Saturday, July 28, 2007

Let's not be so serious

Don't you love that bubbling over feeing that comes when you discover an artist you'd never heard of before but instantly can feel will be a staple of your music listening? Not necessarily your top artist ever, but one you know you're going to enjoy greatly, so much so that you just can't wait to start delving into everything they've done?

And then, then, when you start investigating a little further, looking at writing credits, investigating what else those writers have done, and suddenly pieces of the pop world start to come together? One singer leads to a songwriter who leads to another singer you liked and other songwriters you'll probably like and other singers you've never heard of but instantly like, and it's as if you've set off a chain reaction that lights up a corner of the pop universe, and you realize that, as much fun as you're having discovering things, there are infinite connections out there, infinite new singers and songwriters to discover...but it's sort of like you've managed to form the corner of a can see connections you never envisioned and they simultaneously reshape and enhance your perception of the behind-the-scenes working of the pop industry while also invigorating you to go out and discover more?

That's how I felt when I discovered Latvian singer Ladybird. I'd be tempted to say there's something in the water in Latvia since, though I don't know a bunch of Latvian artists, the few I do know are real gems, but I think a lot of the success of their material comes from them stealing songwriters from other countries--mainly the Scandinavian and Nordic ones. I swear that's not me being Sweden-biased (nor are they all from Sweden, though most are); there's just an incredible amount of talent there.

There were a lot of generalities in those statements, so let's get specific for a moment and take one particular example. One of the great songs on Ladybird's debut album Nightvision is called "Move On Automatic." There are three songwriters listed for this song, but one of them is Lisa Lindebergh. Lisa is Swedish and has released two albums of her own, including some great songs (Catchy Tunes Of Sweden posted "One Week" from her debut album and the preview clips for her second album sounded so great I had to instantly buy it) and some songs that would later be covered by Dutch singer Sita (including "My Kitchen," one of my favorite of Sita's songs, even if it does have a metaphor best not thought about too deeply; it's gorgeous). She's also done writing for Peter Jöback, Shebang, L5, Mandy Moore, and Bec Cartwright.

Now, think about all that for a moment. One of three songwriters for one song on one artist's twelve track album reveals connections among artists you like that you'd never known existed and introduces you to brand new artists for you to investigate, each of those with their own sets of songwriters which you can further investigate, and each writer usually with their own affiliated company and therefore larger stable of writers to discover. And what happens when you move onto investigating the second of those three songwriters for that one song? Or a new song entirely? The pop universe just suddenly seems so huge, but with hidden dark threads connecting it all. How can that not be incredibly exhilarating for any music lover?

I'll probably be raiding songwriters' back catalogues for weeks, so expect that--there will be a lot of connections between the people you see cropping up here.

The excitement of the hunt, new discoveries, making connections--I swear, it's stuff like this I live for. I don't think I can really get across in words how exciting it is.

Move On Automatic--keeping this brief, given how much I just had to say, this is a light cute simple pop song, easily listened to and enjoyed. Will it change your world? Probably not, but you should have a great time listening to it. It's a little "old school pop," if that makes sense; more on the "pure pop" side of things, I guess. It was also released (slightly earlier, I think, making Ladybird's version the cover) under the name "Automatic" by Finnish girl group I'Dees. I think we might also be able to say that, at least in this incarnation, the song was influenced by the same song that influenced Janne's "Remember," although maybe not quite as obviously; probably influenced by the same singer, at least, which has no doubt helped her become a (the?) Latvian pop princess.

Because I really want to share my enthusiasm for, if nothing else, Ladybird, here's another song of hers to listen to through a live (or "live") performance, "Next Level." Given my excitement, I'll probably end up posting it in a few days, but it's here for you to listen to in this way now (wait for the chorus).

Oh, and incidentally, apparently Ladybird did a photoshoot with someone who styled Keira Knightley. I think that's really obvious in this picture, no?

You can buy Ladybird's albums in loads of places; for example, they're for sale at 7Digital and Medion Music as mp3s and in all countries' iTunes stores. You can also pick up her album Nightvision here (physical). Since she's literally a brand new discovery for me, I'll refrain on too many recommendations for right now, except to say that she's probably most famous for "Dangerous To Me," which is worth a listen (it tends to draw a lot of "Can't Get You Out Of My Head"-ripoff comparisons), but I'd recommend "Don't Stop" from 5 Moods (it's very catchy in a very approachable way) and "Next Level" from Nightvision instead.

Next up: maybe that Icelandic singer.


Paul said...

i was all excited by this because ladybird was my playground superhero name when i was a child. I was almost sparkle but luckily emma carrington took that. Phew. Which really has nothing to do with this music, but is a nice story, n'est pas?

Faithe said...

There's a fantastic remix of Dangerous To Me, and while I love that song, after hearing her sing with Amberlife, I have a really hard time enjoying her stuff.
Hahah, I really love your enthusiasm over the singer-song-songwriter-other song-other singer chain, because it really is a great thing. :]

Poster Girl said...

Sí, Paul :) And it's funny you mention the word "Sparkle" in this comment--that's the title of Lisa L's album!

I'm so glad you agree! Well, actually, I'm just really glad someone gets what I was talking about! I felt like I needed to draw a diagram or something ;) I've never heard anything else by Amberlife (my knowledge is pretty patchy), but I'm guessing they're not worth looking into, then?

Moai13 said...

There are many famous songs on these albums (nightvision & 5 moods). Do you have them (as delight, destiny, praize, nightvision, great friend...)?