Bad Girlfriend is available at:
4th December, 2015
Pop; Hip-Hop; Ska
AMONG the colourlessness of some of music’s newest progeny…
it is always rewarding stumbling upon an artist that is vivacious, bold and hugely memorable. I shall introduce you to my featured artist very soon, but for the moment, I am reminded of a few different subjects. The first concerns personality, colour and brashness; the second looks at female Ska/Hip-Hop artists in the U.K.; the third concerns originality in songwriting. When you look around new music and the artists that are coming through; there are few that really catch your imagination and compel you to dig deeper. Whether it is a lack of energy or a rather stilted sound- I have not been seduced by too many artists lately. I know how vital it is to work on the sound but that does not mean you need to sacrifice everything else. I hear so many artists produce great/fairly good music yet nothing else really lingers in the mind. You do not need to force a personality and aesthetic to make the listener compelled and fascinated. It can be a way of thinking; a direction in songwriting or certain flair- little touches that go a long way. A lot of new musicians- when it comes to interviews, photoshoots and such- come across as samey and overly-processed. I find a lot of artists display vituperative attitudes and (are) needless childish to grab attention. The most pure, addictive and long-lasting musicians are those that are naturally interesting and do not force things. It may seem like an odd point to mention- yet when it comes to my featured act- here we have someone that ranks among music’s most interesting and alluring new artists. Before I continue this point- and raise a couple more into the mix- it is time to say ‘hello’ to Lola Coca. Londoner Lola- and her near-spoonerism name- is a fascinating artist that really intrigues me. The London-based artist is splitting her time between L.A. (where she records) and the capital. Reading interviews she has conducted you get the idea of a young woman that does not fake that infectious personality. She has a raw edge and plenty of attitude; she seems one of the most humble and modest people in music.
Reluctant to call herself a singer or rapper- that modest strain coming in- there are definite expectations and nerves. It is not just Lola Coca’s incredible genetics that have got her where she is today. Her modesty aside you have a young musician with an incredible originality and honesty about her. The heroine bears her emotions and subverts expectations; she is a brave and sensitive artist who has an undeniable and burning passion for music. Music is the thing that keeps Lola up at night and keeps her heart beating strong. I talked about lack of personalities in music- for all those dull and mind-numbing new acts coming through- Lola Coca seems to be the antidote. Her fashion and looks- mixing bright colours and multi-blends outfits; vibrant contrasts and a blend of U.S. and U.K. fashions- is the result of someone drinking in the London cosmopolitanism. You can tell how much the London residents inspire Lola; how the varied landscape and areas have impacted her direction. The young star has an infectious sense of humour and down-to-earth appeal that has drawn in fans and followers- all falling in love with that wonderfully compelling and entrancing human. There is not a great deal of female Ska/Hip-Hop artists in music. I am currently obsessing myself in the genres- I hope Lola won’t mind me going on a brief tangent- and am an obsessive Dizzee Rascal fan; someone getting back into Cypress Hill- reveling in the force and magic of Missy Elliot. Even Hip-Hop-lite artists Nelly Furtado- who I adore for her vocal delivery and sassiness- are filling my ears and soul. Rap, Hip-Hop and Ska are those genres that seem to go under-the-radar; a minor force that is secondary to Pop and mainstream concerns. It is a shame because there are so many great acts coming through. Lola Coca is one of those rare humans: a white female rapper. Whilst a lot of her heroines- the likes of Kelis for one- are black American artists; here we have a white rapper from the south of England. I am straining my mind to think of anyone quite like our heroine. It is understandable there are some nerves when it comes to her music- with so few being like her- but is great to see an ambitious young woman do something new with the genres. Lola does not just play the U.S.