'Single songs are sweet little kisses, but albums are sloppy, wet kisses from the one you love.' (Eric Alper, Toronto)
This assertion caught my eye and attention on twitter recently. As I found myself nodding in agreement to it (in belief I perceived and understood the essence of this slippery yet accessible metaphor) I began to wonder if I might have been all too quickly lured in, without decently reasoning out the statement's scope.
It's a frequent phenomenon that musicians release singles instead of albums nowadays. It's for multiple reasons, whether they want to introduce their music to an audience, make a musical mark and define their sound so people know what to expect of releases yet to come, so people get a glimpse of what shapes their being as artists, or they launch it to prelude to an album, to shorten the wait for its release, or put it out there to get a positive response - not only a response to their creative compositional endeavours, but also financially, as many hope to make people thereby more inclined to buy their music. After all it's only one song, equals approximately 79 pence the affectionate listener would spend on it (which is in my book way too little, given the investement of time, passion, constructiveness, money itself, given the musicans' aptitude, emotional involvement whilst he puts heart and soul into every single note he composes - but this isn't about lecturing, it's not wrong though to be aware that the amount of effort, the song's emotional and creative value isn't reflected in the songs' actual one. Any way, that's a different story, hence moving on...). Thus, whenever a musician decides to bring forth a single, not a full length record, it doens't necessarily mean he is desperate to release something in order to make himself a name among people, in order to make money - at least not primarily. It's - in the best case - for believing in the songs' strength to appeal on its own, being memorable and eye-catching enough to draw attention to him and his music making, prompt people to stick around for forthcoming releases, even if the single eventually doesn't make the cut to be featured on a subsequent album.
Beyond question, a musician must be confident about releasing a single only, must be certain that this very song makes it to stir, thrill an audience, to incite and introduce him, may it be for the first time or in a new livery, tonally. Some dare to experiment yet most play it safe, what doesn't deprive the songs from being inspiring, cunning ones, yet admittedly attributes them to be catchy, accessible and fetching at core. An album, however, has more time and space to reveal its charm, to unfold its compositional range, its melodic depth and thematic variety, its generic ventures and shifts even. With a more or less vast number of colourful, distinct songs an album takes more time to grow on the listener, yet is not running low of the very same to reach out to those who are eager to listen, as it doesn't depend so much on initial liking, on convicing its audience within the few minutes of its duration like songs do. Sure, favourites can be found on an album pretty soon in the process of one's listening experience, yet the more time one spends to indulge in the compositions provided, the higher the chances are that one changes one's mind and find refreshing and appealing characteristics in yet another track on the playlist. Listening to a sole song can also be surprising, suspenseful, yet it's undeniable that the tonal dimensions of an album yield more intense and brisk, fulminant moments for its audience to cherish.
Single songs can be both expressive, convincing and inspired drafts of a refined and colourful framed picture that eventually will be an album, and they can be skilful, mature artwork, precise 'masterpieces' of art already. They are a musican's flagship, his signature, audible attestors of the music making process, composed to win an audience over, to make a lasting first or deepened impression on the listener. Whereas the first impression can't be altered, renewed, it can be intensified and approved by future releases. And that's when albums come in, not only to engage previous listeners once more, to confirm their first impressions as they present something familiar, flattering but also to come up with something new and edgy, audacious and bracing, without lacking an overall compositional and melodic harmony. It's where pieces are put together in chime, and even though it often seems as if there is no theme, accord that connects all songs, there is almost always a musical meeting point, a compositional concord and unifying concept indeed, as versatile and as extensive all songs may be. It's an album that comes up with a thorough and deep portrayal of the musician behind the compositions, whereas a single makes an incisive imprint, yet gives only a vague nonetheless trenchant direction of the music to be created. It's an album, in the end, that gives a detailed, multifarious and coherent insight into the music an artist aspires to compose and expose. The details, the spectrum of sound are obviously brought about by each song featured.
