Hallelujah!

Great news, or greatest news ever?

[Siobhan Donaghy] is carrying her trusty laptop, containing work-in-progress from a new musical project; words that will be a comfort to the members of her fanbase who felt a sense of mild panic when she recently announced that she would be taking a sabbatical from the industry. “I feel like I have had that break now” she says, though her relaxed demeanour and self-confessed perfectionism betray the fact that she won’t be rushed.

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Discovering Siobhan Donaghy’s album Ghosts (and then her debut album, Revolution In Me) in 2007 was one of my favorite musical moments in the last few years, so I was gutted to read in January 2009 that she had “no further plans to undertake a record of my own.”

But a new interview with PonyStep (from September 16, 2009, and it includes stunning new photos!) reveals that Siobhan’s fans’ prayers have been answered. A new musical project! I am stoked. There aren’t even any other details about the project out yet, and from the looks of the quote (“she won’t be rushed”) it’ll be some time before we get to hear her new stuff, but I’m just thrilled that she’s back in business.

I think Siobhan is a really special artist. I can’t really explain it, though I tried in my reviews of Ghosts and Revolution In Me. I dunno. All I do know is that I like what I’ve heard, and now I can’t wait to hear more. :)

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Music mix!

Here are a few albums I’ve enjoyed recently that I think are worth a few listens. :)

  • Shiri Maimon is a talented Israeli singer. Her self-titled debut album from 2005 is a solid pop/rock effort that features some lovely ballads amid the more uptempo tracks. My fave songs are “Ahava Ktana,” “Le’an Shelo Telchi,” and “Otcha” – so keep an ear out for those if you check this album out!
  • The Divine Comedy (1994) is a neat electronic folk album from Milla Jovovich, who is best known as a model and actress. As it turns out, she’s talented in the music department too! The songs have a cool otherworldly feel without being silly, and Milla has an interesting voice. I hope she returns to music at some point!
  • Perfect for chilling out on a lazy afternoon, Raphael’s Caravane (2005) is a collection of beautiful French pop/rock songs. The title track is simply gorgeous, and the rest of the songs aren’t too shabby, either!
  • Kula Shaker are a fantastic 60s-inspired band and Kollected (2002) is a great intro to their psychedelic sound! Make sure you listen to “Tattva,” “Dance In Your Shadow,” “Govinda,” and the Bob Dylan cover “Ballad Of A Thin Man”!
  • I’m currently in an electro kind of mood and a compilation called Kitsuné BoomBox (2007) sure hits the spot! Heavy beats and explosive synths abound here – and it’s all kicked off by a great remix of my girl Siobhan Donaghy’s “Don’t Give It Up”! This is a fantastic compilation, so check it out if electro/house is your thing!
  • One more set of French songs for ya! Francoise Hardy is the queen of too-cool-for-school 60s French chanson/pop. The Vogue Years (2001) is a collection of the tracks she recorded while with the Vogue label in the 1960s. My faves here are “Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles,” “Je N’attends Plus Personne,” “Mon Amie La Rose,”and “Non Ce N’est Pas Un Reve” – but every track is a piece of perfect 60s pop.

Siobhan Donaghy – Revolution in Me (2003)

454841Siobhan Donaghy is an oddity in the music world today. Most young stars in their early 20s (Siobhan is 23) are off boozing and flashing their rude bits at the paparazzi – there’s no sincerity in the music they make. It’s not something you can define, but Siobhan is a genuine artist – you need only to listen to her music to hear the detail and dedication that goes into it. Plus her music deals with deeper subject matter than getting down on the dance floor. Nothing wrong with songs about getting down on the dance floor, but sometimes you need a little something of substance, too.

Siobhan Donaghy’s first solo album after leaving the Sugababes, Revolution In Me is a solid, refreshing debut. “Nothing But Song” is a bluesy opening number with excellent production and instrumentation that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Man Without Friends” keeps the blues vibe going with some twangy guitars, great melody, and heavy beat. “Overrated”, the first single from the album, is an angsty, guitar-based mid-tempo rocker with some neat, flippant lyrics (“Well, I don’t know, do you?”).

image+954The dark, downtempo “Little Bits” comes next, and so far is the best of a great bunch of songs. A lovely melody and deep bass give this song something special. The album goes from great track to great track – “As You Like It” and its killer chorus is bound to get stuck in your head. The catchy “XY” wonders why we can’t all just get along amidst hip-hop-lite production. “Suasex” begins with some reversed dialogue and it all sounds rather wonderfully strange – a forerunner of the sound of Ghosts.

Second single “Twist of Fate” is a classic low-key pop/rock tune, followed by the reggae-tinged “Faces.” “Dialect” has some nifty bass and guitars going on, and then when you add Siobhan’s expressive vocals, you’ve got yourself one cool song. After that heavy, almost industrial song, comes “Revolution in Me.” Lovely strings and atmospheric production details give this song a dreamy feel. Jangling guitars and lyrics mentioning paradoxes and turkeys close the album in “Iodine.” I imagine that this would be a great sing-along song at a live performance – the song has a great chorus and lots of energy.