-themed Hip-Hop/Rap we are all familiar with: she teases in ‘90s Pop undertones with Ska bliss; sweet-leaf chills and sharp edges that kicks ass. There is so little originality coming through in a lot of music from our young artists. Lola Coca is one of the rarest and most unique artists I have come across in a while. A young woman you want to hug and keep safe- someone that deserves a wonderful human to mould her passion and ideas- there is an incredible strength and rebelliousness to her. Bad Girlfriend is an offering that subverts expectations and offers a new slant on love. Mixing p***-tease promise- her boy is not getting a ‘special birthday present’ this year- there is soulfulness, sensitivity and wit to be found. Not just the result of her production team; you get a lot of insight into the woman behind Lola Coca. Most new artists coming onto the scene- this is our heroine making her sapling steps- tend to write songs about heartbreak and no-good fellas; maybe something about being hurt and scarred by love. Whether that is the logical first chess move; if market expectations demand that- Lola Coca is someone who has skewed the mould and come up with something more fascinating, original and wonderful. Whilst a lot of media and reviewers are making easy comparisons with Lily Allen- a no-nonsense Londoner with a mix of cutting and cherry- that betrays the true potential of Lola Coca. She is her own woman and has a lot more to her than Allen-esque strands. A lover of the likes of Amy Winehouse; you can hear that Blues soulfulness and dark lust in her voice. Lola’s love of ‘90s music comes through in the evocative and memory-strewn bliss-sounds. The sharp tongue and strong skin is a match for her Hip-Hop/Rap favourites. What you get is an artist that has colour, passion and heart; an effortless ability and huge future. I know the young heroine has some trepidations and high hopes; I can see an album emerging in 2016. Bad Girlfriend is an original and hugely memorable song that will see her gain momentum and inspiration. With such a compelling and stunning mind; I know there will be some terrific songs emerging- tied together by her assured and exceptional team. I hope her social media numbers rise- they are scandalously short of what they should be- I know of venues and musicians that have fallen under her spell. 2016 will be a bumper year for her and the chance for her to spread her wings- and show music just how immense she is.
Lola is making her first steps into music; it is hard to compare her new sounds with bygone music- seeing how far she has progressed and changed. Bad Girlfriend is her newest cut that shows a fertile imagination and an assured singer. Love Songs is another number that is online; it shows a contrast to Bad Girlfriend. The opening notes mix crackling with romantic strings; a fusion of sounds that gets the imagination pricked from the first moments. Old-style and vintage guitars- reminding me of ‘50s Rock ‘n’ Roll with Doo-Wop lingering- there is a bit of Swing to the introduction too. Lola’s voice comes in firm and ready to tell of her “confidential” and “secret heart”. Seemingly too shy to give her heart freely; there is that central message- “love songs are for losers”- that shows wit, spikiness and vulnerability. The song goes against the common grain to deliver something old-cum-modern; that endless vinyl crackle and sparse guitar puts your mind in the ‘40s and ‘50s- it is a vintage song that has a modern heartbeat. Sunny and effusive vocal layers bring the song to life and give it a vivacious and technicolour smile. The flowing rhymes and emotive vocals see our heroine waiting for her man- she will hold out for his touch- and not giving too much away. Perhaps a bedfellow of Bad Girlfriend– both look at denial and restrain whilst having different courses and ideals- it is a track that has an addictive and coolness to it. Swinging, swaggering and London-esque; the song takes you to some wonderful streets- you build images and immerse yourself in the passion and heart of the music. If love songs are for losers then our heroine “may never wake up”. Lola’s voice has a crackle of Lily Allen; a soulful belt of Amy Winehouse: when it comes to to things you have a vocal that is very much its own beast; it mixes unique personality and tones to distance itself enough. Towards the closing moments Lola injects some rapping into the track. Our girl is “too scared to take the risk” and seems to be showing a vulnerable side to herself. After the firm and effusive beginnings we have something more introspective and heart-bearing. Showcasing her natural affinity for Hip-Hop and Rap; the mixture of the first phase- that indelible sway and cheer- blends seamlessly against the more jagged and hard-hitting rhymes. Our heroine is “too shy” to perhaps be herself. Love Songs is a track that balks against the traditional (love songs) out there; those ideals and romanticised notions. There is a reality and relatability to Love Songs. Some of us are shy and hesitant to be ourselves; the truth of things is that love and relationships can be hard from the start- a track that brims with meaning and personal insight. You feel empathy with Lola and what she is saying; that desire to be with someone and be open- perhaps too reticent and coquettish to let her personality and qualities out. A piano-slam and charming outro complete a track that is stunningly confident and assured.
