If you were to ask anyone who knows me personally what some of my major interests are, they will always tell you music. I started piano lessons at the age of three and continued for thirteen years before picking up guitar as well. I’ve always loved my family’s yearly trip to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), and my interest and diversity in music taste and study bloomed upon coming to college. Being surrounded by so many different personalities at school also means being surrounded by many varieties of music and learning more about different tastes.
I’m not a music major, and I don’t believe that I’ve been properly taught about music theory; however, I know that at the least I am a music enthusiast. I believe in the power of music, its deeper meaning, and its ability to change lives. I thought it was only right that I share with you some of this great diversity of music in my collection in this new series of articles I’m beginning. At the very least, I hope you give my top five track recommendations from these artists a chance.
I discovered Paloma Faith in eighth grade after listening to her hit track "Picking Up the Pieces" off her "Fall to Grace" album. I was intrigued by her interesting voice and how it hadn’t been what I expected when I first saw her appearance. She appears to move her lips in a different shape to manipulate the tone of her voice. Most of her tracks include a large orchestra rich in theatrics with barely any or no synthesized music. A large majority of her music also carries a disco-rock noise and reminds some listeners of Amy Winehouse, who she wrote a track about in her recently released fourth album.
The English artist inserts significance into the placement and choice of every word in her music. From beginning to end, listeners can find relatability in every track. Every album’s track lineup tells a story, and listeners can find references in certain songs to other tracks as well. Her most recently released album, "The Architect," which was released on November 17th, 2017, was announced before followers were able to hear the title track that was not previously released as a single. "Who is The Architect?" was the question that loomed over Faith’s music until the release. Although it was commonly thought to be a religious reference to a Godlike figure, upon listening to the track, The Architect was revealed to be an individual recognizing their power to design their own destiny, a large, reoccurring theme in Faith’s music.
A single from her latest album, "Guilty" is about the admission of guilt and the feelings that come with it. When I first began listening to this track, the first wave of emotion I feel is guilt. It is the burden of failure and confrontation, but as the song continues that wave of emotion changes into almost a sense of owning the guilt. By owning up to our wrongdoings, we become more powerful in our new actions and stronger in our identity.
Paloma Faith took a more political inspiration when writing the song, which followed shortly after the Brexit decision; however, she wanted the song to be applicable in any situation where an individual was finally acknowledging and confronting their guilt.
In "Warrior," another song off her latest album, the tone emits self-reflection. Each verse ends with a grouping of three lines that consist of the first of doubt, the second of encouragement, and the third of reaffirmation. In addition to that, Faith also alludes to two other tracks of hers, the first of which is "Black & Blue" off of her "Fall to Grace" album. The second allusion is to "Surrender," which directly proceeds "Warrior" in "The Architect." As spoken about earlier, Faith’s albums often follow a storyline, and it can be presumed that "Warrior" is supposed to be directly correlated to "Surrender."
Although she has yet to create a music video for this track, I often envision "Warrior" as Paloma Faith in chain-link armor after the battle is over in foggy green hills. After getting a feel for her style through her music and watching her official videos, it isn’t Paloma if it isn’t extraordinarily theatrical.
*I also personally hold this as my favorite Paloma Faith track of all time for its relevance to my personal life as well as an interest I have in the theme of "warrior."
3. "Just Be"
I’ve been told by many of my friends and family who I’ve shared this artist with that this is a favorite track of theirs. It may be hard to believe by looking at the lyrics alone, but "Just Be" is a love-song. Without looking deeper into the music, it appears that these two people hold resentment and contempt for each other and that they are in an unhealthy relationship. Instead, this is a couple who consciously knows that they are in love and that these small arguments and little things that drive them insane are only waves to pass. Their relationship is better than all those little things. The lyrics of "Just Be" resemble wedding vows in their delivery and promise, promising to "just be" forever while the melody of a single piano plays.
If you haven’t listened to this track just yet, I recommend that you start off with the album’s intro "Evolution" featuring Samuel L. Jackson that precedes "The Architect" on the album. As spoken about previously, "The Architect" talks about an individual regaining control and recognizing the power they have over their own life. They have the ability to change their perspective on their past, present, and future. The song includes some medieval and symbolic references such as "raising my huntsman" and "casting my spell." The music alone inspires power and ownership.
If nothing else, Paloma Faith’s showcase of vocal ability cannot be denied in this hit single from the album "A Perfect Contradiction." A rarity in her music is the intense repetition found in most top tracks today, which is a quality that sets her music apart from the crowd; however in "Only Love Can Hurt Like This," she makes an exception.
As with all of Faith’s tracks and music in general, its interpretation is unique to each individual. "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" can be viewed as a toxic relationship where the individual is disillusioned into thinking it is love. It could also be about a very independent individual whose independence is being challenged by falling in love. As a third interpretation, "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" might be the individual realizing that only true love could cause a pain this deep.