Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Killer Opening Songs (Heartbreaker Part 2 by Alice Russell)

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.

It’s 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.

In 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.

The 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 here).

Comparisons with other more established R’n’B, soul and pop singers are unavoidable. But believe Killer 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.

© 2014

Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 2nd February at 10am (GMT)


16 comments:

  1. She definitely passes my "tingle test." Sounds weird, I know, but if a singer makes my spine tingle, I know he/she is extraordinary. Thanks for the intro to Ms. Russell!

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  2. Buena voz y buen conjunto dinámico.
    Un feliz día.

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  3. She does have a great voice and really gets into it too

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  4. very cool...i like her voice...thanks for pointing me her way..

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  5. thoroughly enjoyed the song...thanks for the intro...jumping over to amazon to see about tagging an album to get soon....

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  6. I enjoyed watching and listening to the video. I confess I hadn't heard of the singer before... she's lovely.

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  7. havn´t heard of her before but I liked her way of singing. :)

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  8. Wow...what a truly amazing voice!
    How COULD I have overlooked her wonderful talent?
    Many thanks for introducing me.:)

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  9. An amazing artist. An amazing song.

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  10. I'm enjoying this one very much. I hadn't heard of her before.

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  11. Linda la canción, la estoy escuchando ahora mismo, saludos.

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  12. Wow! What a voice! I loved it, and the accompaniment, too. Thanks.

    By the way, I also love the picture in your header. Such poetry in motion... such lines. Gorgeous.

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  13. I had no idea she was so cute (looking). I'd heard her music but never pictured her that way. Thanks. K.

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  14. Many thanks for your kind comments. That album is on repeat on my stereo. Really good. Highly recommend it.

    Greetings from London.

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