Match Love Songs against Bad Girlfriend and you have two sides to an intoxicating and spellbinding artist. Able to keep unified personality in two very different songs- the composition and lyrics have very unique perspectives- and you just wonder how far she can go. In Love Songs, Lola Coca shows such a passionate, urgent and gorgeous vocal. Letting her Blues/Soul voice mix with her M.C. /Rap skills and you have a song that will appeal to a mass of listeners- and lovers of multiple genres. It has such a mobility and quality to it that is hard to ignore. The lyrics are quotable and hugely memorable; the composition is full and unexpected- those vintage elements are a wonderful touch. The equal to Bad Girlfriend; it is a 1-2 that has not been equaled this year. Most artists come in a little vague and timid; really not letting themselves reveal too much or go in too hard. Our heroine is a young woman that has a need to be heard and understood. Someone that has vulnerability and hesitations; these sides are expounded and exposed in a song that points to an extraordinary talent. This all means the following year will be exciting and filled with possibilities. I can see Love Songs and Bad Girlfriend making their way into an E.P. I have always dabbled with the album title Love Songs Without Choruses– that could be interpreted as a coital innuendo into the bargain- and easily house the likes of Bad Girlfriend and Love Songs. Whatever Lola Coca has in mind will be great to see. I can envisage an 11-track collection that fully explores and uncovers her spectrum of talents. Maybe some more direct and edgy Hip-Hop slams- putting the heels into some no-good fellas- and soul-bearing Soul numbers will be stirred into a psychotropic and gorgeous-smelling bouquet of music. With that stunning voice and huge ambition fully charged there is no telling where Lola Coca could head.
The stunning weight of Bad Girlfriend has set social media ablaze. In the initial seconds you get some Ska/Reggae steps that are hugely infectious and wonderful. Mixed low and echoed in the background, there are dope beats, infectious Salsa rhymes combined with a wordless cry from the heroine. Compelling the feet to sachet and weave around; it is a funky and inventive statement that shows some Hip-Hop vibes and summer-time chill. That girlish giggle and cute-as-hell opening leads to something swooning, dizzying and sky-diving. A high-pitched vocal holds in the background to give the impression of bellicose cry and huge emotion. Everything is kept levelled and disciplined in the early exchanges- backed by fantastic production values and phenomenal mixing. Before our heroine arrives to the microphone; you get caught up in the scenic and vivid kiss of the introduction. Its Latin workout-cum street-walking coolness is an infectious bond that gets you smiling and exciting. Whereas Love Songs saw Lola come in with a Pop/Soul vocal- that leads into Rap- here we get something that is urgent and fast-racing from the very go. Our girl “tried to hide, tried to lie…”- rapping and reeling against the swirling electronics and chaotic blend of the background- she is turning her man on “like a night light”. The man has his birthday and is expecting a lot of sugar from his girl. Perhaps that has been the pattern of the past- maybe former girlfriends have complied with his veracious and slavish demands- but our heroine is not so compliant and obvious. Wanting to keep him on a lead and get the blood rushing to other parts- it is a cheeky and witty number that shows plenty of attitude and spunk (ironically). Our heroine shows great authority and natural ability in the early exchanges. A lot of new artists that go for Rap/Hip-Hop seem unsure and foolish in their early days- needing to cut their teeth on a few demos before launching into a single. Lola seems like she has been doing this for year. You can tell the likes of Missy Elliot have had their bearing: you can hear some of the U.S. queen’s cut and voice in the stunning lyrical tumble of Bad Girlfriend. Our heroine lets her voice weave and snake with huge effect. The mix of wit and original wording makes the song such a gripping and wonderful beast. Her boy is begging like a puppy for attention. Maybe pretty and good for the eyes; he is someone that certainly gets Lola’s engine running- but he needs to know his boundaries and cool his jets. Her man is “embarrassing” and making a fool of himself. You can tell how much fun Lola has recording this- you can practically hear the grin on her face- and she sounds completely in-command; controlling the song and ensuring every word hits the mark. Riding a sparse and dancing beat- some wonderful compositional touches augment the emotions and ensure the vocal is driven and supported- our heroine is highly infectious and stunning. Stopping him before he “hits the poontang”; our girl is hot and cold- too hot to handle but perhaps a little cold to the touch- there is that desire to relax and get her own way. With no shopping stress and clichés; she just wants to kick back and spend her own way. The lyrics mix U.S. and U.K. phrasing; the language-blend means the song will cross borders and easily translate to U.S. radio stations. It is not a cynical move or calculated risk; here is a young woman with a love of U.S. and U.K. music- it is effortless; funneled into a consistent and wonderful work. As the song progresses you get images and ideas of the