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.
𝙄’𝙢 𝙖 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙈𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 - 𝙎𝙩𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙊𝙠𝙬𝙤𝙧, 𝘼𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙖 𝙆𝙖𝙮
Charles cooks up a hot mess…
This week, you are going to be in my shoes. You are going to be like me and think like me. You are going to realise the absurdity of what I do on a weekly basis. Pick a song and write about it. Sounds easy enough. But it’s not. Not the way I do it. You all know my big little intros… Well, they all have to relate to the song or the artist, or the wherecumference of the artist. There has to be some sort of link between article and review. It has to be interesting or entertaining, or both. And I don’t ever write an intro then try to find a song that suits the intro. It always has to be in order of importance: choose music first, write drivel after. So when I come up against a song with the title “I’m a Heat Machine”, I am plagued by thoughts and quandaries.
I thought of sex. Which isn’t very hard (that’s what SHE said). Then I realised this might be an awkward article to write, especially with an audience so varied. Besides, I might offend the ones who for whatever reason compare sex to an old jumper of theirs; they just can’t get it on. Always have to look out for offending people - TOO easy to do these days. Then I thought of love. Much more suited, of course. We all love a bit of love. It is in the air. It is all around. It is a drug. It is all you need. And it is also done to death. It is vague and too encompassing. It is just too big (that’s what SHE said). Besides, this song is not quite the lovey-dovey song that would suit a cupid-filled article of soft pink pap. And I still might find that I am offending unloveable rogues. So I go off-piste, as I so often do. Last week I wrote about bags, God help us. Does that have anything to do with a rock and roll song about Soho? Nope. But somehow I think I made it work. Where does this leave us then, for this week…? Bloody radiators and onesies, that’s where.
You see, on Mondays I temporarily lose my mind in a different way to how I lose my mind every other day of the week. All in the name of entertainment! Do I write about the new unbelievably boiling dressing gown I bought a couple of days ago, that makes me look like a Russian Tsar? True story, but hardly what people want to read about. Do I write about the freezing winters we’re all going through right now? Nope, because we’re not all going through them - the southern hemisphere is currently dying from the hot heat. As opposed to the cooler variety. Should I then write about the volcano that keeps erupting in Iceland? That’s a heat machine of sorts (that’s what SHE said). Ah yes, but that’s far too morbid and depressing for my little Corner. Climate change, anyone? The sun is SURELY the ultimate heat machine… Nah - see previous reason.
So WHAT then. Oh EYE know. EYE know. Baking. I’ll write about baking. An oven is a heat machine. Think of all the cakes and sweet delights I could mention. Yes, then I can go into all other kinds of things one can cook in the oven. Roast beef, potatoes, sausages, pies, pizza. One’s own head. You see? It’s ENDless! Yep, that’s it. I’ll write about baking. And then the end can be some sort of punchline about the juices running clear, or not leaving the gas on - or something actually good. I’ll get to it when I get to it. Oh, and I can talk about the Great British Bake Off! Brilliant! There’s only one problem here… This is absolutely bloody stupid.
Oh what a shame, I seem to have run out of time. Fancy listening to some great music? Well you’ve come to the right place.
You know how artists tend to lean in to one particular style? How after a while, they find themselves a niche. A cove. A place most comfortable and most suited to their talent and persuasion? Oasis springs to mind. They were not known for experimenting. Their mantra was, “I’m in my comfort zone; why would I want to be uncomfortable?” - neither mantra nor quote. But it does make perfect sense! The Prodigy is another fabulous one dimension. They were not known for their ballads… If someone says “music like Oasis”, you know what they mean. But if someone says “music like The Beatles”, it is meaningless. Are they talking about Blackbird or Helter Skelter?? “D’you know what I mean? Yeah yeah”. Thank you, Gallaghers. In the New Artist Spotlight, we have many artists who have over the years honed their sound to a fine art, and we now have the quintessential sound of “insert artist name”. This is a necessary and stabling comfort. But then we have the ones who just keep on evolving, never settling, and yet always keeping up the quality. One never knows what the next release will be like, but we know it’s going to be good. Well one such artist on the NAS is none other than the Bostonian, Steve Okwor. His brand new release features a singer by the name of Alissa Kay - another artist who can’t stand still and refuses to be put in a musical box. Away with your cooking utensils before you’d even allowed the oven to warm up! Here’s “I’m a Heat Machine”.
