Valentine’s Day: Ten lovely current love songs

Mariah Carey You're Mine Eternal cover

It’s that time of the year again! It’s Valentine’s Day! A romantic day for some couples, a nightmare for some single people out there, but either way it is a good excuse to listen to some great songs about love! I collected ten lovely current love songs for you to enjoy during a romantic date or a night alone.

10. Mariah Carey – You’re Mine (Eternal)
If there is one lady who knows all about all kinds of love songs, it’s Mariah Carey. She performed lots of songs about break-ups and heartache, for example ‘Without You’, ‘We Belong Togeter’ and the recent ‘The Art Of Letting Go’, but she also recorded tons of happy love songs like ‘Always Be My Baby’, ‘Dreamlover’ and ‘#Beautiful (feat. Miguel)’. Now she is back with a song, especially released for Valentine’s Day, called ‘You’re Mine (Eternal)’. It is a traditional R&B ballad which suits Mariah perfectly. The great thing about a Mariah ballad is that you know that there is a huge note about to come in the last chorus and when that moment finally happens, I am a happy man!

09. Annalisa – Tutto Sommato
A song in the lovely Italian language could not be excluded from this list. Annalisa’s ‘Tutto Sommato’ was recently used in the Dutch movie De Toscaanse Bruiloft (The Tuscan Wedding) and it is a very catchy and infectious little track. The upbeat and feelgood vibe of the song matches perfectly with the movie and it instantly gives you butterflies. Annalisa sings that love gives her life and that is exactly what we need to hear today!

08. Miguel – Adorn (feat. Jessie Ware)
Of course duets are probably the most romantic form of songs. Especially the smooth and sweet R&B kind. When making this list, I found out Miguel is a master in this craft. He recorded the lovely ballads ‘PrimeTime’ and ‘#Beautiful’ with Janelle Monáe and Mariah Carey, but he also re-recorded one of his own tracks to make it into a duet. He invited Jessie Ware to add her vocals to his biggest single to date, ‘Adorn’. The result is smooth, sweet and sexy.

07. Coldplay – Atlas
Although Coldplay’s ‘Atlas’ is not really a love song in the most traditional sense, it is one gorgeous track that deserves every recognition it could get. It was featured on the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which worked surprisingly well. But let’s be fair, did anybody every tell you something more romantic than: ‘I’ll carry your world and all your hurt’. No exactly, that is what I thought!

06. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Young Blood
Sophie Ellis-Bextor is back with her new album Wanderlust, that performs pretty well in the UK charts as it already stayed in the album top 10 for three weeks. The leadsingle ‘Young Blood’ is an exceptionally romantic song about growing old together but never losing the feeling of youth, because the other keeps you young. Other than the beautiful lyrics, the song itself sounds sweet and lovely and we hear a whole different side of Sophie’s gorgeous vocals.

05. Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You
Ellie Goulding and her wonderful cover of ‘How Long Will I Love You’ absolutely deserves a place in this list. The lyrics could not be anymore romantic and Goulding’s delivery with her soft and cute voice take this to a whole other level. One could say the song sounds kind of cheesy, but I would like to disagree, because she made this song completely her own and managed to keep the honest sound. And even if it is a little cheesy, it is Valentine’s Day!

04. Beyoncé – Drunk In Love (feat. Jay-Z)
Who said Valentine’s Day always needs to be about romantic things? For Beyoncé and Jay-Z it is probably another hot, steamy and passionate day at their office full of surfboarding and waking up in the kitchen wondering what happened before. And why wouldn’t they? After the fancy dinner by candle light, you might take your date home and that is the point where the sensual and sexy ‘Drunk In Love’ could be helpful as a soundtrack…

03. Clean Bandit – Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)
‘As long as I am with you, there is no place I’d rather be.’ That is quite a romantic statement. And when this statement is packed in such a swinging and catchy track, it is not a surprise that this song performs so exceptionally well. Clean Bandit already charted three weeks on number 1 in the UK and they are coming to take over the rest of Europe and probably the rest of the world. What a tune!

02. Miley Cyrus – Adore You
Who would have thought that the controversial popstar who shocked the world with her twerking to her own track ‘We Can’t Stop’ and riding a wrecking ball naked, would follow those releases up with a stunning ballad about love, called ‘Adore You’. Of course the accompanying video had to be a little naughty, but the song itself is beautiful and Miley’s voice does it absolute justice. Absolutely one of the most beautiful, honest and heartfelt love songs released in the last couple of months.

01. John Legend – All Of Me
I honestly could not think of a song that is more romantic and full of love than John Legend’s ‘All Of Me’. In The Netherlands this song has been a huge hit for quite some time now and I would expect the rest of the world to follow sooner or later. ‘Cause all of me, loves all of you.’ This song just screams to be played at weddings! Melodically the moment he sings ‘my head’s underwater, but I’m breathing fine’ is gorgeous. If this song does not give you Valentine’s Day vibes, I don’t know what will!

The 10 most promising new artists in 2014

As 2014 already started, it is time to take a look at new artists that stand a good chance of having their big breakthrough this year. Of course some artists already started to gain some successes, but these new(ish) artists have in common that 2014 will have to be their year. Check out the 10 most promising new artists that will make 2014 an exciting year in pop!

10. Mapei
Mapei is what you call an international artist. Her father is American, her mother is Liberian and when she was ten she moved to Sweden where she grew up. She has lived in Portugal, Brazil and Tunesia for a while and these different cultural backgrounds are apparent in her music as well. Mapei was mostly active as a rapper in the Swedish underground scene, but with the single ‘Don’t Wait’, released in October, her style changed. The song is soulful, driven by great beats and a guitar riff, and features some baile funk drums. The lyrics about trying not to ruin a friendship or love affair are from the heart. Mapei’s voice sounds warm and a little raspy at times. She is working on an album in a similar style to ‘Don’t Wait’ and I for one cannot wait to hear it!

ALECS, a young new London based artist, will release his debut EP The Fulham Tapes later this month. In December, he already posted the tracks on his Soundcloud page and this sounds surprisingly good. Inspired by artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, ALECS created his own sound, which could be described as electronic, synth heavy, dark R&B mixed with pop. He mixes this sound with great hooks in his choruses which make the tracks somewhat more accessible. He has a great and distinctive sound of voice to top it all off and here’s hoping that we will hear more from him in 2014.

08. Saint Raymond
Saint Raymond had a great year in 2013. Young singer-songwriter Callum Burrows and his band mates released the EP Escapade and toured through Europe with Gabrielle Aplin and Haim. 2014 is off to a good start as well as the single ‘Young Blood’ is released. It is the best Saint Raymond song so far in all its uplifting catchiness. The song has got more than one great hook and it takes the catchy pop/rock they produced on the first EP to another level. The Young Blood EP will be out the 21st of January and it could well be that an album follows later this year.

There is a lot of hype around American electro pop artist BANKS lately. She finished third in the BBC Sound Of 2014 Poll. The Los Angeles born and London based singer gained attention by releasing two EP’s in 2013. In March, she released Fall Over and in September her London EP came out. The singer went on tour with The Weeknd and there are some stylistic similarities in both artists’ music. BANKS’ music can be described as a mix of dark R&B and pop with a heavily electronic twist. Her distinctive vocal style might not be suited for mainstream radio, but it works perfectly on refreshing tracks like ‘Fall Over’ and ‘Waiting Game’. Her style is cohesive, but does not bore at the same time, so a full album could be potentially great!

06. Foxes
Foxes has been working her way up in music for a few years now and in 2013 she had her first international hit with ‘Clarity’, a song by producer and DJ Zedd on which she features. The big dance anthem showcases her beautiful vocals and the singer went on to have another hit in the UK with ‘Youth’, a slightly more alternative and electronic sort of pop song. Foxes will release her debut album Glorious in March and although half of the tracks have already been released (great pop song ‘Echo’ was used as a single, ‘Holding Onto Heaven’ and ‘Shaking Heads’ are already released on iTunes), there is still more to come. She released the video for single ‘Let Go For Tonight’ earlier this week and this huge, catchy, carefree straightforward pop song might bring her the big success she deserves.