story. Our heroine is withholding sex due to the cloying and desperate pleas of her man. Whether the need to establish control or just toss cold water on the boy- who may be putting physical acts above any real emotional connection- and there is some vulnerability and sensitivity that comes out. Lola does not want to be objectified or controlled; she calls the shots and wants to be treated like a real personal. As the song progresses you cannot escape that mix of quality, uniqueness and humour. Sound effects are throwing in to match the lyrics- tills opening and closing; dog growls and little snippets of violin strings- as our girl rolls her eyes. With fake astonishment she realises her man has a birthday and a big week ahead- which means sex in his mind for the most part. Confessing to be a “bad actress” you get someone that may have been faking the motions- bad news for the boy’s ego- and someone that does not give a crap about his libidinous desires and impure motives. I get little snippets of The Streets and Dizzee Rascal; bits of Missy Elliot and Kelis. You have some street-wise flows and frantic rhymes- a lot of modern rappers are too slow and not cutting enough- whereas Lola presents some original bites and wonderfully inventive lyrics. Like a young Dizzee- his debut album was bound with genius words and scintillating raps- here you get a fast-flowing and mesmeric flow from the young artist. Dizzee looked at sleazy sorts and the sort of disreputable, controversial characters you find around town- the sort that need to get put in their place. The Streets- especially on Original Pirate Material– mixed some stunning humour with spoken word professions and insights.
Kelis and Missy Elliot mix that sassiness and strong female vibes- showing control and dominance- with quirkiness and sonic invention. Think of Kelis’ Wanderland and you get a comparable artist that sounds effortlessly assured and in the zone. The genre-switching and parodying brings extra light and colour to the proceedings which see Rap and U.S. Hip-Hop merge with an accessible Pop chorus and hugely memorable chanting. When the chorus does arrive that Bad Girlfriend chant is as addictive and memorable as you can imagine- it is an extra kick in the balls for the song’s hero. Our girl confesses she does not known “when your birthday is” and that doesn’t really matter- she will not be led and told what to do. It is that brassy and humourous attack that makes the song endlessly appealing and brilliant. Those dazzling flows and terrific soundscapes effortlessly lead to the chorus which transforms into something sarcastic and contrary. An echoed and processed vocal (by her heroine) recalls the sound of a phone message- she confesses how much she misses him; how much she wants to kiss him. When the vocal comes hard into the mix, those sentiments were insincere. Her man is a fool that is causing her too much strain and annoyance. Whether he is too eager to get to the bedroom- and thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread- our heroine is putting him where he belongs. Our girl has been checking Twitter and emails; looking at pictures and looking for mentions of her (there are none) – she hits-up his friends and goes clubbing instead. Not wanting to crawl back to him like an animal there is that strong message that will speak to young females listening- the sort that have felt smothered and controlled by boys when they want real men who have genuine soul and kindness. Lola is a young woman with a lot of life (she wants to live) and is keener to experience the unpredictability of the night- rather than as sworded night in with her boy. Our girl gives more insight into her man and what he’s like. Someone that is too keen and clingy; whose mother does his washing- Lola is always going to be “that thing between them”. Not sure why this is- I guess there is too much of the mum in Lola; perhaps her son has been exaggerating things- you get an insight into domestic strife and disapproving relatives. Maybe the mother has false ideas of her son and wants a girlfriend that is more complicit and not as strong. Lola is an independent and brave girl that does not get controlled and dictated to. This has caused ructions with her man (and his mum); those sly and catty words- the mum is not out of earshot like she thinks- has compelled a song that is a fingers-up to the man and his stupidity. By the second chorus- and another chance to chant and sing that infectious slam- our girl seems even more compelled and fighting. “Oh no!” she states; wanting her man to get off his knees- I think it means he is begging rather than anything else that comes to mind- and get a grip. It is “not you it’s me”- in the sense our heroine needs better and wants to find something pure- and it is the “end of the road”. With a slightly patronising and kiss-off attitude; the song is given a bouncing and twanging bass line- it adds extra grit and spike to the words and creates an infectious undercurrent. At all stages the composition remains mobile and interchangeable: going where the lyrics need it to, you get emotional resonance and a cornucopia of ideas, genres and sounds- held together expertly to ably support Lola. With that choruses being repeated; that growing passion- our heroine is “all up in your business”- you are hypnotised and sucked into that wonderful vortex- before some Tango-themed piano notes bring the song down to a close.
