British singer Lulu James has been releasing slinky, sensuous singles for about a year now, with work such as "Be Safe" and "Closer" that is as visually distinct as anyone in the pop world is doing right now. Her latest track, "Sweetest Thing," is certainly memorable on the eyes as well, with a dark backdrop and bright lights to provide contrast, but the record itself is my favorite of hers so far. There's a fluidity to James' songs that gives off a very soulful effect and that side of her is further embraced here and also happens to share a kinship with the electronically hushed atmospheres of mid-1980s R&B along the lines of The Commodores' "Nightshift" and Gregory Abbott's "Shake You Down." There are obviously more modern influences at play here, but whenever I hear James hit those "ohh ahhs" during the chorus, I'm put in the same mind frame of an old Patti LaBelle or Tina Turner ad-lib, circa 1985. By drawing on the past and current trends, "Sweetest Thing" has arrived just in time to provide the perfect soundtrack for that bit of warmth and human company we all long for during the winter months.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
If you're not already aware, I host a weekly music show called Noteworthy every Monday night from 6PM-8PM CT at http://uicradio.org. I play a lot of music on there, naturally, and I also interview artists from time to time. I've been particularly busy the past month and was able to chat with some notable folks, among them Charli XCX, Bettye LaVette and Alice Russell.