The only bad thing about this album and Ghosts is that they’re so good, you want more – but Siobhan is currently on tour as Mimi in Rent, so no new Shiv tunes for awhile. If you’re wondering why I’m waxing rhapsodic about Siobhan, do yourself a favor and check out some of her music. Revolution In Me is a good place to start. :)

Siobhan Donaghy’s GHOSTS released!

untitledSiobhan Donaghy’s eagerly anticipated second album Ghosts has finally been released. If you like good music, or if you’re one of the many (myself included) who checked the album out when it leaked, you really should buy this album – either download it from an online store (like iTunes or 7digital) or pick it up at your favorite music store.

I don’t know when/if Ghosts is going to be released in the USA (it’s not on the US iTunes as yet), but if you’re a Yank like me itching to hear this fantastic album, you can buy and download it at 7digital. You can pick it up at their main store or Siobhan’s official 7digital download space.

It’s a win-win situation, buying Ghosts – you’re supporting a great artist, and you get some wonderful tunes in return! Go forth and purchase! ;)

Siobhán Donaghy – Ghosts (2007)

untitled88I’d heard about this Siobhán Donaghy person for awhile on music forums and blogs before I decided to check her music out. It was when I read a review of her forthcoming album Ghosts that posited that she was the ‘new Kate Bush’ that I decided I must check Siobhán out.

It turns out she’s kind of amazing.

I can’t overemphasize how much I enjoy listening to Siobhán’s vocals – she sings in a way that makes you stop and just want to listen to whatever she’s singing about. Her clear, pretty tone is accentuated by great instrumental arrangements and production by James Sanger (who has worked with Dido, U2, and Keane).

This album is going to be one of the best of 2007, even if it doesn’t achieve great commercial success. Artistically and creatively, the album succeeds, and I do hope that it does well because more people should be listening to good music. :)

Ghosts_coverTrack by track:
Don’t Give It Up: The chilled beat and electronic touches of this song are infectious. Siobhán delivers the lyrics in such a refreshing and engaging vocal that lines that talk of such things as “this total ache” are more hopeful and optimistic than melancholic. The chorus brings that spirit of hope to the fore with uplifting strings and Siobhán’s beautiful vocals imploring us to not “give it up” because “we all have the scars to show.” A great start to the album.

So You Say: I have to admit, this song had to grow on me. But once it did, I loved it. Strings, guitars, and a leisurely beat play throughout the verses and build to the chorus, which has a heavier drum beat and a bright vocal from Siobhán. It may be a bit long at 4:19 and might have benefited from some trimming to leave it under the 4 minute mark (it’s a great song but seems to drag on a bit toward the end), but that’s a small nitpick for an otherwise nifty song.

There’s A Place: This is the one track on the album that I just can’t seem to get into, no matter how many times I listen to it. It’s pretty, to be sure, and pleasant enough – but as much as I love Siobhán’s vocals, they’re a bit… screechy in parts here. Still, I sometimes find myself getting bits of the song stuck in my head, so maybe there’s hope for me liking this song yet. ;)

Sometimes: Ah, here we go, back on form. Great vocal flourishes with a more up-tempo beat make this a lovely little tune. As I sit here trying to think of a word to describe this song, the only one that rings true is “glorious.” I think that suits the song perfectly. :)

12 Bar Acid Blues: I like this one a lot, but it doesn’t really gel with the rest of the album. (In contrast, even though I’m not too fond of ‘There’s A Place,’ it’s sound still works with the rest of the tracks.) ’12 Bar Acid Blues,’ a bluesy but strongly pop-infused song, might have made more sense as a B-side. It’s a fun song, but musically it is almost too ‘safe’ for this album!

Make It Right: I love this song. I find myself swaying from side to side and singing along when listening to it. I can’t quite explain why it’s such a great song, but it just works, you know?

Coming Up For Air: The intro to this song is reminiscent of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ – ambient touches and a ‘dark’ atmosphere. This leads into a down-tempo groove with lyrics that, I’m guessing, give an insight to the period in her life when she was diagnosed and suffering from clinical depression. The song is ultimately one of strength and determination.

Goldfish: I adore the chorus of this song; the melody is so pretty and I love the piano/keyboard/synth. Whatever it is, it sounds great. The whole song is beautiful and if you give it a chance, you will fall under its spell.

Medevac: This seems to be the song a lot of people are talking about, and for very good reason. It’s quite brilliant. The pulsing synths and pounding bass underline the desperation in Siobhán’s voice. It’s an intense song with Kate Bush overtones (the line ‘if only you could wrap me up’ and the way it’s sung may be a nod to Kate’s genius ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’), which means that I absolutely love this song. The stand-out track of the album.

Halcyon Days: On my first listen to the album, this track stood out to me, and I thought it may end up being my favorite track. It did. :) The chorus is gorgeous and the whole track has a dream-like vibe. The vocals are played with in parts (‘it’s tender to behold’) and Siobhán’s voice is downright ethereal. Simply excellent.

Ghosts: This is probably my second-favorite song from the album (‘Medevac’ is the third, for those keeping track!). The vocals are reversed. I guess. I have no idea what is going on in this song, and I love that. This is the most daring, inventive track on the album and while it might not be radio-friendly, who cares? It’s a sublime conclusion to a sublime album.

Be sure to buy it when it is released on June 25!!