Despite never having reviewed the chap before, I believe Steve Okwor to be extremely underrated and underappreciated. He churns out so many great songs year after year, and just keeps getting better and better, both in sound and in song. He is first and foremost a songwriter, and this is clear from each and every release. The song itself is at the forefront. I cannot for the life of me find out whether Steve is the producer as well as the songwriter, but whether it is him or not, I must pause to praise the production and mix of I’m a Heat Machine. It is phenomenal, and frankly flawless. It is inspired and inventive. Rich, soft, enveloping and interesting. Fascinating in a subtle way, it swells, swirls, swings and swoops through lyrical lines and heavenly hoops, that loop in ways I couldn’t say I ever expected to hear. There is the fullest bass, even on the weakest of phone speakers. The beats flick the ears like moths. At first listen it might seem to be a load of synths - which it might well be! But strangely it sounds somewhat organic, as though these sounds started life as real-life strings and guitars, but were then manipulated to suit the track. Pure originality. BUT!! We will not be humming the production afterwards, will we. We will of course be humming the melody. Whenever we hum songs, we either hum the melody, or the riff (if there is one). Or, if one is up to a little more than a hum, one might start to actually sing. And so we will sing the words. Songs are melody, chords and words. As simple as that. Anything more is production. So, it is pure Steve we have to thank for the melody and words that will inevitably get stuck in your head - in a good way. And rightly so, Steve is especially proud of this one. Flawless song meets flawless production. But then there is a voice, no?
There is indeed. Alissa Kay is the flawless Los Angelesian voice of choice here. And I must say, an absolutely perfect choice. An unusual voice for an unusual song. But not “unusual”, as in I don’t like it but I’m trying to be tactful. I LOVE Alissa’s voice here. It is a voice that makes you sit up and listen. It is sexy, but not in an obvious way. It is peculiarly and subtly robotic, I think due to expert processing (especially in the harmonies), yet it is alluring. There are notes of Björk, Laura Mvula, Moloko, Ellie Goulding and someone I just simply cannot put my finger on. Driving me crazy, in fact. If you can think who I mean, please do say in the comments below. And don’t just say someone vaguely female - it has to be a lot like the voice of Alissa. It might not even be a female voice I am thinking of - it is about tone, enunciation and lack of vibrato. But speaking of this talented lady, her profile seriously needs boosting. Right now, she has 28 monthly listeners on Spotify. While this is 28 more than nothing, this is not exactly breaking world records. Let’s change this, people! Her voice deserves it. It crushes me when I hear such talented artists with insanely low listening figures. It is equally crushing when I listen to the dirge of the mainstream and see something like 76 million monthly listeners. Yes, this is the current figure for pappy-crappy old Ed Sheeran. Sigh. I hope you’re not one of those 76 million… As to the style of Steve and Alissa’s song, I have purposely been vague, so as to leave you intrigued enough to press play.
While this song pretends to be sexy, it is about love actually. Minus Hugh Grant. Okay, maybe a bit more than love… “Wrap your arms around me, I’m a heat machine”… I’m a bit of a heat machine at the moment; you wouldn’t believe how many times I have put on and taken off this Russian Tsar costume - South America, I know how you feel. Phew!
I will leave you with an image of me hugging my oven, because it told me to. You see? Totally losing my mind. Should I see a psychoanalyst? I asked my girlfriend: “I love you just the way you are” (that’s what SHE said).
Listen to 𝙄’𝙢 𝙖 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙈𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝙄’𝙢 𝙖 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙈𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
Follow 𝙎𝙩𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙊𝙠𝙬𝙤𝙧 on Instagram HERE!
Follow 𝘼𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙖 𝙆𝙖𝙮 on Instagram HERE!
Please share this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments below