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.
𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙊𝙪𝙩 - 𝘽𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙡𝙖
Charles switches off and on again…
The dreaded "spooky" edition. How rare is it that review day falls exactly on an international celebration day...? What a treat! Shame I don't really celebrate it or care about it in the slightest. I mean, pumpkins? Really?? Buying a mahusive orange fruit (or vegetable, some would argue), then gutting its innards, to leave only the inedible part (as if the rest was edible). Pumpkin pie, indeed. Well I suppose it's ONE way of using the remains of the botched operation. I would suggest the bin might be the best place for it however. But if you want to waste more time in making it look appetising, that's your funeral. Funerals being a popular theme for the day. Weirdly. I mean, aside from ancient tribal times, when else would we celebrate death?? Graveyards go from eerie silence to eerie spectacles. The place to be!! The goths come out to play. The only time they feel comfortable in showing their faces. But one scary shock too many and they might be showing their faeces. You see, it's SUPPOSED to be scary. And what's more scary than a load of kids turning up at your front door, making demands of blackmail? Give us sweets now, or we'll egg your entire house. So Haribo's sales skyrocket. Especially the extra sour ones. Ever tried dousing them with vinegar? That'll teach those pesky kids. But beware the backlash…
Ghosts, ghouls, goblins and Eskimos. Vampires, witches, zombies and Rick Astley. All of which are apparently terrifying. Positively bone-chilling. Apparently. If you believe in such things. Which I don’t. It’s all a load of hocus pocus, if you ask me. Humbug! Just a load of nonsense. I am not superstitious, so none of this can so much as interest me, let alone scare me. Maybe with the exception of Rick Astley. I’m never gonna give him up. So why oh why is this day such a big thing? I can’t be the only one who thinks nothing of it? Hm? Oh sorry, I thought you said something. Wait. I’m alone right now. You’re not here. No one else is here but me. Oh never mind. A trick of the old tinnitus. Wait. Did I put the kettle on? No, I’ve been sitting here the entire time. So why is the kettle on? HOW is the kettle on? One sec, let me just check. Yup, the kettle’s boiling. Something funny here. Woah, the bedroom door just slammed shut! Let me check. Feeling slightly flustered and hot. Okay, nothing. That’s weird. Must have been a breeze from an open window. But there’s no breeze outside. And the windows are all closed. I know the clocks changed in London a few nights ago, but it seems quite a bit darker than it should be. Almost dimming by the second. I sit back down and breathe. Suddenly I feel a tap on my shoulder. Not that I believe in things that aren’t there, but I instinctively turn my head with a jolt. A blinding flash fills the room with neon white for a split second and then instantly disappears. I mean everything disappears. Lights out! Black nothing. But I feel heavy. And yes, I admit, rather terrified. There is a sulphurous odour to the air, and it seems to be whispering with force. Almost like the screaming of an old woman with a defunct larynx. “YOU did it. It was your own doing”, it seems to say. My arms are being stroked and pinched. Or at least it feels that way. Look, I don’t believe in this stuff!! This must be one heck of a migraine. It just MUST be. With the lights out, I can’t even get my bearings. The room feels both cavernous and claustrophobic. Occasional flickers of Technicolor red slide past my vision. The odd bright green eye. There’s that voice again: “Blame only yourself. We only helped you”. What have EYE done?? The swish of bats is around me like true Dolby Atmos. They’re pulling at the few hairs left on my crown. “Not the hair!”, I cry. Typical. A time like this, and all he cares about is his hair.
A shatter of glass startles me into daylight. My room is my room again. I can see! The spirits are gone! I must have fallen asleep. Just a nightmare. Phew! But still there is a whisper… Oh wait, that’s the kettle. I just remembered, I DID put it on, but it’s broken. It won’t stop boiling - must get that fixed. One sec, let me turn it off. Wait, there’s broken glass all over the place. Christ, the window! There on the floor lies a brick. A brick with a note held in place by means of an elastic band. As I pick up the hefty weight, I am shaking almost enough to drop the thing on my foot. With a second hand for stability, I turn it over. The note reads “Trick or Treat? You’ve had your treat”… There is blood on the note. Then I realise it’s my own. I must have cut myself on the broken glass. I’ve had my treat? What on Earth can THAT mean?? I must clear up this mess, but first, I must finally make that cup of tea. I’ve got a review to write, for God’s sake! Nothing quite like a cup of tea to calm a llama down. After a few sips I fall once again into the land of slumber, if only from all this mental exhaustion. When I awake with a sudden feeling of “Oh Christ, oh Christ, I’ve still got to write the review, I reach forward to clutch the teacup, but there is none to be seen. That’s weird. I then launch myself to vertical and double-gallop to the kitchen. There is nothing to clear up. No glass, no brick. The window is intact. No remnants of ever having had a cup of tea, even. Total silence. And the nice kind. The peaceful kind. Not the eerie kind. So what the hell happened? A dream within a dream?? Uncomfortable stuff. But of course, I don’t believe in any of that. Ahem.
