Having formed just last year, it’s incredible how quickly Magic! is heading towards mainstream success.
It’s easy to see why their first single “Rude” may very well be the “Song of Summer" in 2014. - Written by Nasri Atweh, "Rude" is catchy, melodically interesting, and has all the right "pop elements" for commercial success on mainstream radio. - however, while in the same boat, it exemplifies many of the negative connotations that go with being "Popular" - including shallow lyrics and (future) mass replecation/ re-production - in this sense, it is obvious that “Rude” was written to be a radio hit - as a result, emotional and lyrical substance was backbenched.
Another drawback towards a band like Magic! is the sense of “manufactured uniqueness” -almost gimmickry - it’s as if Magic! is trying to distance themselves from the likes of the Beibers, One Directions, and David Guettas through a Reggae Rock approach. However, the song is interlaced with the very same contemporary back beats and chord proggressions that outlay every single contemporary hit pop song of our era.
At its post-chorus “Rude” seems disjointed and rushed - the “Marry that girl, Marry her anyway...” section just doesn’t seem to fit in the scape of the song. Despite this, the section is masked well by the melodic genius of the “Why you gotta be so rude" Chorus
Bottom line, the lead singer/songwriter Nasri Atweh shows why he is the go-to-guy in Toronto when it comes to writing a hit song - and frankly, why wouldn’t you write one or two for yourself?
All in all, great melody, just lacking lyrical substance.
At the age of 38, it’s hard to pinpoint the reason/s that she hasn’t yet burst into our mainstream airwaves - and with a talent like hers, it really is a shame.
However, there are positives surrounding her apparent reclusion - and that is the sense of privacy that engulfs the listener when listening to Russell. In any given instance, it seems like it’s just Alice Russell and you.
However, her latest studio record -To Dust - strays away from this personal relationship she’s fought so hard to develop over the years - opting instead for a commercialised sound, that very well may push her into the watchful eye of mainstream media.
The interesting thing is that somehow while completely rethinking her sound, she hasn’t lost that (for lack of a better word) “x-factor” that makes her so viscerally exciting to listen to.
Standout tracks include “Heartbreaker”, “Citizens”, and “To Dust”.
Banks’ voice transcends his few years as musician, displaying sometimes the deepest of emotions through the simplest of lyrics and melodies. It’s a wonder how this 21-year old has been able to hone in on a niche that seems far too dead in the popular music of the 21st Century. In that sense, we compare him to Adele, another artist who at 19 was able to grip the audiences heartstrings with one wail or one cry.
The comparison doesn’t stop there - his voice is equally unique, and equally difficult to conquer. Yet his delivery displays a maturity beyond his years, and is able to do so seemlessly.
His vocal tone and musical approach shows snippets of Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Frank Ocean.
A true contender for our Artist of the Year award.