If you’ve been following the Indoob for the greater part of the year thus far, you would know that I’m always on the look out for music that sounds as though it belonged to a previous era, like the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A particular soul and/or funk sound that I would probably trade the Internet for in order to literally go back in time to enjoy it first hand. I think that would also mean I’d have to experience polyester and bell bottoms… but its okay. I’m sure I could rock them well. At least my hair would be ready too.
I first heard about Melanie Fiona last year while she was still, uh “new.” I saw her perform on Carson Daly’s late night show and kept telling myself “write down her name.” Sad to say, I never did and I forgot. I loved what I heard and saw, and wanted more but couldn’t remember her name.
But thanks to Amazon.com recommendations and a special shout out to an old high school friend, Sara, who apparently has a cool gig at a radio station. A couple weeks ago, during my search for new music, I was at a crossroads narrowing down artists and who I would spend my money on. Sara said some good things about Melanie Fiona which pretty much solidified the vote, and I’m here to say that I agree. So thanks again, Sara.
So what’s so great about Fiona? Well her voice, most importantly. This is what singing should sound like. Her voice doesn’t sound the same in every song, in a word: versatility. A more dramatic example would be hearing the difference in Maxwell’s voice when he sings “Pretty Wings.” But I’m gonna get lost on a tangent talking about him so let’s stop while we’re ahead. But voice is important to me. If I hear your song on the radio, I don’t want to question: “Is that so-and-so… or so-so-and-so?” My favorite artists stand out, and have a very recognizable voice. Yet I’m still not quite a Macy Gray fan. I’m just saying, maybe not my style.
But speaking of style, she’s definitely of the “old school” variety. I think you can tell when some of these singers (and songwriters) grow up listening to the sounds of yesteryear. Not only do they sing like they belong on a 60’s stage, but their band sounds that way too. I really think it has to do with the use of horns, among other instruments, and a particular beat. While I don’t really like to compare, the first time I listened to her album, it reminded me of Solange Knowels, which isn’t really a bad thing, but I like Melanie better. No offense.
A few of her songs are more contemporary, and actually a few of them go along more towards the reggae side. I’m not hating on that whatsoever. I’m a fan of Bob Marley, so how can I? These songs aren’t my favorite, but I’m not likely to skip over them either.
The songs that seem to get the heaviest rotation are “Johnny” and “Walk on By.” These are the songs that have that retro feel that I love. These songs are fast, fun, and tell an interesting story. Not necessarily happy stories, but storytelling nonetheless is another thing I love in music. By the way, “Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby)” sounds like a song stolen from the Supremes, and that gets two thumbs up from me. And how can I not mention “Give It to Me Right” which has an excellent sample from The Zombies “Time of the Season.” I love that song. In fact, I think I will possibly rewrite a scene in a screenplay I’ve been working on and change The Zombies song into Fiona’s song. Maybe. “Monday Morning” gets a lot of repeats too.
Going back to Maxwell for a second, she is touring with him at certain locations. Check out Maxwell’s site (www.musze.com) for more info. If they were coming to my town, I would’ve had my ticket yesterday ago. And actually, Maxwell is coming to my area with Jill Scott. I have nothing against her, but I’m not as interested in seeing her as I am in seeing Melanie. The irony is, even now, I have yet to watch any of Melanie’s music videos. I know there are a few out there. But sooner than later that will change.