Right! Pen in hand. It’s review time. Let’s go! Every week there are TONNES of releases from artists on the New Artist Spotlight. Every week I have to pick one. And every week it is hard, for there is just so much talent. But these past few days have seen the general standard go into overdrive. Rarely is it THIS hard to pick just ONE song. I always have my maybes, but this time I had at least 3 DEFINITES!! I even contemplated doing a joint review of several artists. But joints are illegal in most places. And, I just don’t do that. It’s ONE each week. So huge apologies to the artists I NEARLY reviewed but didn’t. We have no winners here at the NAS; only losers. No, sorry, that’s not right. We have no losers here at the NAS. But if we did, the least likely to lose, this week, would be Bernice Marsala. Who says I’m not tactful?! Look, on deep reflection and deliberation, I decided that Lights Out was my favourite, and the best suited for this week’s CC review. I had to bear in mind the time of year and the novelty songs, but I also had to bear in mind longevity. I didn’t really want it to be a “festive” song that would seem “so end of October” on the 1st of November. I wanted to review a great song that would live on, but one that could also comfortably nestle with the spooky releases, like a snoozing spider in my Corner, waiting for fresh prey to come to its world wide web. I am that prey. The song devoured me whole. And it will devour you.
I first heard this song months ago. Unmixed. Bernice had come to me for my services. No, not THOSE services. Few can afford THOSE services. Lights Out excited me. Of all the songs I have produced/mixed, I have never really been given a genuinely modern POP song. Which is funny, because my own music is pop (admittedly pop with a difference). There has been folk, acoustic, alternative, rock, calypso, more alternative and hip-hop. But basically, no pure pop! I won’t dwell on my side of the making, as it’s not really about me. I just wanted to get my point across that I was excited right from the beginning, before I had even started. That this was already a great pop song before a single black magic dial had been turned, and before the auto-CC button had been pressed. Bernice had written and recorded something special. Although originally from Illinois, she now resides in Nayashveeyal. Sorry, Nashville. The home of the great songwriters. Where the thousands of American classics were born. So what better environment for someone going places in the music world. She’s already won the 2023 ISSA bronze award for Female Songwriter of the Year. But if she keeps up the level of Lights Out, she’ll be going for GOLD! You see, this song has a teasing intro, two beautiful verses, a killer chorus, an unexpectedly jazzy bridge, an explosion of a “one last time” (that final chorus), and a hauntingly hollow outro. And all in less than two and a half minutes. It’s not even a fast tempo! This is classic song form, and it’s classic for a reason. It. Just. Works.
I just realised what the voice of the broken larynx was all about. It was my own thoughts! Bernice did it. It was her own doing. She is to “blame” for such a fabulous song. I only helped her. It was the angel telling me (albeit in a devilish way) not to take credit for someone else’s work! Even the devil couldn’t argue. Funny when a good thing seems bad at the time. This song though, that was ALWAYS good. The piano, the strings, the Western-style tremolo guitar, the processed drums, the live drums, the saxophone and so much more. Some of this I added or played with, but most of it was the fabulous lady herself. And… Oh, and… the VOCALS!! Bernice is one of my favourite female vocalists on the NAS, without a doubt. There is a fullness in her voice, that I often find missing in some singers. But it is not bloated in the slightest. It has panache (“use it wisely”, warned the witch). It has bite (“you rang?”, leaned the vampire). It has guts (“ah, that’s where they went”, rattled the skeleton). Yet, there is a sparkling dreamy quality to this dagger. Its handle of flush-cut inlayed jewels, polished to a mirror finish. In short, this is professional art with a great deal of heart.
I suppose you’re wondering what my treat was? Well, remember it turned out to be my own thoughts…? The treat is hearse. Sorry: hers. Her treat of having you as an audience for her spectacular new song, Lights Out. YOUR treat is the song. No tricks! Not this time…
As for MY treat…? 🎶"Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of-" oh f**k off. Just gimme the damned Haribo.
Listen to 𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙊𝙪𝙩 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙊𝙪𝙩 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
Watch 𝙇𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙊𝙪𝙩 on YouTube HERE!
Follow 𝘽𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙡𝙖 on Instagram HERE!
Hire Charles to produce/mix/master your song HERE!
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