05. Hozier
Hozier managed to catch a lot of attention in October last year when he released his single ‘Take Me To Church’ and an accompanying video with a strong message against homophobic violence. The 23-year-old Irish musician released a free EP on his website including the single and three other songs. ‘Take Me To Church’ is a dark song with an ominous atmosphere, but with a big and bright in-your-face chorus at the same time. Hozier impresses with his deep tone of voice that works perfectly with the style of his songs. An album this year would be very much appreciated, thank you very much.

04. Chlöe Howl
The 18-year-old British singer Chlöe Howl is set to release her debut album in 2014. The BBC included her in their long list for The Sound of 2014. Based on the three singles she has released so far she could become one of the most exciting new artists this year. ‘No Strings’, ‘Paper Heart’ and ‘Rumour’ are all catchy up tempo pop tracks with killer choruses. Chlöe’s voice sounds very strong and mature, considering her age and her ability to write songs with sharp and smart lyrics is impressive. In the first months of 2014, Howl will be touring with Ellie Goulding and in June it is time for her to launch her first album!

03. Lea Michele
Although Lea Michele is not really a new face in the entertainment industry, I included her in this list because she is just starting a solo career as a pop artist. Many of you may know her as Rachel in the series Glee, but Michele decided to focus on a music career as well. The singer released the Sia-penned single ‘Cannonball’ in December and that was quite a brilliant power ballad. Along with the pre-orders of her debut album Louder, that will be released on the 4th of March, she premiered the track ‘Battlefield’, also written by Sia. Once again a beautiful ballad. The album features a co-write by Christina Perri as well and I have faith this record will be very, very good.

02. Say Lou Lou
The Swedish/Australian twin sisters of Say Lou Lou (formerly known as Saint Lou Lou) are expected to have a big breakthrough this year. They already made the long list of BBC’s The Sound of 2014. 2013 has been a great year musically for the girls as they released the singles ‘Julian’, ‘Better In The Dark’ and ‘Beloved’. Although ‘Beloved’ is my favourite, it has to be said that all three songs are exceptionally well-written and beautiful. An album full of their dreamy and melodic pop would be great, now wouldn’t it?

01. Tove Lo
Frequent readers of my blog might already realize I am a fan of this Swedish girl and I predict big things for her in the near future. 2014 has to be the year of Tove Lo. She gave us the singles ‘Habits’ and ‘Out Of Mind’ in 2013, which are both no less than brilliant pop songs. With these tracks, she shows she knows how to write great pop choruses and her lyrics are powerful and heartbreaking at the same time. Recently, she announced on Twitter that her new EP is in final stages, so that should see the light of day soon enough. Fun fact: she also co-wrote the track ‘Thousand Needles’ for Lea Michele’s debut album. I am desperate for new Tove Lo songs in my life and so should you!

Single Review: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Young Blood

Sophie Ellis-Bextor Wanderlust album cover

Sophie Ellis-Bextor surprises with change of style on new single

Sophie Ellis-Bextor had her big breakthrough in 2001 when songs like ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Get Over You’ became huge international hits. She immediately created a distinctive style of pop-dance with influences from disco that was all the more recognizable thanks to her polished vocals and gorgeous posh accent. Although she never really met the levels of success of her debut record Read My Lips again, she continued to put out great pop-dance tunes like ‘Catch You’, ‘Me And My Imagination’, Freemasons collaborations ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)’ and ‘Not Giving Up On Love’ with Armin van Buuren. For her new album, Sophie Ellis-Bextor used a completely different approach, which immediately becomes clear after hearing first single ‘Young Blood’.