It is hard to take Bad Girlfriend in on a single listen- I went back and forth to listen to words and music- as it is a staggeringly ambitious and impressive offering. So much passion and conviction comes out in an artist who is just starting out. That same confidence and authority the likes of Kelis, Dizzee’, and The Streets showed in their debuts; here we get a young artist who seems ready-made and fully-formed. Few singers have such an amazing urgency and talent so early. When she raps and rides there are no weaknesses; a phenomenally assured Rap artist you are amazed by the flows and rhymes. Lola’s voice is a stunningly vivid and emotional one- she is effortless when talking about sex and bad guys; sensitive topics and throwing zingers into the mix- and it makes Bad Girlfriend such a huge achievement. The songwriting is amazing throughout the track. The lyrics are as sharp and quotable as any I have heard this year. So many ideas are thrown in; there is a huge amount of imagery and possibility within the song. It is a track that will resonate with listeners and be familiar to some. Completely natural and modern-day it is that blend of contemporary and vintage that seduce. Whilst our heroine tweaks her voice- offering accentuations, accents; dips and dives- the composition mixes Latin/Tango dance with pulsating beats and tribal warfare. You get sound effects and wordless vocals; teasing strings and a huge amount of atmosphere and evocation. The production is ripe, clear and wonderfully assured: it ensures every beat and note is heard and clear; perfectly mixes each element to create a compelling song that is nuanced to hell. You keep repeating the song- drugged and hooked by the addictive sound and wonderment within- and you will need several spins just to get on top of things. A wonderfully confident assault from a fantastic young artist; there is no telling just how good she can get. Bad Girlfriend is rightfully being heralded and celebrated among music’s reviewers and lovers. If Lola Coca has given indications she is uncertain about herself- as a ‘singer’ per se and a rapper-then I am not sure why. As a vocalist she has a rich and gorgeous voice that drips with passion, emotion and strength- one of the fieriest and most soulful voices I have witnessed. She is easily capable of matching her heroines and influences- it is no hyperbole to say she could own the U.S. and dominate the charts- and seems completely limitless, untamed and unstoppable. A juggernaut slam that has honesty and truth- let’s hope the boy in question has been given his marching orders- it is an insight into a young woman who wants to be loved but not at the expense of her dignity. A modern icon that should be highlighted- rather than the vacuous and vanilla-weak we have doing the rounds- huge congratulations to the stunning Lola Coca- 2016 is going to be your year!
Few column inches have been dedicated to Lola Coca the musician. The heartbreaking model has been noted for her glorious cheekbones and immense beauty- it is something that is unavoidable and secondary to the music. Lola herself has said in interviews she wants some distance from modelling. In songs that wag fingers at G.Q. cover-featuring models/artists she can hardly deliver those messages with true conviction- being someone who features on magazines herself! The head-turning Londoner has already amazed the model world; she is making steps to seducing the music world too. Lola Coca is not your average Pop artist who offers sugary compositions among messages of immature boys and crocodile tears. Our heroine is someone that has her ears and eyes on vintage sounds- a lover of Jazz and old-skool Hip-Hop beats- she melts it into something contemporary and of-the-moment. The Amy Winehouse familiarities might not seem obvious upon first sight- the two are quite different as people- but that’s where you’d be wrong. Their musical ambitions and tastes are incredibly similar; that personality-mix and lovable nature is almost identical- don’t be surprised to see Lola making a similarly impressive charge for the music summit. Winehouse was that black-and-white movie heroine with an incredible voice; those Jazz/Soul workings backed lyrics showing heartache, love and loss in new light- tracks like Love Is a Losing Game and Back to Black have not been equaled by anyone since. Bad Girlfriend is a stunning track and one of the finest songs I have heard this year. I can imagine Lola expanding her sound to come up with something Winehouse-esque: backed by stunning horns and beats; a swaggering vocal that mixes ‘50s heartbreak with a f***-you kiss-off. Lola’s love of Hip-Hop and U.S. Rap could see her delve into something street-smart and London-esque. Imagine Dizzee and The Streets given a Lola-esque transformation: she has that ability and voice that could see her match the spit, flows and lacerated passion of our finest recent M.C.s. Take into mind Lola’s Pop flavours and Ska layers. That could be parlayed into something summer-vibed and sensual; a colourful Mark Ronson-esque composition that gets into the mind and provokes smiles and delirious feet-tapping.
