How NOT to write about music – 52. Dori Freeman

Dori Freeman

“One day she went away and didn’t come back. She died or vanished somewhere, in one of the Labour Camps. A nameless number on a list that was afterwards mislaid.” (Yevgraf Zhivago, Dr Zhivago)

Nice of you to drop by. Makes me think you care somehow. Thank goodness that all life comes to an end, right? Means that, sooner rather than later, our hopes and dreams and loves and heartaches and addictions and tears and children will come to nothing – nameless numbers on lists that afterwards are mislaid and then forgotten until the very concept of writing numbers on lists is bereft of meaning, whether it’s in our children’s lifetime or a thousand years later, doesn’t matter. There is nothing to look forward to, just the Void.

It’s lonely this evening, isn’t it? Children are at their grandparents instead of their regular weekly stopover, the house is chilly and drafty, no sound of laughter or fighting or TV blaring.

The second half of Dr Zhivago has just finished playing in the old man’s TV.

Man, that’s some cheery movie.

Here. Have some sweet melancholy to tide you over. Beautiful voice, beautiful arrangements. There is something a touch of Elvis Costello’s (slightly misguided) country album Almost Blue about this, but we do not hold this against Ms Freeman. Indeed we appreciate Ms Freeman all the more for it. Nostalgia, tinted with regret, tinted with warm melancholy, tinted with an appreciation for a job well done. Not too shabby. Slightly nasal. In a good way. She feels like she’d be someone it would be nice to share a few minutes with, have a few laughs with, move on after and catch a train back to Nowhere. The void. When the song finishes, there is a palpable feeling of loss.

Does not solve the problem of the cold or the heartbreak or isolation, but what does?


How NOT to write about music – 47. Anna St. Louis

Anna St Louis

So. Anna St. Louis. I like this song. I like this performance. I do not know if she is one of my people but these days such a description is so limiting I do not worry about it. She has been compared to Kevin Morby, who sounds like a dreary Leonard Cohen to me. Anna St. Louis does not sound dreary to me. She’s been compared to Dori Freeman, who is way WAY better. (So good in fact that now I cannot stop listening to her.) The comparison seems odd, though. The two ladies do not have so much in common, beyond their genre, I mean gender, and the fact they both play music.

But that’s just me. Not you.

My journey is increasingly leading me towards the mainstream.

I have no objection, I like the feeling of being buffeted and bounced around by forces over which I have no control. I relinquished control a long time back, somewhere around the point my personal life disintegrated, and have no desire to grasp it back any time soon. Or maybe I have? Maybe the winds and tides will shortly buffet me back into a position where I can once more contribute to, and help shape, the dialogue. Right now, though I am a consumer and little more, making the odd piece of tangential commentary and pretending it has value. It’s all good. it’s all good. I am part of the adult world now, no room for the outsider. I suffer from retrophobia which is partly why my focus is so much on the pop charts these days – if I write about something new or novel to others, there is a suspicion it is not new or novel to me. Ariana Grande, though. She is both new and novel to me.

I was the first person in the UK to interview Mazzy Star, you know (and I interviewed them three times in one year) (and they were not good interviews, my fault mainly) (and there is no point to this observation).