Sophie’s new single is actually miles away from the up tempo pop-dance sound she is known for. Gone are the big productions and swinging choruses. They made place for a more acoustic sound. ‘Young Blood’ is a ballad about growing old with a partner. The lyrics deal with the idea that although you might get older, love could still keep you young. Sophie sings: “There’ll be a day to take the best of us, but until then you give me young blood”. The lyrics are heartfelt and express a beautiful and meaningful story. Melodically, the chorus is beautiful and the song definitely sounds like something that could work well on the radio. The little choir that joins in on the middle-eight sounds lovely and adds something to the song. On first listen, some people might think it is all a bit too cute and sweet, but ‘Young Blood’ is actually a very interesting and captivating ballad.

Of course it might take a while to get used to this new style by Sophie and her strong dance-pop records will be missed, but with this new song she proves her voice is strong enough to carry a more bare and acoustic sound. It is a brave choice to shake things up completely after years of operating in a style that brought her success. In interviews, she told she had always wanted to make something like the new record. Wanderlust, which will be released in January, will follow the style of ‘Young Blood’ and the singer collaborated with singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt on this whole record. I cannot wait to hear more of this interesting direction Sophie Ellis-Bextor is taking.


Single Recensie: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Young Blood

Sophie Ellis-Bextor verrast met stijlverandering op nieuwe single

Sophie Ellis-Bextor brak in 2001 groots door toen haar singles ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ en ‘Get Over You’ wereldhits werden. Ze wist zichzelf gelijk een geheel eigen stijl aan te meten die bestond uit pop-dance met een vleugje disco. Haar muziek was vooral ook zeer herkenbaar dankzij haar gepolijste vocalen met een prachtig posh accent. Hoewel ze nooit meer het grote succes van haar debuutalbum Read My Lips haalde, bleef ze sterke tracks uitbrengen als ‘Catch You’, ‘Me And My Imagination’, Freemasons samenwerkingen ‘Bittersweet’ en ‘Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)’ en ‘Not Giving Up On Love’ met Armin van Buuren. Voor haar nieuwe album is Sophie Ellis-Bextor echter een compleet nieuwe weg ingeslagen, wat gelijk duidelijk te horen is op de eerste single ‘Young Blood’.

Deze nieuwe single ligt qua sound namelijk mijlenver weg van de pop-dance die ze eerder maakte. De grote producties en swingende refreinen hebben plaatsgemaakt voor een meer stripped down en akoestisch geluid. ‘Young Blood’ is een ballad die gaat over het ouder worden met een partner. De tekst gaat over het idee dat de liefde je jong kan houden, ook al word je ouder. Sophie zingt dan ook: “There’ll be a day to take the best of us, but until then you give me young blood”. De lyrics vertellen een mooi en betekenisvol verhaal dat zeer oprecht overkomt. Het refrein heeft een mooie, meeslepende melodie en het lied zou zeker niet misstaan op de radio. Het koortje dat Sophie bijvalt tijdens de bridge is een mooie toevoeging aan de plaat. Op het eerste gehoor klinkt het lied misschien wat zoet en braafjes, maar het is zeker een eigenzinnige en boeiende ballade.

Het zal natuurlijk even duren voordat al haar fans gewend zijn aan Sophie’s nieuwe stijl en haar sterke popplaten zullen ook zeker worden gemist, maar met dit nieuwe lied laat ze zien dat haar stem ook mooi overeind blijft op een wat stillere en akoestische song. Het is een dappere keuze van Ellis-Bextor om na al die jaren van pop-dance platen het roer even helemaal om te gooien. In interviews vertelde ze al dat ze altijd al eens iets heeft willen maken als het aankomende album. De nieuwe plaat Wanderlust, die in januari verschijnt, zal de stijl van ‘Young Blood’ volgen en de zangeres heeft hiervoor samengewerkt met singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt. Ik kan alvast niet wachten om meer van deze interessante, nieuwe richting van Sophie Ellis-Bextor te horen.