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.
𝙂𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙂𝙤𝙡𝙙 - 𝙍𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙆𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩
Charles questions the system…
The night before writing this, my girlfriend and I had a little chat after a delicious dinner with a glass of vino; just the two of us. It was a civilised chat. A mature chat. A really rather adulty chat, if you must know. I mean, you mustn’t know. That is, you need not know. You probably don’t care. But I will say anyway. I want to tell you. Because that’s the kind of bad boy I am. The kind of lad to force information down your throat, whether you want it or not. You only came here for a lighthearted music review…! Well, okay, I’m not really that bad, but I will nevertheless continue like the beastly bully that I am. So yes, between sips of the red stuff we chatted about theories, ideologies and the general way of the world. Vague enough for you? We spoke of early humans. Cavemen being not much more than intelligent animals, spending their days hunting, in order to eat. Just like an animal in the wild. Survival and procreation were literally all to be done. To keep things going, basically. Food, water, shelter and warmth. Nothing more. A traditional farmer was pretty much a more civilised modern version of cavemen (and please, “cavemen” encompasses women as well - let not this article be a chore nor a bore). We spoke of communities in villages, where instead of essentials being bought from a local shop, it was a game of swapsies. A thing for a thing. A skill for a skill. Money, as we know it, was little more than a notion. A concept. Currency had no meaning. No purpose. “More wine, my dear?”, I asked like a charming gentleman. Well actually, I pointed at the bottle and murmured “mm?”, but it has much the same meaning. It’s the thought that counts. Either way, the girl nodded and said “wouldn’t it be lovely if we could get back to those days?”. I filled her glass but had no reply. We then swiftly moved on to more recent times. Not too recent, but let’s say the last few hundred years, for the sake of debate. I need you to stick with me.
It was the whole thing of money that made the conversation a little more interesting. Suddenly there was backdated observation and sparks of thought, as the room was alight with debatable fun and life. You see, we two are civil people with fiery thoughts and passions, yet love halts any sort of argument before it has even had a chance to bubble. We see each other’s point of view. We listen to each other. We think, and we are honest. There is no bias between us. Sure, there’s much bias and lies when it comes to the rest of the world, but together, alone, we are truthful and open. Sorry, this wasn’t supposed to turn into a love story, but perhaps I was comforting you before the dark harshness of what it all became. A debate about capitalism. The good, the bad, and of course, the ugly. The ins and outs of capitalism are far too complicated to go into here, and neither do I particularly want to (you’ll be pleased to hear). But it is the way of the modern world; oh yes it is. How everything is based on money. On worth. A job is not about choice and usually not about passion. It is not in order to develop or create a necessity. Yet a necessity comes from it. Money. We no longer put food, shelter and warmth at the top of our priorities (although of course we do). Top is now money. For this is the only real method of gaining said nourishment, roof and electric blanket. Making more money. This is what we have been led to believe as the ultimate goal in life. Because everything can be bought with money. Except love. Slappers named Michelle or Sharon, yes. But real love, no. Money can’t buy me love. While this whole idea and concept might seem rather cold and calculated, it does deal with certain problems. It sort of naturally polices life. For many, it gives a sense of purpose. Tells you how to go. Like a parent. Like a god. A guide, if you will. But unlike mama, papa and gods, you cannot choose your own path. You are forced to do as they say. Always a tricky thing, but at least the taxman’s happy.
Imagine a block of gold if you could not sell it. Little more than a shiny paperweight. Imagine the worth of an original Beatles lyric, if there was nobody to buy it. Not exactly a thing of beauty, is it. It would be for no one… It’s only worth something because we say it is. Much like printed money. Look at the small print: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…” - yes, this is actually written on all UK bank notes. Money is truly a curious concept. But then let us look at how things have changed in recent times. Not only have villages turned into towns, and towns into cities, but whole countries these days are clubbed together with other countries. Continents having much to do with other continents. And now certain people seem to have the urge to go across the universe! In a world so changed as now, where we are so deeply (or actually shallowly) connected with one another, what could possibly be a feasible alternative to capitalism? Communism? Well, it’s a neat theory, but in practice it just doesn’t work. Is there a better system to be had these days? A genuine revolution? And if so, can it truly be implemented? I’m not sure if we can work it out. Nothing can be perfect. Nothing can please everyone. So we must compromise. Hence capitalism. It’s deeply flawed, but unfortunately (at least in my lifetime and many others before) it’s the best we’ve got. Personally, I feel fine. Let’s see if something better comes along in the future. At least it’s nice to THINK of things getting better. It’s not going to be easy though, as people have never been so obsessed with money. It ain’t just the top hats anymore. It’s EVERYone.