She may have reservations and big boots to fill but she should have no fear- the next year will see her music developed and really explode. I would love to work with her in some way- helping to promote or interviewing her- as we have a rare artist that has a genuinely big future. That voice could pretty much conquer any territory she seeks; the variegated genre-fuse means she has an adaptable and utilitarian vehicle- able to traverse any landscape she wants. Being her first steps, it is always sage to reign things in and offer some reflection. There may be cynics that snort at the idea of a model-turned-singer seeking credibility and respect- think of some or her foresisters that have embarked down this road- but here is someone who was born to be a musician- modelling was sort of a happy accident; the result of incredible beauty. Before I complete things, I wanted to circle back (perhaps with greater relevance this time) to themes of U.K. Hip-Hop/Rap; originality and the need for distinction and individuality in music. On a side-note, I can see Lola Coca doing a mean and boss-woman version of Kelis’ Caught Out There– it seems a song that our heroine could give new life to and reinvent- it is impressive to see a young artist that instantly gets into the imagination. I am tired and depressed by the meek and vanilla Pop artists that have vapid personalities and senselessly slight sounds. Throw in new bands that can be copycats with a predictably lame look/sound- music that lacks balls, diversions and nuance- and you have a new music scene that has produced some variable quality this year. The best and most enduring artists are those that go the extra mile and let their personality shine. Having read interviews with Lola Coca; I was seduced by the voice of a young woman with such a relatable and lovable personality. She has no pretenses, needless profanity and shallowness. Articulate, funny and hugely intelligent; there is vulnerability, shyness and sensitive in there too. You get a young woman who has a natural edge to her- quite bold and brash when she needs to be- who always brings it down to earth when she talks of music, passion and the future. Bad Girlfriend is a song that is receiving serious kudos and some admiring sighs-knowing we have a wonderful proposition on our hand. I am not sure whether Lola has a man in her life; it seems like she has encountered the wrong sort of boys- someone that perhaps is addicted to the bad-boy types; those that will always let her down. When it comes to her music, perhaps that naïve and understandable typecasting is good for her music- if it can produce some Kelis/Winehouse-esque confessions and stunners; then keep it up! With regards the future, maybe settle for a nice guy who will take good care; someone who can provide substance and dependability- and inspire new songwriting themes and personality stability. There are some great Hip-Hop/Rap artists coming through yet few white female types. It may seem like a stereotype to say that the best Rap and Hip-Hop emerges from black artists- and especially acts out of the U.S. – but it is certainly more common. It is great to see the likes of Lola Coca come through with genuine passion and authority for what she does. Best of luck to the stunning Londoner and let’s hope the following year offers her happiness, opportunities and stunning achievements. I know there is an album in her mind; she has firepower and enormous passion for what she does. The music world is crammed with young artists all wanting to make her name; it is hard to dig down and see which ones are worth a second look. The Southsea-born heroine will want to focus on Bad Girlfriend and how it does- before looking too far ahead to new music and next year- but I know how well she will do. If you have not heard Lola Coca then involve yourself in her music and spread the word- get those social media numbers flowing and growing- and watch a brave and stunning young artist embark upon her career. With such an original artistry and fantastic support behind her it is only a matter of time before…
SHE is a household name.
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