BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR AUNTIE ASH
Hello music fans! Aunty Ash here, and I can’t tell you how honoured I am to be invited along to review all the kids’ entries to the Stroud Song Contest 2023. It’s been an absolute pleasure to listen to all these amazing songs, and in all honesty, I’ve been completely and utterly humbled at the level of talent here! Please join me in enjoying these brilliant songs. I’m sure you’ll be blown away too.
First up we’ve got a real heartbreaker – the stunning Bad Things by Cleo. I’m not joking when I say that Adele herself would have been proud to write a song this good! The beautiful melody and achingly sad lyrics are sung so soulfully by Cleo that I think your bottom lip will wobble when you listen. Be warned, this one will hit you hard! So many layers of pain.
Next up, the cleverly named Jerisaac Park by Ike & Jerome. It’s a brilliantly goofy tale of alligators, birds, bats, figs and so much more! It reminds me a little of Alexi Sayle’s Hello John Got A New Motor in its mad, chatty style, but what really strikes me is the sophisticated use of rhythm to drive the song along. First of all, check out the skilful beatboxing! That’s not a drum machine you’re hearing, that’s Jerome’s sick beats! Then marvel at the slick change of pace as the lads syncopate the rhythm to completely change gear and move the song in a new direction. Twice! Beautifully and seamlessly done, boys! And bonus points for correctly using the word Blorange in a song!
Third on the list is Say Dance by Phoebe. This is 100 per cent pure joy! Phoebe has written such a pretty little ode to what makes her happy – dancing – but wait, there’s more! Have a listen to the chorus! For me it’s not only the dancing but the exquisite harmonies that are total bliss! This song is everything you need when life threatens to get you down, it’ll lift you right up. It has a similar vibe to Mika’s Grace Kelly with its elegant melody and poppy trills. Sing this one to yourself when you get up in the morning and you’re preparing for a great day!
What’s up next? …Wow! It’s the completely bonkers How Dare You Mrs Spangle by Mr & Mrs Spangle. This one put me in mind of the Beatles’ most surreal, barmy Revolution Number 9. There’s no logic to it! These kids definitely have a better grasp of technology than I do, and the experimental, boundary-pushing energy is loads of fun! My head is spinning with dot da dot da dot dot! Just one question: why do I want to eat a lemon now? I must have been brainwashed! Oh no!!!
Next is This Is My Imagination by Sylvie. Sylvie has written a dreamy, beautiful ballad about the thing she loves the most: drawing. And as she sings about drawing, her glorious lyrics will paint beautiful pictures in your mind! Close your eyes and let the grass, flowers and rainbows bloom and blossom through your consciousness! This song is as soothing as a nap under a shady tree by a stream on a summer’s day! Heavenly!
The Alphabet Song by K&U Maniacs is a funny, mad little song, but don’t expect any simple ABCs – there are words here I can’t even spell! It’s a very clever, mensa version of the alphabet! Feel the growing frustration of a young scholar begging to go to school but daddy says not yet! Hurry up dad! With complicated words like these I think we’ll be laughing our way to the top of the class! Easy peasy!
Oh my goodness, Floral Boat by Miriam is delightful. It’s a really catchy singalong song about an adventure on the sea. I’d love to see this song animated – it gives me strong images of bright colours and flowers and a little boat bobbing on the waves in time to the tune! It’s such a happy little number, it just makes you want to jump on board and travel the world! You’d never stop smiling! I especially love the way the backing music stops and the last line is sung a cappella. Nice touch! It really leaves you wanting more!
Finally on our list today, the only entry in the kids’ competition to actually mention the best town in the world – Proud of Stroud by Ali. Ali’s absolutely killing it on guitar, his confident strumming pushes the song along and his vocals remind me in places of a swaggering Lou Reed. The delivery is way more mature than you’d expect for someone of his young age. This is a smashing song and a mantra for us all! Try singing it to yourself as you shop on the High Street, or wander the hills and valleys, or scoff a Winstone’s ice cream up on the common! Come on, we’re all glad to be here, aren’t we?
What a thrill it’s been for me to peruse these entries today. I hope you’ll spend some time listening too, and don’t forget to vote for your favourites!
I’d like to wish all the participants well. Keep rocking on, younglings. You should be really proud of what you’ve achieved and I hope you never stop singing and writing and playing music. Great things lie ahead!