maandag 30 augustus 2010

Artist Recommendation: My Brightest Diamond

My Brightest Diamond is the project of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden. I will refer to My Brightest Diamond as 'she' because it's all about Shara.

Shara has the ability to create a fantasy world out of her music. Her lyrics are very visual (which means you can close your eyes and the song turns into a movie), her voice is enchanting and the use of instruments is sublime. And more than anything, Shara isn't afraid to try something new. That explains why you can hear her voice on several Jedi Mind Tricks and Vinnie Paz (hip-hop) songs, which makes for an unexpected but amazing combination of two entirely different genres of music.

I should start at the beginning. For me, the beginning is the song To Pluto's Moon, which is a hauntingly beautiful song about a lost love. "Why did you go like this?... I slam against the wall... It's crushing my skull... Why did you go like this?... I slam against the wall of permanence... permanence... permanence..." Long before I was able to understand My Brightest Diamond's music, I was drawn to this song. I played it again and again. I had just gotten into an amazing relationship, there was no reason for me to play sad love songs, but this song illustrated my fears - what would happen to me if I would lose my love. I would go crazy. A very powerful song indeed.
Then I started to appreciate the song Inside A Boy. Who wouldn't? It's very touching. "Inside a boy, I found the universe... And in his eyes are a thousand stars, on a dark sky..." See, if I would say this in real life, people would think I was crazy and obsessed. But Shara makes the words magical, she's like a fairy, she makes it ok to say it.
Both of the songs described above are from the album A Thousand Shark's Teeth, which is My Brightest Diamond's most recent album (from 2008). It contains many other musical pieces of art, such as Like A Sieve, Ice And The Storm, If I Were Queen, Bass Player and bonus track The Gentlest Gentleman. But I should warn you: these songs are really, really hard to understand. Not so much the lyrics, but the overall picture they sketch. I would strongly recommend to listen to MBD's first album Bring Me The Workhorse before listening to A Thousand Shark's Teeth.

Bring Me The Workhorse is in my opinion not as amazing and fragile as A Thousand Shark's Teeth, but it's easier to listen to. For example, Something Of An End is a nice rock song that you don't have to understand to appreciate it. Gone Away is a song about loss, a song you'll relate to whether you've lost a life or a love. An excerpt from the lyrics, is: "I have saved every piece of paper, like grocery lists and note cards, to-do lists and race scores, so just in case you change your mind and come back, I've kept everything safe... While you're gone away, where there isn't a telephone wire... Still I wait by the phone... You don't even write to say goodbye... Goodbye..."
Freak Out is a surprisingly uptempo song, you could almost play this at a party. It's strange but it works. The Good & The Bad Guy and The Workhorse are both pretty amazing, they're completely different songs but they have the same level of awesomeness. I never really paid attention to the song Disappear, until I heard the String Quartet Version that appears on the Disappear EP. You should track down the cover of that EP by the way, because it's a really gorgeous photograph.

Then there are the non-album tracks. I pretty much own all of them, because I get real obsessive-compulsive when it comes to this type of music. I would strongly recommend Feeling Good from the Dark Was The Night compilation CD. This is a cover-song, but as can be expected from Shara - she makes it her own. Hymne A L'Amour from the Top Of The World EP is also an amazing cover-song, the original was written and recorded by Edith Piaf.
Also, the collaborations with Jedi Mind Tricks I mentioned before are songs I strongly recommend. Especially Razorblade Salvation, from the album Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell. It gives me the chills every time I hear it. It's hip-hop at its best, combined with the most beautiful voice in music right now.

Shara Worden has also released a solo CD named Word (under the name Shara), but I've never been able to track that down. She's also released several CD's with the group AwRY, I haven't listened to those CD's yet but I will buy them because I will love them. I already know.

A last note: don't listen to the remix albums (such as The Shark Remixes and Tear It Down) because they make the music sound ridiculous.

I hope you will check out my recommended songs by My Brightest Diamond. If you do, please let me know what you think of them.

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