The world abounds with young R’n’B wannabes, wrapping their hopes and dreams in a pop-groove and sending their thoughts out into the world to hopefully connect with like-minded individuals. And that is all very well and good but it essentially just perpetuates the tried and tested. More songs about young love, about meeting the one, about finding happiness… blah, blah, blah…after a while it all becomes the sonic equivalent of, at best a Richard Curtis version of pop ambition, at worse a sentiment in a Hallmark greetings card.
Which is why Terry Blade’s latest clutch of musical eggs is such a revelation. It reminds us that there are a lot of dark corners in life, lots of places where we can get lost, where we lose focus, drive and ambition. But also that such things are more normal than we realise…certainly more real than the picture post-card image suggested by most music. And whilst the record is more hopeful than I make things seem, it is a brave starting point to encompass such harsh realities in the first place. But far from bringing the party down, it is such honesty and integrity, such maturity and openness which is the real attraction here. Life is indeed a box of chocolates but some of them don’t taste so sweet.
And the music matches the mood perfectly, sparse, understated and minimalist all of which leaves the voice and the message as the focal point. And what a great voice he has…intimate, conversational, poignant and human… a friend pouring out their thoughts and feelings, the cry for you to shoulder, a voice put to innermost feelings, ones which we have all been troubled with from time to time.
Who else would be brave enough to title songs Unloveable, Widow and quite starkly The Mentally Ill. The current world is all about talking through our problems but perhaps it is when such troubled thoughts are put to music that they gain the biggest traction and the widest audience. A problem shared is a problem halved, so by extension putting your thoughts to music is the ultimate mass debate on such subjects.
Misery, despite its name is more reflective than melancholic, but more importantly it is soulful and soft, and quite cleverly both disarmingly intimate and universally relatable. In a word this is honest. When was the last time you listen to a record and had such a word be your first thought Not for a long time I’d like to bet.