music, as this is what we all have in common.
Voulez-Vous…? Don’t mind if I DO!
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