Sweet Lily Love – FRESH! – EP Review
As many of you fantastic music-makers know firsthand, there’s a thrilling abundance of creative freedom that comes along with the label of ‘experimental’ – and more or less, you get to dictate your own rules. Which is awesome when it comes right down to it…and though this really should be the case when it comes to the art & craft at large, as many of you also know, that’s not necessarily how it goes. You start heading into a specific genre, making a certain style of music, or even get a couple records under your belt and all of a sudden the expectations of others begin to creep in, invade, and infringe upon your ability to be as creative as you wanna be. I listen to an artist like Sweet Lily Love and my first thoughts really all revolve around how blissful and FUN music can be when you’re not chained to any specifics, or any standards of any kind really – she’s making her own rules and ready to blaze her own trail, and you betcha – I love that attitude, mindset, and approach when it comes to being an artist.
Especially when you’re first starting out too! I mean…good gravy-boat lighthouse, we’ve all got TONS of time to get jaded by the music industry, but it’s definitely not the way you wanna begin your career as an artist. Some of you out there have tuned into our latest episode of the SBS Podcast by now, and if you did, you got to hear a song called “Drum Machine Joy” that would not only have introduced the music of Sweet Lily Love to a few of ya, but likely provided an energy to your day like caffeine X1000. I really wanted to kick the show off with this particular track though – I think it speaks volumes on behalf of who Sweet Lily Love really IS, and the…well…”Drum Machine Joy” she’s discovered as an artist making her debut this year. Not only is there a ton of incredible creativity comin’ atcha with blazing speed and a whole digital melody to dig on, but LISTEN to the words…moments like where she’d sing something like “the evil spell of sadness has been broken” really sounded sincere to me…isn’t that a direct reference to the power of music if you’ve ever heard one? To me it’s as plain as day – while there’s no doubt that a lot of what’s being sung would apply to many of you, let’s be real here – a lot of what we write as artists is totally projection too…and I felt like, if there was a song that really represented who Sweet Lily Love is and how making music has currently changed her daily LIFE…then surely, “Drum Machine Joy” was it. Anyhow. Beyond all my theories, there’s a whole lot of skill & imagination combined in this debut EP as well – Sweet Lily Love is extraordinarily creative, inventive, and innovative in the way she makes music – and if anything, “Drum Machine Joy” proved to me that she’s here to play by her OWN rules…and that’s awesome. We’ve all heard some form of digitalized Electro music in our lives…I’ve got a whole catalog of everything in my head from ambient to EDM to IDM, soundtracks and more all roaming around in my dome…and I can wholeheartedly say, Sweet Lily Love does indeed, sound FRESH! – and I’m lovin’ it! I don’t necessarily need everything to be perfect in life…just passionate – and she is most certainly that.
