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.
𝙁𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮 - 𝙮𝙖
Charles' new year came in the form of a mouse in his house. What a lovely way to start the year. Having now dealt with the beastly creature, things are looking up as he gets further excited over a mouse of a different kind...
Music, was just about the only thing to keep me going in 2020; both mainstream and independent - and I realised there was usually little difference in quality between the two. The year's final half found me repeatedly playing Miley Cyrus' incredible new Plastic Hearts album, and the slightly lesser known New Artist Spotlight artist, Kiirstin Marilyn and her eclectic There Are No Cats in America album. Both astounding in so many ways. I have not only always had high standards in terms of making music, but in listening as well. So it takes a lot to really break through the concrete barriers and reach my soul.
I expected it to be a while for my next obsession to find its way to my eardrums. But as 2021's initial week came to a close, I was handed the debut album by none other than our very own “𝑦𝑎” (Anna Akopyan). I am fully aware that my little corner is solely for singles and songs, and not albums, but so rarely does something like this come along, that I simply had to share it with you all.
In brief, ya's original and exciting album, Change Your Body, is nothing short of an independent masterpiece. Because of the nature of what I do here however, I thought it only fair to delve deeper into one track. It was genuinely extremely difficult to choose, but eventually I decided to go with track 7: Family.
Anna is a dark little pony. A minx. An exciting tease. She owns dark mystery in a way to which Billie Eilish is simply not allowed to come close. Sure, Anna makes pop music, but it all feels so natural and unaffected by how one could potentially feel one has to sound. The song starts with a child-like yet haunting presence that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Tim Burton film. The piano backs and fills this initially loosely structured harmony. Soon enough, Anna reveals herself from behind a black and dusty velvet curtain. All boots, cloak and voluptuous wavy red hair. Her vocals are tired yet persistent, not dissimilar to the feeling of a come-down - so I’m told, (ahem) - exhausted yet with wide eyes hanging chin-low. She opens up. Not so much through trust but in simply not caring who knows what. I don’t know if this is autobiographical, but it certainly paints a picture of a truly messed up individual that I’m sure Freud would have loved to get his hands on. Her “family” is a genetic string of mental illness. One can easily turn to drugs to divert oneself from such problems, but perhaps it is the other way around; drugs can often be the cause rather than the cure…
The sparse verse shows assurance, confidence and maturity in gradually building towards the chorus with added layers of percussion such as shaker, bells, guiro and even an almighty agogo - which truly makes the piece stand out. The kick gives it pace. “It’s in my blood, it’s in my genes. It ain’t even my fault…” - the most gorgeous tight yet lazy hornline segues us into the greatest chorus I have heard in a LONG time. I am normally known as the man what can write good, but when shown truly original greatness - not to mention great originality - I am pretty much rendered useless! Although this chord sequence simply must have been used before, nothing springs to mind. It has “instant classic” written all over it. There is the depth of Enya (never thought SHE’D make an appearance here) but without the pointless floatiness. There is catchy, but then there is spark. Anna is a special spark. I won’t say any more about the song, as it is simply best if you listen to it. I cannot do it enough justice.
It feels apt that Anna chose to make the album 13 tracks, with 13 no doubt being her lucky number. Morbid is the new black. But don’t for a second let me make you believe Change Your Body is depressing or dull. At under 40 minutes, it will leave you looping the entire exciting record from morning to night. To give you an idea of the album’s importance, I have listened to it, in full, 15 times. In four days. When do we EVER do that?! Particularly these days. To say it is one of my favourite albums of the year would hardly be very fair, considering we are less than two weeks into it. And so I will tell you this: this is one of my favourite albums from 2020 and 2021. In an unprecedented move, I will be linking the entire album, as I believe the world needs to hear it.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Just listen. My 16th round starts now.
Listen to 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝘽𝙤𝙙𝙮 HERE!
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