Monday, 31 August 2020

Single Review: Wiggles - Ashley Mills Monaghan

Ashley Mills Monaghan is a singer-songwriter, teacher and author from California. Her new single is simply entitled “Wiggles”, and is taken from her forthcoming album Good Times. The song succeeds in blending country music with melodic pop, delivering an upbeat action song exploding with cathartic energy.

The track begins by declaring that ‘it's time for the wiggle dance’, and then bounces along in jolly merriment inviting all comers to join in too.  The message here is clear, feel the music, get dancing and wiggle till you drop.


The lyrics describe a variety of body parts in reverse order, beginning with your toes, and then working backwards towards your head, with each body part taking turns to wiggle to the music.  This call to action comes across like a modern version of "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", no easy feat, but clearly a lot of fun.


The vocals are delivered in true country fashion, with the music perhaps revealing a slight Eagles influence at times. The arrangement is simple but effective, with the drums and bass guitar laying down a pulsating rhythm, leaving space for the acoustic guitar to take centre stage. Another bonus is the song sounds like it uses predominantly live instrumentation, a rare quality these days.


If you like this song, you should also check out the video, which Ashley herself has described as "my gift to families all around the world, a sweet story of how we all came together to make a video in a time where we had to be apart".  The inclusion of a number of hula hoops strategically placed in order to encourage social distancing further illustrates the point.

Ashley Mills Monaghan is an innovative artist, who performs her music with an energy and vitality second to none. Her new single is melodic, interactive and easy to dance to. There really is something for everyone here, whether you’re a parent, teacher, child, or even a senior citizen, such infectious optimism will have you wiggling in no time.


Ashley Mills Monaghan – wiggle, jump and shout.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Single Review: Pluto We Heart You - Claudia Robin Gunn

It doesn't happen very often, but every now and then something particularly special comes along. This is certainly true of "Pluto We Heart You" the new single from Claudia Robin Gunn a singer-songwriter from Auckland, New Zealand.

Clearly on some interplanetary space mission, this song is both delightful and ambitious in all its colourful flavouring. It is taken from her new album Little Wild Universe an extraordinary work of melodic and poetic imagination.

The song begins with a somewhat staccato string arrangement, followed by a hypnotic vocal pattern, where the title Pluto is spelt out in almost Laurie Anderson fashion.  The lead vocal is then delivered with a purity of spirit and a heartfelt delivery that reminded me a little of Suzanne Vega.


The lyrics are dreamy and wistful, tantalising the listener with eloquent descriptions of ‘ice mountains and flowing glaciers’ and ‘blue skies and frozen shorelines'. The vocals effortlessly merge with an array of musical soundscapes and potent harmonies, delicately sprinkled throughout the track.


Towards the end, the artist delivers a genuine sense of time and place, whilst reminiscing over a photograph of Pluto shown to her by a former teacher, ‘beaming back as precious data’ in all its digital glory.  Whether this is a true story or a lyrical construction I guess we may never know.  


I have no prior knowledge of Claudia's influences but I would hazard a guess that if you like Suzanne Vega, The Coors, Brian Eno, The Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel or Kate Bush then you are going to absolutely love this music.  


Claudia Robin Gunn is clearly a major talent. Her new single engages the listener, with intriguing hooks and inspired melodies throughout. The lyrics are superb, and sung with heartfelt resonance and inspired originality. So, if you fancy taking a trip to the stars, then check out this new emerging artist, who is literally out of this world. 


Claudia Robin Gunn – reach for the stars.