Is There A Substitute For A Good Single?
There always is one, the question is whether it is a good one..
“Substitute your lies for fact
I loo all white, but my dad is black
My fine looking suit is really made of sack” (The Who, ‘Substitute’)
Maybe, as the Genius site notes, ‘Substitute,’ The Who’s 1966 single, from where the above lyric lines come from, had ‘a simple’ intention. The story goes that Pete Townshend was inspired by Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears”, particularly the line, “Although she may be cute/She’s just a substitute”, and wanted “to celebrate the word with a song all its own.”
Fine, but, the above lyrics ring more than one meaning these days, fake news included.
But what about fake, or can we say substitute music? These days, when big record companies say good single, they mean the one with the largest number of clicks or playlist inclusions, or something similar. To get there, you substitute personal creativity with notes and rhythmic patterns algorithms say will work with the largest number of people that will go for a certain, almost niche-like defined genre. A suit made out of algorithms, or a sack, as Daltrey sings here. How about something with a bit more of a personal inventiveness?
Delyn Grey - Daddy’s Love
Toronto’s Delyn Grey is all talent, no substitute elements on this one, or the singles and EP’s she’s come up with so far. One of the more extraordinary younger vocalists to emerge recently. Delyn's goal: "I want to make music that's fearless. I don't want people to hear it and think I played it safe. My art wants purpose and I work hard to serve that. I work equally as hard to find purpose in my art." Works are, for sure.
Vassilina - Atihisame
Another emerging talent, this time from a Greek artist residing in London, relying more on personal talent and wits than on set out formulas. Again, some dark overtones in this shoegaze/dream/pop tune boast a very intriguing arrangement.
Jef Maarawi - Senna
Another Greek connection here, as Jef is of a mixed Greek/Brazilian heritage. The latter is quite evident since Maarawi connects the late Brazilian Formula 1 legend, Airton Senna, with his personal visions of Brazil in the manner a good singer-songwriter should do it. And he does.
Rachika Nayar - Clarity
From Nayar’s EP ‘Fragments’ comes this brilliant sonic miniature reminiscent of Michael Rother, Krautrock maestro from the seventies heyday of that genre. It is part of an ongoing series of music recorded beyond but inspired by the imaginative efforts of Commend, RVNG's Lower East Side space and storefront of the past six years, as the promo blurb says. Works without the blurb, anyway.
Pram of Dogs - BMV I
Another excellent brief ambient piece, this time around combining subtle electronics and wordless vocals. Whoever is behind this project is certainly very much in love with the masters of cinema/TV soundtracks such as Ennio Morricone and Angelo Badalamenti. And rightly so. Looking at the masters, referencing, but not copying. No substitutes here either.
Nina Savary - That Is Just The Way I Want It To Be
French singer/songwriter Nina Salary is yet another great voice that obviously does not like to stick to any pre-set formulas. This is another taster from the forthcoming autumn release of her album ’Not Level Soap Opera’. Based on this one, I don’t know about the second part of the album’s title, but it is certainly next level.