Tracks of the week Reviewed : Arlo Parks, Fredo and Celeste

Arlo Parks - Hope

Hope” features on Arlo Parks’ highly anticipated debut album “Collapsed in Sunbeams” which displays her incredible songwriting ability and touches on themes of love,loss and jealousy amongst a host of other topics, as Arlo is able to transcend her listeners into an emotive vacuum through her captivating lyriciscm.

Hope” details the story of a character called Millie who feels trapped and secluded. Elements such as isolation and insecurity are prevelenant in this track and the chorus then moves to almost act as a rebuttal from Arlo to the protagonist by comforting her as she goes on to state “You're not alone like you think you are / You're not alone like you think you are / We all have scars, I know it's hard / You're not alone, you're not alone / You're not alone like you think you are / You're not alone like you think you are / We all have scars, I know it's hard / You're not alone, you're not alone”.

Arlo discussed “Hope” in an interview with Matt Wilkinson for Apple Music where she highlighted that Lockdown and the pandemic had a great impact on her choice of words as she went on to say “This song is about a friend of mine—but also explores that universal idea of being stuck inside, feeling depressed, isolated and alone, and being ashamed of feeling that way, too. It’s strange how serendipitous a lot of themes have proved as we go through the pandemic. That sense of shame is present in the verses, so I wanted the chorus to be this rallying cry. I imagined a room full of people at a show who maybe had felt alone at some point in their lives singing together as this collective cry so they could look around and realise they’re not alone. I wanted to also have the little spoken-word breakdown, just as a moment to bring me closer to the listener. As if I’m on the other side of a phone call.

The jazz infused production perfectly compliments Arlo’s soft spoken nature as the foundational piano melody combines incredibly well with the bass drum and cymbal pattern to create a relaxed and reflective sonic environment. Echoed guitar riffs feature also and are most prominent within the chorus to help cement a thoroughly well produced body of work.

Fredo - Blood In My Eyes

Blood In My Eyes” appears on Fredo’s newly released studio album “Money Can’t Buy Happiness” and features —Summer Walker, Pop Smoke, Young Adz and Dave. The latter of whom executively produced the album.

This track felt like a reflective piece of work by Fredo and in 4 minutes and 9 seconds of air time he touched on a variety of topics such as his street identity, his growing disillusions with accruing wealth and the friends he misses. The following lines highlight these thoughts “It took money for me to finally see / That the best things in life are for free / I'll give all the shit I have / Just to bring all my niggas back”. Before the concluding chorus Fredo questions life’s trade-offs with the stronghold financial incentives have previously had seeming to hold less importance “How you want me to spend money and time / When I only get one in this life?” The thought provoking and pensive nature of the lyricism was reflected in the production as the soft hums in the background created a very calm and sombre environment. This was intersped with claps, hi hats and a pitched synth. Later piano melodies helped to power home the thoughtful sentiments evident within Fredo’s words.

Celeste - Tonight Tonight

Tonight Tonight” features on Celeste’s debut album “Not Your Muse”. This album includes many of her popular singles such as “Love Is Back” , “Strange” and the John Lewis Christmas anthem “A Little Love”. The album is split into 2 sections with the latter comprising of many songs from her Single’s compilation project “Compilation 1.1

Celeste disclosed the main message behind the lyricism in an interview interview with Apple Music where she went on to state “When I first started hanging out with the man who’s my boyfriend now, we’d both be working during the day, so by the time we got to see each other, it’d be late. All of this romance would occur in the night. This song was just what I wanted to say at the time.” The longing for her partner is best reflected within the chorus “Tonight, tonight / You're the place I go to / Tonight, tonight / The face I tell it all to / Tonight, tonight / I just wanna hold you / Tonight, tonight / Tonight, tonight

The production within this track is its major strength as its layering is almost built for live performance. There is heavy utilisation of the conventional drum kit as the bass drum, snare drum and cymbals feature prominently throughout. Soft violins and percussion are also used to help create a track that oscillates between up tempo and brooding emotive spaces.