The best music of the week is from singer Naaz, who is suddenly back

Singer NaazImage rv

Hello Robert. What should we listen to this week?

‘Do you remember Naaz? The singer from Gorinchem was discovered at the age of 16 and made a big hit at such a young age, with the DJ collective Yellow Claw. catch me was streamed more than 60 million times. After that she got quite hyped. In 2018, she was, among other things, VolkskrantPop talent of the year, she was a 3FM talent and also won two Edisons. What a career start, then. However, things went wrong afterwards: Naaz completely disappeared from the music industry, and hardly anyone knew where she had gone.

‘Until now. Naaz is back with the album Never have I ever (★★★★☆, 13 tracks). Her previous albums mainly contained fine pop songs, but this album is a bit more cross-cutting, more indie. Still, I like e.g. the cheerful pop songs on it Subliminal message. Also the number Azadi that she sings in Kurdish and can be read in English is amazing and tells a lot about her life.

‘Thanks to the very nice music podcast Track from 3FM we also know how Naaz fared in recent years. She took quite a beating in her personal life and from the music industry. She tells this on the basis of her title track Never have I everwhich she dissects very cleverly in the podcast.

‘First she was completely praised as a youngster and then written in the ground, that’s how it felt to her. It happened, among other things, after a less than good show at Eurosonic in Groningen, which I was there, and which was actually not good. And I wrote that down too. She talks very funny about it, but you also feel her struggle with the music industry, with her place in it and all the ups and downs.

‘About two years later she disappeared from the music world, got married and trained as a pet sitter. Until she, thanks to that one song Never have I ever, but released another album. The song came about during a session with some friends and a producer who hoped she would give the music another chance.

‘In the song, she sings about everything she’s been struggling with lately, but especially her relationship. The song changed her life, she says; she broke off the relationship, stopped her education and decided to go back into music. Naaz commands admiration for her courage and the way she has now put music to the struggles of her life. ‘

Sounds good. What else do you guess?

‘The plate Lines in Levee (★★★★☆, 11 tracks) by Town Mountain is only now out on vinyl due to problems with the record press, while it has been available for streaming since October. Still, I’ll discuss it now because I’ve been putting the album on every day for a few weeks now.

‘I think that means it’s a good record, although I can’t quite say why. It’s just very good American songs, with banjo and fiddle and therefore a lot of bluegrass, country and early rock and roll. The cool thing is that Town Mountain actually sounds quite like the legendary band The Band, who also changed lead singers per

comeback boy is a nice number. It’s about the village where the singer grew up and where he returns for a performance that unfortunately goes wrong because he smokes too strong a joint backstage. Also René is lovely: a simple but tearful love song. A case of ‘I’m always away, always on tour, but the longer I’m away from you, the more I love you’. Very tacky of course and not original, but still romantic.’

This is also worth listening to this week:

Things did not go well for singer Esperanza Spalding and pianist Fred Hersch when they released their live CD Live at the Village Vanguard (★★★★☆, 8 tracks) recordings. Perhaps it was precisely this discomfort that made them go to extremes, writes Gijsbert Kamer, because both the vocals and the piano sound fantastically good.’

on Child of sin (★★★★☆, 10 songs) Dutch singer Kovacs’ theatricality gets plenty of space, according to Pablo Cabenda: ‘With just the right sense of drama, Kovacs tells his stories at the crossroads between pop and musical theatre’.

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