LxListening: That Classic R&B Sound

irma thomas

I was recently watching a BBC show called Black Mirror, which is kind of like a modern Twilight Zone centered around the theme of advances in technology.  The show is great itself, but where it becomes relevant to our little neck of the web is the song it introduced to me in its second episode.  Each episode is a self-contained morality tale, and the second episode centers around a future world where the vast majority of the population rides stationary bikes to power the imagined future world.  A small subsection of the population are television personalities similar to Stanley Tucci’s character in The Hunger Games.  Citizens of this future world can enter American Idol-like contests to achieve celebrity of many sorts.  I won’t give away the rest of the episode, but just want to give a strong recommendation for anyone with an imagination to check it out.  And most importantly, the program introduced me to the first song on this list.  Enjoy and happy Friday.

Jessica Brown Findlay – “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)”

I was debating whether to include the original Irma Thomas version of this track or the version from Black Mirror and decided on the version from Black Mirror.  Jessica Brown Findlay’s version is kind of like Lily Allen singing Irma Thomas, giving it that sultry British thing that so many singers from across the pond pull off so well.

Lily Allen – “Smile”

Speaking of Lily Allen, I think the British songstress has received short thrift on LxL, mostly due to “what have you done for me lately syndrome” (she hasn’t released an album since 2009).  Her first big single, the R&B-tinged “Smile”, took what was going on in R&B music and gave it a little more snark and truth.  Here’s to hoping Allen becomes relevant again soon.

Cults – “You Know What I Mean”

The Cults oft-overlooked track off their self-titled debut, “You Know What I Mean”, is what “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” immediately reminded me of.  It’s a pretty simple tune, highlighted by the vocals piercing through the instrumentals with a purity not often seen.

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One thought on “LxListening: That Classic R&B Sound”

  1. Black Mirror is amazing! Charlie Brooker is a warped genius, but he clearly knows how to dissect modern culture. “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” is a mad, gentle contrast to the darkness of the show.

    Good shout!

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