October 30, 2017
Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe. All my Songs of the Week are featured on my Top of the Poptastic playlist, along with the rest of my faves from 2017.
One of the best gigs I’ve been to this year was an intimate show by country singer Cam at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, where she performed for over two hours and told the stories behind her songs. Not every artist would be able to carry this off, especially after only one album, but like most country girls Cam has a fun personality and a natural talent that shines in a stripped back setting. Her debut album Untamed was a hit in the US in 2015, led by breakthrough single Burning House (though my favourite track was the sweet and moving Village). She made that album with Jeff Bhasker, Harry Styles’ main collaborator, and I could definitely see musical similarities in their country-meets-classic singer-songwriter style. Cam worked with Jeff again on her forthcoming second album, and the lead single Diane was released last Friday. It’s an upbeat track with a very full, uplifting sound, layered a capella harmonies, rousing riffs and a strong melody. Lyrically, Cam sees it as a response to Dolly Parton’s Jolene, written from the perspective of “the other woman,” who didn’t know she was having an affair with a married man. I have high hopes for Cam’s debut album, and so far I’m not disappointed!
January 4, 2016
Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
I spent the Christmas holidays listening to two very different albums: Art Angels by Grimes and Untamed by Cam. Both highly enjoyable, the former is obnoxious and ridiculous, while the latter is classy and uplifting. The songs on Untamed show many of the different sides of current country-pop, from the sassy Country Ain’t Never Been Pretty to the jaunty sing-along Hungover on Heartache. It was one of the album’s more sombre moments that recently gave Cam her breakout hit in the US, Burning House, but it’s another ballad that became an instant favourite on my first listen. Village is a sweet, heartfelt message of support from Cam to her childhood best friend, Claire, at a time of tragedy in her life. One of the reasons I enjoy country-pop is the specificity of the lyrics, the vivid imagery and the original way of expressing popular themes. Village is a great example of this. Just don’t listen to it if you’re feeling emotional!