Now, back to the metaphor: single songs are exciting, keen and intense, they surprise, electrify, at least when done right. Whilst they sound, prospect and anticipation is in the air, as singles foreshadow something yet to come, but are solid, vigorous and imposing enough to speak for themselves in the very moment. They seem to be indeed 'little' and 'sweet', yet perky and inciting, make you, as a listener and enthusiast of the somehow familiar unknown, crave for more. They are no heralds for an album only, they are the exhilarating and elaborate offspring of a creative process, an offspring the musician is satisfied with and believes in, otherwise he would not have shared it, would he?! Albums, on the other hand, offer an eclectic indulgence, one wants not only to come back to - yet singles invite the listener to do the very same - but also to explore. Whilst doing so, or even at first approach, the favourable listener may find songs which simply don't speak to him, he actually needs to grow familiar with. And even if he doesn't - who has determined music should be all about liking, falling rampantly for a melody, arrangement, message, a song displays and conveys? Music is also and foremost about understanding and appreciating it for what it is: it's an outcome of love and sincerity, the artist's love for the songs he composes and his honesty in approach to them, it's a personal, means an emotional, soulful, passionate project to realize for himself and his audience. Some songs may sound odd - equals 'sloppy' and ' wet' in the opening metaphor - at first, rebell against one's senses and requirements for favour and fondness, the listener soon will learn though it's the compositional boldness, deviation and versatility that excites, the urgency and complexity, creativeness that deepens the affinity for the sound evolving and altering throughtout the track; he moreover will find that the stirring unpredictability and absorbing commotion - he eventually embraces whilst indulging in the suspenseful once unfamliar, therefore peculiar, compositions - is a vehement and forceful, ardent and promising incentive, just like a kiss from someone he has deeply, inevitably fallen in love with.
Without further ado now, here are 10 songs released as singles, strong and vibrant enough to capture, to make a solid music mark, defined and determined yet also leaving room for the musicians to grow in sound, to amend, to differentiate their standards. All out of the 10 songs have come upon us in their own time, hence appreciate and enjoy ….
Genre: Blues Rock
Members: Daniel Parkin (vocals/guitar), Wesley Stringer (bass), Tommy Judd (drums)
Songs: Gimme The Night
Gimme The Night
With languorous and melodically clinging guitar riffs, dynamic and dim drum beats, deep, ambient yet sharply stirring vocals 'Gimme TheNight' comes mildly upon the listener and evokes a rather blue and sentimental atmosphere, which is laced with a pinch of bluesy rock attitude. The vocals' vigorous and punchy volume unfolds within the chorus which leaves no doubt about the song's defining vein: it's briskly, vehemently pulsating blues rock, infused with mellow, dreamful but enthralling folk music characteristics as the composition's intro has impressively displayed. As long as the chorus lasts, fulminant and sonorous vocals of edgy timbre resonate and adapt to the thrilling drum beats, to the brazzy and piercing cymbal addendum, as well as to the vibrant and acutely ringing riffage. It's eye-catching that 'Gimme The Night' boasts with a solid and rousing chorus, further edged by almost screaming, yet controlled and sharp vocals which echo in a grungy and pricking manner. The listener is lured in by a smooth, appolonian arrangement once more, awoken and stirred due to both impetuous, scratchy vocals and audacious, fast-paced melodies - it's a repetitive yet each time absolutely absorbing pattern The Albino Peaches impose on their audience.
Apparently to stress the vehemence of the bold and fierce chorus for the last time, a brief instrumental interlude sets in - lightly resounding, faraway seemingly riffage is soon replaced by a staggering and imbuing bass line, followed up by strong voice power and an eccentric, keen tonal outburst, only to be concluded by a reverberative drum finish, by the sound of clangorous cymbals which stridently linger on. Electrifying, exciting and exhausting in good way, 'Gimme The Night' strikes with a clamorous, then faint, with an insistent, then melodically loosened, an overall dynamic and challenging compositional concept.
Without any hesitation the listener is drawn into a fuzzy, swift whirl of tensely wavering riffage, learns quickly that 'Bang Bang', as the song's title already implies, is of fast-paced, urgent and resolute tonal nature. The firm and grungy, to a certain extent cocky vocals add to an upbeat and imbuing melodic picture. Whilst staggering, feisty and nimbly plucked guitar riffs dictate the rhythm, deep-toned and dim drum beats support, sassy and rebellious vocals back the strongly reverberative and impetuous composition, thereby make for an exciting and intensive listening experience. As 'Bang Bang' approaches its tonal resolution, the riffage disgresses and shows off in a cracking, pulled manner, still bears a defined rousing core, the vocals are stressed, thrusting - and the song itself revolts one more time with an orotund, dashing and trenchant drum sequence, interwoven with a scattered and straint guitar backing. Eventually the band's frenzied and energetic opus ends with a big 'bang' indeed.
