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.
Charles casts a spell…
It’s a new dawn; it’s a new day; it’s a new life for me… And I’m feeling good. Hopefully your bodies and minds have recovered from the copious amounts of shandy booze, and I trust your ears have stopped ringing from the relentless colourful cannon fire. Some of you might have been saddened or even offended by having not received a New Year message from me. Even in the public chats, I was completely absent. But then again, most of you probably couldn't give a monkey's. Quite right. For those of you who have nothing better to do than to frown and weep and mourn the lack of a review for an entire week, have no fear: CC is here! Do not worry your pretty little head. I was simply saving that message for this here public broadcast. I have also been truly enjoying life without screen. There's a whole world out there, ya know...! What did YOU all do between the festives (24th/25th) and the bing-bangs (31st/1st)? Did you read that book you were given for Christmas? Did you drink yourself into oblivion? Did you resent having to work between the two significant dates? Perhaps you just pigged out while listening to whatever Spotify told you to listen to? Well my favourite day was so simplistic it might even barely bear mentioning. But it is so often the simple things in life that we cherish the most. It was December 30th. I was heavily hungover from the night before - don't ask. Feeling groggy can be awful, but it can also make you feel cosy at home. Like a yawning puppy. I knew I wasn't going to get any work done. How could I possibly judge the balance of audio when I couldn't even remember to put on trousers... Think of it as a duvet day. Yes, I know this is starting to sound like a teenage girl's slumber party, but I assure you it wasn't. My girlfriend and I did a jigsaw puzzle from start to finish, while listening to music. It was as simple as that. And a highlight of the music was Kaminski's album from 2022 (no longer "last year"). We both had such a special time despite there being pretty much nothing to it. I suppose this is what love is all about. It is the magic of it. How something so simple can be so special.
The year is new. So new, I'm not sure how to use it. With little knowledge of how this year goes, I thought I'd start off in a way I know well. Yes, it's much like the old year, but we've all got to start somewhere. “Some day, we'll find a new way of living”. But until then, I'll crack on in ways most familiar to me. I know: it's SO last year. 2023 felt like a transition year to me. A year when artists started to change and evolve. Bigger and better, but not necessarily into Springsteen sound. Think of it in terms of eggs. The NAS is a nest, and we are all mother birds. We keep these eggs warm, as much as we can. Unfortunately some of the unhatched never get to spread their wings, and wither before they have really begun. These ones just don't have the strength or determination needed to survive the cold, harsh world. But then, there are the ones that begin to move. They roll a little, bobbing from side to side. And then a hairline crack starts to appear. The beak of Eleanor collides with its curved wall, and as if by magic, a star is born. This has happened countless times. The New Artist Spotlight really is the home of magic. But magic must be nurtured. Like the birds. Like a gift. We've all got to start somewhere. But 2023 showed not only signs of improvement, but of uniqueness and originality. A flair for the unknown. One only has to look to Patrik Ahlm and Emily Gray, for example, where their music was already excellent. Then came the final quarter of last year. BOOM!! It's like going from pleasing, satisfying Lego buildings that I would happily have on my mantelpiece (yes, I know this is demeaning and not what I mean, but you get the gist), to beautifully ornate, perfectly proportioned houses that I would give my left arm to live in. And for some reason, I just know this is only the beginning. 2023 felt to me like a taster or a teaser of things to come.
Improvement is one thing. It comes from hard work, experience, dedication, determination, strength, research, more hard work, and more experience. But then there is this other thing in art which doesn’t appear in any other aspect of life. That “je ne sais quoi”. That spark of brilliance that catches you (and everyone else) off guard. When something is simply given to you anonymously from elsewhere, as if to say “take this and it will change your life”. Like when doctors prescribed antibiotics 100 years ago; it must have seemed like witchcraft! But unlike any medication, with art there is no science behind it, nor logic. It is simply delivered, this magic potion. And what better way to start this no doubt wondrous year than with Magic, by Cerulean Chameleon and Summer Lee Carlson…! These are two insanely talented artists, neither of whom I have ever reviewed before. As often happens with me, I see the “special spark” early on, but wait for THE ONE. In this case, I actually have no doubt they will both keep rising to the skies. This is NOT their pinnacle, but the start of their true greatness. I simply couldn’t hold it any longer. These two eggs have definitely hatched, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Look, you have to be cruel to be kind! Abracadabra! Alakazam! Zimzalabim! Bish-bash-bosh! Izzy-whizzy, let’s get busy!
Cerulean Chameleon got me with their very first single, Boom! (My Heart Went). Instant club classic (or for me, living-room-dance classic). Scott (the sum total of this other CC), a fellow Britonian (Scott from the land of Scots), has been producing and mixing his electronic pop, relying on no one but himself. Well, almost… Ya see, I have an unwritten rule with my reviews… I have never said this in public. Here it is. Most of you have probably not heard of something called “vocal packs”. These are peculiar things for sale all over the internet containing complete vocal lines, perfectly recorded by professionals. The idea is that you purchase one of these, then produce a song around said words and melodies. Until this point, Scott has been using these in the right way. For practice. A chance to hone his production skills. BUT!! It does little for writing skills, recording skills and vocal skills. It is almost like doing a cover. A true artist is not left satisfied. And Scott was aware of this. He has been itching to get off this dreaded drug for quite some time and make some REAL music. Oh yes, my rule: I don’t review songs containing anonymous vocals from the internet. My reasons are hopefully obvious. Thankfully Scott feels exactly the same. He wants to work with singers from now on. The great thing is, this peculiar modern method taught him a lot in terms of his craft as a producer. He was ready for the big time. Cue Summer Lee Carlson, an American expat now living in Cambodia (of all places!). The only similarity to “vocal packs” is her sheer perfection as a singer. Summer has lately been working with Jason Peterson DeLaire and Khid Genius, creating a mega chunk of stunning quality hits built for the world. I can imagine Scott was quite nervous in having to follow such high-end sheen, but he bit the bullet and went for it. Proud of him.
My God, though. This musical twosome were made for each other. Instant MAGIC! Neither is holding up the other. They stand shoulder to shoulder in creating the best of both worlds, and showing us that you sometimes just need to find the right person in order to shine. ‘Magic’ showcases the best singing I have heard from Summer Lee Carlson, and the best production I have heard from Cerulean Chameleon, in this epic and frankly awe-inspiring single to start the year with a bang. A true firework to welcome us into 2024. It holds 80s style and width, but grips modernity with control and punch. Sophisticated goodness to the max! Summer’s blend of Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Annie Lennox is the only way to fight power with power, as Cerulean Chameleon slams the stunning drums and mesmeric synths with as much beef as the final two minutes of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight. More, even! I mentioned “mesmeric”: there is something really trippy about the song. It is quite rare for songs to have both punch and flow. Don’t believe what the adults say. Magic is magic. It’s as simple as that. There is no trick to it. We are lucky enough to be able to witness the courtship of these two tweeters. I am REALLY bloody impressed. And, like I said, this is just the beginning…!
Happy New Year, you exciting little high-flyers, you.
No birds were harmed in the making of this review. Which is more than I can say for Christmas Day.
Listen to Magic on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to Magic on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
Follow 𝘾𝙚𝙧𝙪𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙣 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙤𝙣 on Instagram HERE!
Follow 𝙎𝙪𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙧 𝙇𝙚𝙚 𝘾𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙨𝙤𝙣 on Instagram HERE!
Please share this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments below