Monday, 24 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Josh Barry


Having been involved in the judging process of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition for a number of years now I’m occasionally asked by artists and bands who have already developed their careers a little bit if I think they are too far advanced with what they are doing to enter the competition. 

The reason for this question is that there is a misapprehension that the Emerging Talent Competition is only for bedroom artists who have never released anything, never played a live show or already developed their careers in any way. Whilst the competition does have rules about who can and can’t enter (for example if you are signed to a major label, clearly the Emerging Talent Competition isn’t for you) there are many artists out there who may already have some experience, but are still considered emerging by the rules of the competition and could really benefit from not only the exposure and opportunity to play a main stage at one of the most famous festivals in the world, but also the £5,000 Talent Development Prize award from PRS, which can go a long way to helping the artist take their music to the next level. 

This weekend the live final of the Emerging Talent Competition took place and the winner was Josh Barry. Listening to his song Spirit Road it’s easy to understand why the final judging panel chose him unanimously as the winner. His voice is blessed with all the elements of a classic soul singer; that perfect mix of power and emotion with just a hint of rawness. Spirit Road is also a bloody good song.

With a vocal as good as Barry’s you have to wonder how he hasn’t already been discovered, but this is where my previous words about who can and can’t enter the competition come into play. For Barry isn’t a full-blown novice. He’s already been working within the music industry having performed with chart stars Gorgon City, has recorded with Friction (supplying vocals to the 2015 song Freak) and SG Lewis (Silence). Yet clearly Barry still felt the need to enter the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and judging by the excitable pictures and words on his Facebook, it means the world to him to have won. 

Congratulations to Josh Barry, we’ll be looking forward to see where his musical journey takes him next. 

There's no Emerging Talent Competition next year (as Glastonbury itself takes a year off), but I'd recommend any self financing artist who considers they've got what it takes to play a main stage at Glastonbury to enter in 2019.

Josh Barry - Spirit Road


Friday, 21 April 2017

New Music: Kate Nash - Agenda


Look. This is how to do great pop music:

1. Be Inventive. Be Exciting. Be Bold. Be Fierce. Be Engaging.
2. Don’t just follow a formula.
3. Have something to say. 
4. Have a good beat. 
5. Make polite people go “Woah” and everyone else go “What the fuck.”

Kate Nash does all this and more on Agenda, one her most brilliant tunes she has ever released.

An (occasionally) sweary musical manifesto with hooks and punches galore. This is great pop music. No messing.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New Music: All We Are - Human (Video)


There’s an energy, a passion and an intensity to Human, (not a Rag 'n' Bone Man cover) the new song from Liverpool’s All We Are, that gets you in the stomach. It grinds, kicks and thrashes around and it sounds gloriously alive. 

The video’s great as well. It features a sleepy rural neighbourhood known as Sunny Hill and a developer’s plan to ‘revolutionise access’ to the place and the angry reactions, drama and friction it creates within the local community. I particularly like the old ladies at cross stitch club: “Your cunting road can fuck the fuck off” they sew. This video is just part 1, so it’s worth subscribing to the band’s You Tube channel so that you don’t miss the other parts. 

Human is taken from the band’s second album Sunny Hills which is due June 9th. They're playing a variety of shows this summer including some big UK festival slots such as Glastonbury, Latitude and End of the Road.

All We Are - Human (Video)


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

New Music: Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life ft. The Weeknd


You know how Lana is always singing about putting on clothes and taking them off? 

"Watching me get undressed, take that body downtown." "I’ve got my red dress on tonight." "Blue jeans, white shirt." "White bikini off with my red nail polish." "Honey put on your party dress." Etc etc etc. It must be like a 24 hour changing room in Top Shop at her place.

Well, she’s at it again. This time with The Weeknd. In theory this lyrical obsession should be getting boring by now. But it isn’t. Mainly because the songs are still f*ckin’ great. 

All together now: “Take off take off take off all your clothes.” 