One aspect of capitalism that ain’t necessarily a bad thing, is the act of striving. To strive for better. To achieve more. To accomplish and then go further. I am a big fan of this. Settling, feels so terribly middle-aged to me. Striving could be in a mental capacity, it could be utterly manual, or it could be a bit of both. Bear in mind that I am an artist. Like, a real one. Not someone who thinks that “art” could be used to make the big bucks. I am really not that interested in making mega money. Sure, it would be nice, but it really isn’t high on my agenda. As long as I have enough to live and be comfortable, that’s enough for me. So in a way, capitalism doesn’t quite gel with artists. It tends to pass them by, like much of life. Which pleases me greatly. However, one artist is bucking the trend of artistic ignorance. Please welcome River Knight with their brand new single, Green and Gold. Mr. River also Mr. Knight - as I like to call them - are not exactly prolific when it comes to releases. While they did manage to start their public career with a full album in 2021, they have since then only released 3 singles, including this new one. Apple Music retains just the two most recent singles and no album. Commiserations to Apple Music subscribers, but for once, Spotify wins THIS round. Mark River and Darren Knight make up the duo that is River Knight. They hail from Southampton (UK); possibly most famous as the place of the Titanic’s departure. A departure that went swimmingly. Its journey however went rather less swimmingly (despite much swimming involved). The good news is, River Knight’s new single is not going to sink without trace. It couldn’t. It has too much to offer. Ah, but they said that about the Titanic. The unsinkable, they said. Yes, but songs don’t have to worry about icebergs. Besides, each hot new pick in my Corner radiates enough heat to melt anything in its path.
Green and Gold takes the form of a fun, lighthearted upbeat pop song. To the untrained ear. But upon closer inspection, this is a mere disguise. It is fun and lighthearted like a fake moustache on a killer. You see, the words say far more than you would be expecting from such a song. It is deep with politics. Both Mr. River also Mr. Knight sing about the poor and the wealthy. The street urchins and the fat cats. Green and Gold is a protest song about capitalism and its problematic flaws. It really does make you think. Money money money. Not very funny in a poor man’s world… The greed of it all! I can’t stand greed in any form. But like my little love story above, these strong but heartfelt words are sweetened with music. Such sweet music! Such a plethora of gubbins! Let me take you down the long and winding road.
We enter with a more usual acoustic intro, but within seconds a less usual clarinet takes the melody. A shot of strings and sitar later, and the duo’s vocals are here for all to see, complete with bass and drums. There is a bounce in their step as they saunter through with a thrusty smile. The contrast of the lyrics and the music should be too much to bear, but it really does work supoybly! THIS is how protests should be done. Not with hateful anger, but by putting one’s point across in an appealing manner. Just Stop Oil ultimately failed because we didn’t warm to the protesters. They were causing a nuisance and buggering up people’s lives. The first thing one has to do is to get the public on your side. Mr. River also Mr. Knight clearly saw this and chose to do things differently. The music doesn’t necessarily have to be perfectly linked to the mood of the words. Otherwise we would have nothing but dirge and love songs. Does the music stop here then? Oh lord no! Pizzicato strings, Mantovani strings, flutes, clarinets, sitars, French horns, trumpets and more! But always with the clean and clear vocals upfront. Their melodies in harmony throughout. But my very favourite bit of the song is brief. The bridge. Darren Knight modestly takes the mic solo and sings my favourite melody of the whole song amid sitars and marching snare drums. It really starts to feel a little bit more “protesty”, but all in a very civil manner. Their voices are very different, but work so well together and alone. In the same way as the voices of John and Paul. I needn’t mention surnames. We then slam back into full vigour soon after, drums blazing, vocals el gusto. Then finally we reach the climax of the song. The hugely anthemic “hands-in-the-air I’m-with-you-chaps” chorus. We’ve all come together. Trumpets swooning after every line. Such clever cajoling from these two fellas. Job’s a good’un. It’s in the bag. I've got a feeling they're on to something here... They have striven (love the word) with great success! And I’m sure they’d love you to press play. You can't do that? The BBC did, and they liked it so much they played it on BBC Solent over the weekend. Twice!
This whole article has seemingly been (Sgt.) peppered with Beatles song titles, quite by coincidence and for absolutely no reason at all. I’m not really sure how that happened. Genuine subconscious. You might think you spotted them all, but you maybe didn’t realise there were 33 and a ⅓ of them…
In keeping with the theme of the song, I will quote John Lennon, “The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you'd just rattle your jewellery.”
As to my girlfriend and I, by the end of our evening chat we had ultimately come to the same conclusion. All you need is cash. Ahem. Don't you mean “all you need is love”? Nah. It's only love.
I'll be back next week.
Listen to 𝙂𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙂𝙤𝙡𝙙 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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