She might be on the petite side body-wise, but when it comes to her pipes, man, her pipes speak for themselves! Of course Killer Opening Songs is referring to one of the most remarkable British soul artists in recent times: Alice Russell.
true that Russell is not as widely known as she should be but that’s the fickle
pop world for you. Luckily, she can always count on a loyal army of followers
who continue to buy her records and enjoy her brand of booming, eclectic soul.
fact when it comes to defining Alice’s music, it is hard to pigeon-hole it,
which is the way it should be if you ask K.O.S. Whether accompanied by a big
band or playing an “unplugged” session, Russell’s voice always sounds fresh and
commands attention. Her fifth album ToDust is no different and that is partly thanks to the Killer Opening Song Heartbreaker Part 2 (funnily enough,
this is the sequel to the track called simply Heartbreaker, which appears one song after. Convention-breaker, moi?). Wonderfully delivered vocals by
Russell over a sparse Prince-like guitar, is what renders Heartbreaker Part 2 its melodic and funky power. The tempo is up
and the bass hook is magnetic. The lyrics are simple but carry a strong
message, especially the chorus: “If a broken heart is what you give/then a
broken heart is what you get/if a broken heart is what you give/remember, then,
a broken heart is what you get”. This is the sort of song that makes
you want to get up and dance.
rest of the album continues in the same vein. Alice Russell is a singer who can
deliver in any style. She can do hands-in-the-air-and-sway-with-your-eyes-closed-like-there’s-no-tomorrow
as in the title track (another excellent, furious, driving bassline), or she
can slow the tempo right down and give you a thoughtful little number like I Loved You (great acoustic version
with other more established R’n’B, soul and pop singers are unavoidable. But believe
Opening Songs when it tells you that the Essex-born, diminutive singer
is a force of nature in and of herself. You will not find any yodelling à la Mariah Carey (what happened to the
young woman who captivated K.O.S. with “Vision of Love” in the early 90s?) in any of her records. Her approach
is more like a veteran all-rounder who knows exactly which buttons to press and
when to take the listener to the bridge. Should she take ‘em to the bridge? Oh,you bet, Bobby, you bet! And it’s all thanks to that Killer Opening Song.
Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and
Music”, to be published on Sunday 2nd February at 10am (GMT)