To be honest, I’m still waiting for her to sing about putting mismatching socks on. But this will more than do.

Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life ft. The Weekend

New Music: Introducing - St Jude The Obscure


There's probably quite a few people who would be surprised by this statement, but Jude The Obscure is my favourite Thomas Hardy novel. Maybe it's because it’s pretty grim and I’m generally quite a fan of heavy lingering darkness in both novels and movies. 

But I digress, this isn’t a literature blog. So let’s get back to the music.

In this case, it’s a band who were once called Feral Love and are now called St. Jude The Obscure and have, with Wonders Of Youth, put together a perfectly blissful and glistening piece of electronic pop. Think Goldfrapp with Kate Bush doing background chanting in a zero-gravity suit and you won’t be that far off the mark. It’s equal parts minimal and epic and also gets better as you burrow deeper even though it's pretty instant as well - always a good way to make a pop record. A second song, the more danceable Wreckage (which you can find by clicking here), is equally fine. 

Jude The Obscure = Grim. Wonders Of Youth by St Jude The Obscure = Beautiful. I love both.

St. Jude The Obscure - Wonders Of Youth


Monday, 17 April 2017

New Music: The Kite String Tangle - Selfish


Music bloggers. They’re terrible aren’t they? So bloody fickle. Only posting something if they can get the premiere / first play, quickly discarding artists they’ve championed to move onto something else.

There is of course some validity in these criticisms, not only of bloggers, but the way many music fans (as against casual listeners happy to listen to say Adele and Ed Sheeran on repeat) consume pop in general these days. With everything being so accessible, the tantalising lure of the undiscovered is always going to have power over sticking to one thing.

So today I’m posting a track that fights against these arguments. It’s a ‘new’ song, but has already been on line for a month. No first play here. It’s by an artist that I’ve featured on the blog before, but only once, in an introducing piece way back in 2013. 

For those needing a recap, Danny Harley is The Kite String Tangle. He makes the sort of immaculate high production value electronic dance pop that the blogosphere tends to love. Selfish is his first new jam for a couple of years. It has a very of the moment sound with crisp beats and hooky synth motifs but under all of that there’s still something resolutely old fashioned; a song. It’ll probably make you want to do all sorts of jerky uncoordinated dance moves.

The Kite String Tangle - Selfish

Sunday, 16 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Slang


Remember when Ed Sheeran was really good? Sometime around 2011, before he turned musically beige, blanded-out and went all guitar strings blazing for lowest common denominator dollars and chart domination, he put out an EP called No.5 Collaborations, which found him engaging with the grime scene on a series of sensitive and dark tracks a long way from the dross of Galway Girl etc that he’s banging out now. Well, the debut tracks from this ‘new’ London artist remind me of that time.

Slang has just two tracks on line. Sweet Lies is a sobering and introspective mix of hazy acoustics, ghostly distant vocals and mellow rap that finds Slang dealing with some of his troubles: “Battling my demons and they’ve drowned me out again,” he sings, whilst YAY (You Alright, Yeah?) (listen here) hits home with mentions of addiction and jail, but still offers a hand of hope. Both songs are instantly memorable but are instantly affecting due to their heavily personal nature.

Slang may be a new name to many of you, but that doesn’t mean that you might not be familiar with some of his work; as under the name Dan Dare he’s been floating around the music industry for some time, working as a songwriter and producer, collaborating with the likes of Charli XCX, Marina & The Diamonds, Wiley, Chasing Grace, Professor Green and Becky Hill. Now he’s breaking out on his own with this impressive new project. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have a Galway Girl moment.

You can catch Slang live this Spring in the UK at Live At Leeds, Brighton’s Great Escape and Liverpool’s Sound City as well as a show at London’s Sebright Arms on 4th May. There’s a full EP coming next Friday.

Slang - Sweet Lies


Saturday, 15 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Tom Adams


The world is a non-stop, take it all, hectic kind of place. Sometimes it feels like it’s all about to spin out of control. That’s why we need the music of artists like Tom Adams.

Cambridge born, but now residing in Germany, Adams’ music possesses the sort of tender beauty that might not only stop you in your tracks, but the whole world. Combining his gorgeous celestial vocals, melancholy piano chords and ambient electronics, these are songs that find a place alongside the likes of Nils Frahm and A Winged Victory For The Sullen for their breathless power and tranquillity, yet still have an accessibility that could comfortably sit alongside popular songs like Coldplay’s Fix You or Tom Odell’s Sense.

Having released his debut EP last year, Adams is due to release Silence, his long player on the 5th May via Kowloon Records. One of the songs that will feature on that LP is Come On, Dreamer, which not only should feature on every single Most Beautiful Songs In The World Ever playlist and compilation, but is accompanied by a stunning video that shows that below someone’s very straight appearance there might be a solitary yearning for something far more primitive and back to nature. 

Besides Come On, Dreamer Adams has released another song, Sparks, which over its six minutes will make you want to shut your eyes and just take it all in. 

Press pause on the world for a short time and listen to Tom Adams.

Tom will be playing live in the UK next month with a confirmed date at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival.

Tom Adams - Sparks



Tom Adams - Come On, Dreamer (Video)


Thursday, 13 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Bloxx


New kids on the block, Bloxx are your latest new frothy guitar band and crush. With the briskly self-confident Your Boyfriend having already picked up plenty of plays on Spotify, today the Uxbridge four piece released a new one; it’s called You. With classic riff-raucous guitar work that ramps things up for the chorus, You sounds like the sort of candy-grunge mini-anthem that will go down a storm in dark sweaty indie clubs when it’s let loose live. “It’s all in my head you say,” goes the chorus. Well, this song is likely to get in your head as well.

Hailing from the rock n roll borderlines that is Uxbridge, Bloxx consist of Ophelia (guitar/vocals), Taz (guitar), Paul (bass guitar) and Moz (drums). Bloxx will be taking their sound to the sticky floored venues of Britain when they head out on tour with The Night CafĂ© in May. 

Bloxx - You


New Music: Hazel English - More Like You (Video)


5 thoughts that went through my head when watching and listening to the new Hazel English video:

1. This makes me want to go on a road trip. Although whereas Hazel’s is full of warm Californian sunshine, mine would probably be full of British grey skies and rain. 

2. In a world where chart based pop music is becoming ever more lame, indie music that exists on the periphery, the stuff that sounds swirling and dreamy and made for people who like art and fashion that also exist away from the mainstream, seems ever more important and ever more comforting. The sound of More Like You provides that comfort. 

3. More Like You is a little bit like reading the secret diaries of Hazel English. It’s thoughtful and contemplative: “It's so funny how you live your life; always trying on a new disguise. And you lie to yourself all of the time, you rely on the safety of denial.”

4. She'll get lots of views on this. Why? Because it has dogs in it. The internet loves dogs and cats doesn't it?

5. I fancy a cup of tea. (I’m pretty sure this had nothing to do with the video, but I don’t remember ever promising you that the thoughts would all be about the music, did I?)

Hazel English - More Like You (Video)






Wednesday, 12 April 2017

New Music: Pale Waves - There's A Honey (Video)


As a new band having the patronage of another successful group can have the possibility of being a double-edged sword. On the plus-side it can get you a lot of attention quickly, but on the negative if you can’t develop your own identity and fan base you’re likely to always be subordinate to the group who helped champion you in the first place.

Only time will tell if the association with The 1975 (which I wrote about in my introducing piece on the band back in February) will cause Manchester’s Pale Waves a problem in the longer term, but ultimately it will probably come down to their creative output. With only the one official song out there (ignoring the earlier demos under previous guises) it’s impossible to judge, but I stand by my previous statement that There’s A Honey is a piece of radiant pop that will make your day all the more better. 

Now with a video for the song it’s possible to get a bit of the band’s visual aesthetic and here they seem to be forging their own ground, sitting somewhere between The Cure and The XX with their dark goth look. The video itself is a simple performance piece which is given a slight feeling of claustrophobia (again very Cure-esque) by the band playing under some sheets of air supported fabric.

Pale Waves - There's A Honey (Video)


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

New Music: Fickle Friends - Hello Hello (Video)


It’s been a real pleasure to see Fickle Friends grow from being a blog sensation (Breaking More Waves was there right at the beginning) to connecting with people outside of the new music internet bubble and getting their songs played on the radio. Latest tune Hello Hello is arguably their biggest banger to date and even challenges the still stupidly hooky Swim for BFF* credentials. Lyrically the song deals with the idea of sticking with someone who has lost sight of who they are and what they’re worth and the video (released yesterday) finds the band taking part in some sort of random instruction audition. I particularly like the ‘he just threw a f*ckin’ chair at me’ moment.

Fickle Friends will be going on tour with The Kooks (a band I can never like because the lead singer once barged into me in a venue, knocking my drink out of my hand, and didn’t even stop to apologise as he strutted on his way) in May, before playing a whole bunch of summer festivals and their own headline show, their largest to date, at The Forum in London in October. 

*Best Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends - Hello Hello (Video)



Monday, 10 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Lia Lia


In a post earlier today (here) I talked a little bit about defining the idea of ‘good music’ as something that is within my comfort zone and something that triggers memories of music from my past and how that's a concept that I feel a little uncomfortable with. I like change. I like challenge. Yet conversely I only like these things to a certain extent. Too much challenge is just overwhelming and nulls the senses. Sometimes I do want that warm familiarity.

If you asked a stranger who had spent some time reading posts on Breaking More Waves what sort of music they thought existed within my ‘it’s-good-because-there’s-an-association’ safety net the chances are they’d suggest electronic pop music with a female vocal. After all there’s been a fair amount of it over the years on Breaking More Waves, so that assumption wouldn't be a ridiculous one.

So today I’m keeping to form and introducing Lia Lia, a new Berlin based artist who, with her debut, approaches the world of pop with laconic synthy grooves and spoken word vocals on a song called Olymp. There’s a hint of Black Box Recorder’s Sarah Nixey in the detached delivery; everything about the song smacks of cool - especially when combined with a video that shows the beautiful arrogance of wasted youth. 

According to a small Q&A with Line of Best Fit today (here) Lia Lia stands for Live Impact Area Legacy Interface Adapter, which is either a glorious piss-take or something deep and artistic, but either way these rubbery electronics bounce just right.

Lia Lia - Olymp (Video)




New Music: Joshua Burnside - Blood Drive


As I’ve got older one of the eternal struggles I’ve had with music is thinking, probably over thinking, how I define what good music is. The problem for me is do I think (or feel) that something is great just because it reminds me of something else from the past that I also liked? Am I becoming too set in my ways? And if I am is there anything wrong with this? Possibly not, but then on the other hand, if a person just sticks to what they know and defines that as good, then as music changes and evolves, is there the potential to miss out on something incredible, simply because it doesn’t fit with a predefined definition of what is good?

If good music is something that can broadly be defined as something that moves me, is it possible to become less moved over time if I’m just listening to the same old same old over and over again? Is falling into a musical comfort zone a dangerous thing?

If it is, then today I’m happy to dwell in that comfort zone for Blood Drive, the new song from Northern Irish singer songwriter Joshua Burnside, reminds me of an awful lot of things I like. The song may take a soft folkish tone, but structurally it sounds an awful lot like something The National (makers of one of my favourite rock records of the last couple of decades) might make. There’s also comparisons to be made with the plucked melodies of Stornoway (another favourite), early Bon Iver (two albums that I cherish) or Jose Gonzalez. It’s a beautifully soothing and evocative piece of song craft and is taken from Burnside’s forthcoming album Ephrata, released on the 5th May via Quiet Arch Records. 

The album itself was written in just a few weeks whilst Burnside lived in northern Colombia with his cousin and finds him absorbing a wide range of musical references which include alt-folk, traditional Irish folk, South American and Eastern European influences and bands such as Sun Kil Moon, Dirty Three, Talking Heads and The Cure. 

Burnside plays a small handful of shows around the time of the album launch which include shows in Glasgow, London, Ballycastle, Derry and Dublin. 

Joshua Burnside - Blood Drive


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Preview: Are You Listening Festival 2017


Reading’s Are You Listening? is a music festival that encapsulates everything that a fan could want. 

It comes at a value price, with advance tickets retailing at £20 for the day. It has a great line up of national touring and local bands, which this year sees the likes of Anna Meredith, The Big Moon, Clock Opera and Spring King taking to its stages. By nature of its city centre location it’s convenient, easy to access and the weather isn’t a major player. Add in the fact that it’s a festival with a heart, donating every year to Reading Mencap (AYL has now raised over £34,000 for the charity since its birth in 2013) and you’ll probably understand why AYL is pretty much faultless in every respect.

Having supported the festival since its inception, this year Breaking More Waves will also be involved in the event as more than just a punter, as I DJ some of my favourite songs in between bands at Milk Bar, one of the festivals venues. The word DJ is used very loosely here – essentially it will involve cross-fading a few tunes off an iPad Spotify playlist or CDs with no mixing, no beat matching and no skill whatsoever. 

Like any festival that focuses on relatively new and emerging music, with 9 venues putting on shows and over 70 artists performing during the day, it can be a little bewildering to choose who to see, so below you’ll find 3 of Breaking More Waves recommendations to cut through the overload. None of these are headline acts. 

Are You Listening takes place on April 22nd in Reading City Centre. It’s also Record Store Day, so get there early, hit up The Sound Machine record shop, grab some lunch, then go and watch Radio 1's Huw Stephens in conversation with local heroes The Amazons at Sub 89 before the live music kicks off at 2pm into the night. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Temples Of Youth (16:00 – Public)

Winchester gloom-pop duo Temples of Youth are no strangers to the pages of Breaking More Waves. Having supported the likes of Sundara Karma, Declan McKenna and Laurel they also were also picked as part of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent 2017 competition long list. Expect cinematic electronics, mournful guitars and Joy Divison drum sounds. 



Saltwater Sun (17.45 – Purple Turtle)

I first came across Saltwater Sun at Are You Listening Festival in 2014 and since that time their music has gained plenty of exposure on line through websites and blogs with songs like Habit On My Mind and Now Or Never. With some potent indie rock sounds and the unique vocal talent of Jenn Stearne they’re worth your time.



Dream Wife (19.45 – Sub 89)

For anyone still pushing the ‘indie rock music is dead’ argument, I’d strongly go advise them to go and see Dream Wife, who show there’s a huge amount of energy left in the old dog yet. Vital, empowering and full of snarling two fingers up against the world attitude, they’re a beast of a band.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

New Music: Kate Nash - Call Me


When Kate Nash emerged around 10 years ago there were quite a few naysayers who didn’t really give her a chance and certainly wouldn’t have predicted that she would have still been making music and selling out shows now. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt about pop music, absorbing it over all these years, is that nobody can second guess the future – even those who think they can. Particularly ‘tastemakers’. Look back at your favourite new music guru website or blog and for every one hit they get right, they get about ten wrong. 

Nash’s new song Call Me (no not a cover of the Blondie tune) was released yesterday. Taken from her forthcoming Agenda EP, it demonstrates exactly what I’ve always said about her; she’s got an ability to pen a quirky, hooky, pop song, irrespective of what style she adopts. And on the subject of styles, wait till you hear the title track of the EP; if it’s anything like the version she’s been performing live it’s going to surprise some of you.