Path Unknown (4 piece rock outfit from Southport)
Genre: Alternative Rock with grunge bits
Members: Benjamin Stephen Jones (singer/rhythm guitar), Jack Wade (drums),
Nathan Wheddon (bass), Patrick Hibell (lead guitar)
Songs: Sit & Wonder
Sit & Wonder
It's an atmospheric, gloomy setting you find yourself in listening to 'Sit & Wonder', one that brings an apocalyptic and grim feel into being which is fueled by both a 'grey' still stirring instrumental arrangement and ethereal, huskily echoing vocals which lucidly engross the composition. This resigned, bleak nonetheless poignant tonal atmosphere is maintained until the one minute mark, when inciting and dashing drum beats join in and the song gains pace and dynamic. The now vigorous and dark vocals resound firmly and it's with edge and sharpness that they break through the more trenchant and absorbing instrumentation, being a tonal might that in the end culminates in fluttery, erratic and nebulous riffage.
Melodically erupting, rhythmically evolving, it's intense sound the listener is exposed to with 'Sit & Wonder'.
Layer after layer, full of promise 'Viral Parasitoid' invades the listeners' minds, lures with dreamy and smooth vocals, with a longing and languorous sound - at first only by deploying light and haunting guitar melodies, then by deepening the instrumental layout with a soul-stirring, imbuing and mellifluous string section episode. The instrumentation brightens, grows to be more dynamic and bracing henceforth, is brisked up due to softly echoing polyphonic elements and hollow, atmospheric percussion incisions which slightly sharpen the rather mellow, gently flowing sound of 'Viral Parasitoid'. Its sentimental undercurrent is stressed by lyrical disclosures such as 'I am the problem, you are the cure. I don't know what is wrong or right anymore. I need you, but I'm killing you, I've become a viral parasitoid'. It shows that the song's persona is torn between his needs and the consequences of chasing and fulfilling them. In the end it's not with virulence that the song reaches out to the listener, in fact the melodies and vocals sneak balmly in - however, they do so in a highly infectious manner.
Genre: Alternative Rock
Members: Gary Nelson (vocals/guitar), Iain Brewster (backing vocals/guitar),
Thom Bedford (backing vocals/bass), Ben Devenport (drums)
Hide & Seek
A gradually deepened instrumental intro unfolds, creates tonal tension and reveals the song's defining components by degrees: for the moment reserved yet atmopspheric in sound, an interaction between imbuing bass chords and brassy, bright cymbal chimes takes the lead, whilst vigorous drum beats slowly soak in. It's when a tight and pulled, vibrant guitar riff strikes, broadens and merges into a jaunty and energetic sequence of sound that the stage for raucous and intense vocals is set - vocals which bear witness to regrets, chances left unexploited as time goes by, as people move on, yet which also admit that one has to take it as it comes and thereby grow with one's challenges. The moody atmosphere of 'Afterglow' is loosened up by frisky, electrifying riffage, accentuated and incisive drum beats, later on by a rousing and evocative bass line, further on by airy yet rasp backing vocals; a dominant longing vocal colour reminds of the gloomy lyrical content still. Whereas the instrumentation eventually revolts, excites with a final rapid and fulminant dash, the vocals subside in a rasping, faint yet emotionally stirring manner, firmly concluding: 'Times they are changing, can't sleep at night. Nothing is perfect, we'll be alright. My body's aching, mind on the floor, take a look darling, ready, unsure.'
Hide & Seek
Only about 2:30 minutes lasting, 'Hide & Seek' dashes from the very beginning with exhilarating and bold dynamics. Rough and energetic guitar riffs, vivacious drum beats and a dark bass echo swirl fuzzily and in an edgy manner, sharp and raw vocals are backed by an evocative and enigmatic choral-esque arrangement, when a rapidly wavering and vehement instrumentation gains the upper hand. The vocals split into a sometimes fervent and fierce, sometimes dim and grave component - lead and backing vocals blend in chime, intensify, a staggering, impetuous drum period sets in and stirs up. As the composition approaches its closure, the riffage blurs, comes forth frantic, erratic, foremost exciting. It shows that 'Hide & Seek' is definitely no song to be in hiding - audacious, spirited and atmospheric, it is one that exposes itself loudly and vigorously in all its diversified and dynamic glory.
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Members: Jack McAllister (vocals/guitar), Jack Sanders (lead guitar/vocals), Andrew Hawley (drums/vocals), Sam Knott (bass)
Songs: Under Your Thumb
Art Of Retribution
Under Your Thumb
'Under Your Thumb' is rock 'n' roll with soul - atmospheric, bracing and full of ideas. Sonorous and rich in sound, the instrumental concurrence of sweeping guitar riffs, an imbuing and suspenseful bass interlude and pungent, feisty drum beats calls heavily upon the listener. The harmony and diversity of vocals - once passionate and incisive, then bluesy, darkly shaded and cocky, another time diffusing in haunting, gloomy vocal murmur - involves the audience further, stresses the message of the song in a bold, expressive manner. Brutally honest, to a certain extent rebellious, the lyrics tell of a relationship in which one lover doesn't want to be formed and controlled by the other, in which one doesn't want to hold back, yet to embrace and accept the truth and wishes to re-establish the affectionate interaction on the very same, as verses such as 'green never looked that good on you, now it's about time I told the truth […] spent half my time trying not to mess it up' depict.
