Sam smithWhen you reach a certain stage in your life you can see from here to there. Maybe it’s a road that stretches out in front of you as a straight line, maybe it opens up to you as one of the Great Plains,but there’s no denying it, the horizon, it keeps getting bigger. You can’t fight it nor can you change it. It just is what it is and I know how it goes. There’ll be more phone calls in the middle of the night, there’ll be more goodbyes. There’ll be more tough decisions and more days when you have no idea how you ended up here at all. And when you look back the only thought you have is; What was I thinking? I was so in over my head.
But here we are, there’s nothing to it. Don’t think you’re special, don’t think it hasn’t all happened before. And if I get any notions you know what I do? I crank it up high. I fill it up to the brim. I polish my discarded dancing shoes. It goes something like this: To the left – step one, step two, and together. To the other side, do it with me now…step one, step two and …together. And then I press restart.

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Young, Foolish and Green – LA ROUX

La Roux2014LaRouxSimonProcterBedSideProfile[3].jpgOne thing La Roux decidedly isn’t is young, foolish and green (it’s a touching lyric in her new single Let me Down Gently). It was five years ago La Roux won a Grammy, had world-wide hits with In For The Kill and Bulletproof and was a red-headed Annie Lennox re-incarnate with an 80s new wave quiff and a sound to match. Then it all went silent. For f-i-v-e  years. It’s a touch of self mocking irony the new album is called Trouble in Paradise. For La Roux it seemed to be a case of be careful what you wish for. After the success of the hit filled debut album, Elly split with her songwriting partner, (the other part of La Roux, Ben Langmaid) suffered debilitating panic attacks and lost her ability to sing. As she says in an interview with the Guardian:  “I thought my career was over.” Whatever those troubles were, they seem a long-lost memory now. Elly Jackson is back! And she is just as seductively Annie,  although a bit softer in the emotionally charged Let Me Down Gently. The tone is muted,  but the spirit is as blazing as the red bullet of hair charging through the foggy moors in the elegant video. I heard someone describe Let me Down gently as forlorn, but I don’t hear the sadness. Only courage in the face of inevitability. He has already decided to leave.

What’s Your Game Plan? – JAMIE CULLUM

jamie-paintingJamie Cullum is Britain’s biggest selling jazz artist of all time. I was one of the millions seduced by his pop pixie looks and accessible white T-Shirts and jeans demeanour and I saw him live at Royal Albert Hall. He is a demon at the piano. He tickles, slams, bangs and creates runs like I’ve never seen before. But he also holds the quiet in the palm of the audience, inhabits the sound. His new album Momentum is perhaps a bit more poppy than his previous efforts. If you listen carefully you can hear a little Coldplay here, a bit of Rhianna there (“Save Your Soul” has a definite Rhianna-esque eh-eh-eh moment) and even some Ed Sheeran troubadour confessionals at the guitar. But tagged at the end are the real bread and butter of Jamie’s craft, the heart and soul of Momentum, the live Abbey Road sessions. This is my Sunday evenings, kicking back with a glass of red in my hand. Old Cole Porter standard “Love For Sale” travels with a “The Way You Make Me Feel” (Michael Jackson) groove. “Pure Imagination” is a slow dance in the middle of the room. “Sad, Sad World” brings in the beautiful Laura Mvula and my hands involuntarily conduct an invisible emotion. When Jamie hits the “let it fall” notes I notice recoiling back, almost pushing away from the power. The most compelling music has a physical reaction.

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