After this EP Kate is going to be revisiting her debut album with a tour this summer (tickets are available by clicking here) and is currently funding her fourth album through a Kickstarter project. She's already raised over $50,000 in less than a week, which is pretty impressive. If you’ve got a spare $5,000 you can even have Kate come and play a ‘punk as fuck’ show in your own house. If only I was a little richer..... although to be honest, I wouldn’t want to annoy the neighbours, so I’d probably ask her to play acoustically. Or at least invite the neighbours round as well.

You can sign up to the Kate Nash Kickstarter by clicking here and at the same time watch a video that explains how she is going to use the money Take a listen to Call Me below.

Kate Nash - Call Me


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

New Music: Introducing - Black Fly


Well this is f*cking marvellous. I have no idea who Black Fly is. The standard Google search reveals lots of references to two winged insects, a hip-hop artist from about 5 years ago and various other companies and brands, but nothing of this solo artist who I’m told makes music from his bedroom in the backwoods of Vermont. However, despite little context to find let me try and give you some. 

I Don’t Know is Black Fly’s debut song. As I said it’s f*cking marvellous. Why? Because it’s rather unique. There’s a lot of synth pop that flows through these pages, but most of it features vocals that are in some way glossy and crystal. Black Fly isn’t. His voice is huskily nodular, slightly slurred and sleepy, like a modern-day Pete Doherty of The Libertines or Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs, but with real soul and beauty. It’s as if an indie rock singer has stumbled into the wrong room and come out with a keyboard under his arm rather than a guitar. It’s a wonderful contrast.

You’ll find virtually all of the websites and blogs that have featured this song so far describing it as gothic. I’m not so sure about that as a categorisation. I don’t hear the eerie dark despair I would expect to find in something categorised as gothic, although the lyrics, which talk of ‘nasty things you do’, ‘violence’ and ‘cancer’ certainly don’t equate with partying all night long in da club. But what I hear musically is skin-prickling radiance and moments of tenderness, particularly when Black Fly sings “you can never take our memories” and the song bursts into a rainbow of 80’s styled tension building electronics. 

I Don't Know was mixed by David Tolomei (Beach House, Dirty Projectors and most tellingly Future Islands, who I can see some similarity with in terms of the unusual vocal / electronic mix). An intriguingly good debut.

Black Fly - I Don't Know


New Music: Introducing - Shaefri


Today I’m introducing Shaefri, creator of slick, unsettling, downbeat electronic pop music. Monster, the third track she’s released as part of what seems like a new start (there are some references to older seemingly unavailable recordings online) is the one that’s really grabbed me. Hinting at the demons within that “crawl into my head,” the song is a haunting piece of leftfield pop full of hovering pulses, subdued beats and dead of night darkness. It’s accompanied by a video that adds an added layer of nightmarishness, with a masked creature following Shaefri, until the disguise is revealed.

Describing herself as “London-born, Irish/Egyptian-bred,” which makes her sound more like an animal than a human being, but who knows, maybe there are places in the world where they specifically breed musicians, Shaefri will be releasing her EP Cracks on 7th April.

She also plays a live show to launch it this on the 6th April at Notting Hill Arts Club, London.

Shaefri - Monster (Video)




Monday, 3 April 2017

New Music: Rosie Carney - Awake Me (Acoustic)


“A couple of months ago on a dark, cold day in January, we moved all the furniture out of my living room and pushed the piano to the middle of the room. So happy to bring to you the acoustic version of Awake Me, recorded in my home in Donegal. Thank you to Charlie Doherty and Orri McBrearty for helping to bring it to life,” says Rosie Carney of this beautiful recording of a song that featured in its original form on Breaking More Waves in January. 

This new take of Awake Me, played on just piano, has a beautifully still intimacy to it, but perhaps more surprising is with that intimacy comes an even greater power. Keep an eye out for an unscheduled appearance of a cat in the video as well.

