Happy New Year!
Music Is Happiness and We All Need a Happy 2023!
Happy 2023! We mean this not just as a saying but as a mantra for the next 12 months. If you are anything like us, chances are that you have put happiness on the back burner while the last three years unfolded with all their unprecedented events.
However, if you look closely, nothing has really been unprecedented except the speed at which information spreads – good and bad, true and false, helpful and useless. That’s why managing that influx of other people's thoughts, who often have their own commercial agenda, is at the core of a happy new year.
glamglare wants to help with that. For Elke and me, art and music, in particular, are major sources of happiness and inspiration. That is why we have been running the blog for more than seven years, and we would like you to join us here to “enjoy life through music.”
Of course, music is not always uplifting and happy by itself – in fact, many songs explicitly deal with difficult emotions. However, what can always inspire is the power of the human spirit. The force that drives people to express themselves through art despite becoming more vulnerable and often not being compensated adequately.
At glamglare, we believe this force becomes even stronger when you look beyond the bling and glitz of the top 40. That is why we will continue to curate our Song Pick of the Day series without consideration of streaming numbers or social following.
We are implementing a few changes, though. For this newsletter, we introduce a more concise format for the Song Pick of the Day section and provide a new weekly YouTube playlist that includes videos (if available). Unfortunately, we need to give up the Apple Music playlist for technical reasons, but we will continue to support Spotify.
We have been following popular music since the 80s. Hence this will be another focus on rediscovering artists, albums, and other art-related events from the past decades and putting them into a contemporary context.
glamglare will remain fiercely music-centered, but we want to expand our scope to other topics that make us – and hopefully you, too – happy. While we do not know where exactly this is going, it likely will include other art forms, food, and events, mainly from and around New York City, where we live.
In the end, all we can hope for is that it will be a small happy moment for you when our newsletter pops up in your mailbox every Monday morning. Either way, we wish you a very happy and prosperous new year filled with lots of music and joy.
Song Pick of the Day
Listen and watch all seven songs on YouTube. Follow our daily updated playlists on YouTube and Spotify for the 50 latest Song Picks of the Day.
The first week of the year is challenging for a song-per-day pattern. New releases have almost dried out for a few weeks, and we have to go back as far as November to find some candidates. And so, even though I was reluctant to start the year with a breakup song, I found SOFY with “btw“ - a beautiful story of saying goodbye because a relationship just does not work anymore. Max Doud, a rising 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Rochester, NY, has similar thoughts in his new song “Overdue.”
Next up, “Love Money” is more what we expect from a prosperous new year. With that title, Toronto singer/songwriter Ciara Leah made an entire EP full of jazzy and funky joy. Then stay uplifted with “Clouds,” a shimmering synth-pop track by LA singer, songwriter, and producer Starya. NYC singer/songwriter Will Epstein takes us deeper with his new song “Oyster Bay” about “a quest to uncover what’s hidden around and inside us.” He also announced his new album Wendy for February 3 on Fat Possum.
Irish singer/songwriter Niamh McKinney sings in “The Price“ about how feeling guilty can become an integral part of life. It is a song of haunted beauty that shines with its smooth arrangement and vocals. In contrast, “Anything” by Frankie Rose is classic, upbeat synth-pop. The NYC and LA-based artist has been around for a while in the indie scene and is preparing to release her new album Love As Projection, on March 10 via Slumberland Records.
Closing out this week’s playlist is Tess LeBlanc from Vancouver, Canada. The harpist is fascinated by the moon and tells an old Chinese legend in her ethereal synth-pop track “Moon Maiden.”
Most people think of Kraftwerk when talking about influential German music, but there were others, like the trio Liaisons Dangereuses. Founded – like Kraftwerk – in Düsseldorf, they only released a sole, self-titled album of gritty, hard-hitting synth-pop created on now iconic instruments like the Korg MS-20. While never in the charts, they had a remarkable underground success.
Liaisons Dangereuses was an unusual band for the time: not only sang Krishna Goineau in French and Spanish, but with Beate Bartel they also had a woman playing the synths – a rare sight in the 80s. Third member Chrislo Haas has been a hero in the German electronic music scene but also a tragic figure: he died at 47 from alcohol abuse.
Of course, I knew nothing of that when a friend at school let me listen to the single “Los Niños Del Parque” on his disc man (a costly gadget back then). I was fascinated with the relentless sequenced bassline and a take-no-prisoners beat that features snare hits like stabs in the heart. There are more gems on the record that take you to a very dark place and serve as a good reminder that the 80s were – from a societal and geopolitical perspective – not at all a “good old time.”
Watch Liaisons Dangereuses live in 1982 in Manchester in surprisingly good quality: