here they are:
"Fools' Gold" by Fitz and The Tantrums: No foolin'! This song somehow sounds old and new at the same time! Those "Be My Baby"-style hand claps at the beginning and its initial vintage R & B style keyboard sound make it sound like a song from the '60s, yet as the hand claps fade away and the synthesizer changes from authentic soul to more artificial new wave, it doesn't sound that different from your typical Top 40 hit. I honestly have mixed feelings about this song (and their sophomore record overall, really). Fitz and The Tantrums' shift in sound from Motown revival for their debut to more straight up alt-pop for their follow-up isn't entirely a bad thing, as it has resulted in the infectiously catchy whistling of "The Walker", the equally infectiously catchy beats of "Out of My League", and even the soul-meets-new-wave sound of "6am". Four singles from one album is an impressive feat to brag about in this day and age, but FATT were fools to make "Fools' Gold" sound as spruced up for Top 40 radio as they did. This song will probably grow on me later on, though, as many of their songs have.
"Half the City" by St. Paul and The Broken Bones: And here is yet another band who started off being a "soul revival" band. Thankfully, St. Paul and the Broken Bones have only had one album so far, so I'm hoping they continue to stick with their sound, because I like what I've heard from them so far! For their latest song, "Half the City", they mix Al Green influenced vocals and rhythm with crunchy, blues-y guitars that wouldn't sound too out of place in one of the more soulful songs in The Rolling Stones' catalog. In contrast with Fitz and The Tantrums' image as a "neo-soul" band fading away, St. Paul and The Broken Bones seem like the type of group that will probably slather on even more old school soul influences if they come out with another album. Tell me you don't detect hints of Al Green, Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding (among others) in this song!!
"Strong" by London Grammar: It's tempting to dismiss this song as a "Florence and The Machine ripoff", except this song has a sound all its own!! It is equally as haunting and emotional, if not more so, than Florence's material. This song does what Goo Goo Dolls' "Naked" did almost two decades ago, lyrically, by exposing the most raw, vulnerable part of the emotional psyche in the lyrics, albeit using a soft, angelic sound, instead of a more raw, grungy one like The Goos did. The title of this song only indicates what the lead singer appears to be on the outside. There is a much deeper story to be told upon actually listening to the song!!