Rosie Carney will be playing the Great Escape Festival in Brighton May and will also be out on tour with Saint Sister in the UK between 30th May and 3rd June. 

Rosie Carney - Awake Me (Acoustic)


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Pop Stars In The Bath - A Conclusion Of Sorts


Over the last few years, if you’ve visited Breaking More Waves with any frequency or have kept up to date with my Twitter feed (here), you will undoubtedly be aware of the ongoing obsession I have with pop stars in the bath. Or rather, I’m intrigued by the number of photos musicians take of themselves in various baths to help promote their music; sometimes clothed, sometimes unclothed, sometimes in water, sometimes without.

The obsession all boils down to two fundamental questions.

First, why do they do this? Besides musicians I can’t think of any other profession that promotes its product / art by pictures of its manufacturer / creator in the bath. Not even bath manufacturers.

Then my second question is why, when music writers are presented with a promotional picture of a musician in the bath for the article they are writing do so many choose to ignore any sort of commentary about the picture? Yes, there’ll be realms of text about dreamy guitar riffs and haunting vocals, but nothing about the fact that this person or persons is/are sitting in the bath to promote their music, which let’s face it is abnormal behaviour.

So finally, today I’m very pleased to bring about some conclusions to this weird phenomenon and get some answers, from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Or at least to the first of my questions. The second remains unsolved.

Professor Apo Hillfort (BA) is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Bath (where else?) and has been following me on Twitter for a number of years. He got in contact with me after reading a number of my blog posts. “You want answers to your pop star in the bath concern? DM me,” he wrote and so began a dialogue on this washroom weirdness.

Professor Hillfort specialises in the psychology of celebrities. He researches how celebrity affects people who become them and how our own personal psychology and behaviour is affected by the tag of those who are seen as celebrities. But more than that, professor Hillfort has studied in detail the behaviour of pop stars. In fact, when he was studying, his original degree thesis was called The Behavioural Impact Of Promotional Regimes In Pop Music Culture On Musicians. It turns out, this guy knows all about pop stars in the bath!

“Essentially, what you have to remember is that musicians are creatives. They hate to be constrained by corporate rules, regulations or to be told how they should or shouldn’t do things. The bath is the ultimate visual metaphor for that ideology.” he explains.

“In dream analysis, the bath can symbolise the cleansing of the soul, healing and that positive change is underfoot. In day to day life, the bath represents similar things. To see someone in the bath it is virtually impossible to think negative thoughts. We see that person as breaking out of their shell, cleansing themselves and being in a good place."

 "Studies have shown that musicians, particularly those in pop music, are psychological egoists and sensation seekers. Being photographed in the bath, for pop stars, explores areas that appeal to them, namely curiosity, exploration and aesthetic preferences. But in addition to this it creates constructs of arousal in the viewer. It is therefore a clever marketing technique to photograph yourself in the bath. The viewer will only be able to think positive thoughts of the person or persons pictured and as it has been shown that there are strong correlations between visual and audible cues. Therefore there is an increased chance of the viewer liking the music if they are pleased, humoured or aroused by the picture.”

So it seems that musicians are basically attention seeking, manipulative, creative dudes then?

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s pretty much it – as far as I have been able to conclude from my studies. I’ve have even tried some experimental research here at the University, although alas it had to be abandoned.”

Tell me more…

“As you are aware, Mariah Carey is very fond of a pop star in the bath promo pic, and after much persuasion Mariah agreed to participate in some research I was carrying out. The research, which we undertook here in Bath when Mariah was last on tour in the UK in April 2012 involved Mariah getting in her bath for a new photo shoot whilst we monitored her brain activity and thought patterns. Unfortunately, we had to declare the results null and void because the readings we got all pointed to just one thought.”

And that was?

“Christmas. I was a bloody fool to think she’s be thinking anything else. Even in April.”