Eventually it's the whimsical, keen vocal layers, the thrilling instrumentation, whose depth is primarily caused by accentuated, rhythmic and piercing drum beats, whose dynamics rely on infectious and ardent rifffage, that make 'Under Your Thumb' a song to return to, and that without any outside demand, but due to a fiery, flaming yearning.
Art Of Retribution (b-side)
Repetitive patterns of sound, rich in incentive and suspensful contrasts though, manifest themselves and overwhelm the listener with a ponderous, forceful drum episode, rampant, rushing riffage, brisk and sharp vocals, in turns with an exuberant, almost quaint guitar arrangement and a mellow, melodious vocal input. A story of betrayal, astray relationships, of denied trust evolves. An audible insection takes shape as guitar strings are struck in a deep, frisky manner and prelude the atmospheric chorus of 'Art Of Retribution'. Eccentric and tense vocals, a reserved, nonetheless passionate tonal accompaniment, an apollonian and lucid polyphonic episode merge, accelerate and segue in an imbuing and egdy interlude, which is quickly taken over by harmoniously escalating, high-pitched backing vocals and spirited riffage. It's the guitar chords that give the beat now - fuzzy, fast-paced, vehement and dashing - whilst heavy yet carefully placed drumming refines the song's instrumetal finish. A trenchant, rapid tonal downfall engrossingly potrays the demise of deceiving men.
Listen to their interview on DrBones' music show
Apollo Junction (5 piece pop outfit from Leeds)
Genre: Electronic Pop
Members: Jamie (vocals), Matt (guitars), Jonathan (drums), Ben (bass), Sam (keys/synths)
Song: If I fell (release due on April 1st)
If I fell
Time flies by quickly whilst listening to 'If I fell' - and as a listener you indeed fall in, delve into the brumous and luring tonal space the anthemic song provides, moreover you are captured by the dreamy, then dynamic, electrifying sound the ambient composition reveals. Initiated with a haunting, languorous keys section, accompanied by gently lingering, sensitive vocals, the track runs smoothly and unveils a sentimental longing. Vibrant and grave beats, perky and sweeping melodies enrich the eclectic instrumental setting, brisk up the consistently mellow and quaint arrangement, also define the often elusive tonal moments with vivacious and refreshing zeal. Tingling and incisively drawn synth components, an edgy vocal echo shape and distinguish the overall melodic concept, blend well with the sunny, euphonious nature of 'If I fell' as well. Reminiscent of Owl City's music, Apollo Junction's blithe and colourful work soars up, enhances in an upbeat fashion yet fades out dreamfully in a blurry silkiness of sound. Honestly, who hasn't fallen for this poignant and charming song by now?!
Midnight Hour (5 piece rock outfit from OC California)
Genre: Alternative Rock (their FB page claims 'Summer Music' to be their genre, and the band's debut single 'Modern Love' sure mislead to believe that, yet their sound has grown and is more egdy, feisty now)
Members: Bradley Lodge (vocals), Dan Ardis (drums), Tim Johnson (lead guitar), Jeff Fernandez (bass), Mark Johnson (guitar)
Enthralling and emphatic - 'Monster' announces itself in a jaunty and frisky manner, flaring and fuzzy riffage merges with fast-paced and feisty drum beats, when poignant and passionate vocals join in. A tense yet dynamic tonal atmosphere is set from the very beginning, undeniably furnished with a dim and adamant, absorbing melodic coating. Whereas the lyrics tell of an untamed, consuming desire and do so in a straightforward and narrative style, the instrumentation appears impetuous but controlled. Brad's vocals are pushed, play to their full potential, don't sound strained though, rather adapt a welcome daring vibrancy, a perky and stirring timbre.
Frenzied and swirling guitar riffs, a high-pitched and cracking vocal echo, a piercing and accentuated bass line increasingly contribute to the alluring and vivacious compositional concept of 'Monster'. Midnight Hour set free a hauting and catchy song with it, one that overwhelms with a firmer, darker, more intense sound than the band's former releases hold ready for the audience. It's as a whole a gloomy but brisk, spirited composition - now don't be scared and let the 'Monster' in ...
The band's interview on DrBones' music show has been removed from spreaker, yet you can ask @drcbones to send you the audio file.