Perspective is such an interesting thing to possess…and deep inside, we’ve all got some – but Love’s got plenty. Like I was tellin’ ya…we’re in a no-rules situation here – and I’m not gonna be the guy that tells her she can do this or that – she can do whatever the heck she freakin’ wants to do as far as I’m concerned…I’m just here to listen and provide whatever insight I can. For me, not only did I think “Drum Machine Joy” was a fantastic introduction to Sweet Lily Love and the wild amount of supremely colorful sound she’s rockin’ with – but it’s also what I’d consider to completely be single-worthy vibes on the inside of whatever our definition of ‘experimental’ might be. So to me…that’s honestly the single on FRESH! and one of the most enticing cuts that’ll lead people into the record…the gateway, so to speak. From Sweet Lily’s perspective, she’s got tracks like “Raver’s Medley” and her debut’s second cut called “Little Kandi Raver” as the lead cuts out there bringing in the people…and while I’m not here to dispute those choices, I do think it’s more a matter of what we listen to, what SHE listens to herself, and also a dose of how she’s looking to be heard by the listeners out there as well. As in, “Little Kandi Raver” might very well be a more accurate depiction of the artist she’s looking to be when it comes to the art of her music makin’ – and if that’s the case, heck, I’ve got nothing but high-fives and accolades for Sweet Lily Love. This life is all about staying true to yourself, staying true to who you are, and getting the best you can outta this one experience we’ve all got – so rock the freak ON I say Sweet Lily! There’s no doubt in my mind that a track like “Little Kandi Raver” demands a whole lot more from the listening ears out there…that’s kind of the objective reality, coming from a dude that’s much further removed from it than the person that created it…but by that same token, assuming that y’all SURVIVE this onslaught of nuclear energy in audible form…chances are, if you’re digging what you hear, you know for a definitive fact that you’ll generally love the rest of what Sweet Lily Love is bringing to her music as well – make sense? It is a LOT…this track is EXTRA AF as the kids would say…and I’m no stranger to the threshold of what the people out there can tend to handle – there’s no way that a track like “Little Kandi Raver” is going to be for EVERYONE…but as I like to remind ya, there’s really no music that IS. And if that IS truly the case (which again, it IS), then all you artists out there SHOULD feel as unencumbered and willing to blaze your OWN trail just as much as you’ll find in the expressive sound of Sweet Lily Love. “Little Kandi Raver” IS the sound of an artist embracing their moment in time, having fun, and making the magic happen…and if YOU happen to dig on what she’s coming up with, I can guarantee she’ll be stoked to supply you with MORE of it. This is where her story starts – but it’s very far from where it’s going to end.
It’s funny how music can BURN itself into your brain. When I was like…hmmm…probably around eighteen or so, back when I had first moved out on my own with some roommates & whatnot – my bedroom was located below a really bizarre living situation directly over my head on the floor above. Get this…it was a lady, her boyfriend, and her EX-husband…all living together under one roof because that made the rent that much more affordable…to which I was like, yeah – but at WHAT COST? Anyhow. The lady was an EARLY riser…I’m talking in the like, four-thirty to five-thirty A.M. range, because she was a store opener at the front counter of a McDonald’s on the breakfast shift. She would BLAST…and I’m typin’ ALL-CAPS here because I cannot express BLAST as accurately enough in words to give you the full scope of what I really mean…but she would BLAST Elvis at max volume, every single day, like the rest of the world didn’t even exist. So every morning…like it or not, there I was…almost held hostage, because so much of Elvis really isn’t my thing at all…but regardless of how I felt, I got my full education on the King’s music every morning before most of you even had your hashbrowns in-hand. So don’t get me wrong…that’s a LOT to take in, and I’m off on a tangent here…but I suppose this is all a roundabout way of saying that, it is not at all lost on me, despite its digitally altered, audible disguise, that a song like “Tekkno Wonderland” actually borrow a sonic metric ton from “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” Thankfully, it remains one of the only Elvis tunes that I actually have any time for still to this very day…but yep, there it is – right at the core of the melody in this cut by Sweet Lily Love, his influence remains a presence even now, and continues to be found in the strangest corners of our music filled world. OBVIOUSLY, I will take a thousand copies of Sweet Lily Love’s “Tekkno Wonderland” before I have to spin through one more Elvis tune based on the aforementioned story of me never getting any sleep past 5 A.M. every day for about a savage year or more straight – but truly, that IS a timeless melody by every conceivable definition…and if y’ain’t hearing the influence of Elvis on Sweet Lily Love’s third track from FRESH! then you need to spend a year underneath a lady that really loves the King like I did to get a proper education in music that I had to did. In any event – I LOVE cuts like this that can take an influence, twist it in a million directions, most of which would fly right by the average every day listener, and make a listening experience that much more rewarding for those of us that have spent our lives between the headphones and liner notes – “Tekkno Wonderland” is without question one of my favorite cuts on FRESH! & I felt like Sweet Lily Love nailed how to make something old brand-new again. Off-the-charts energy, stellar melody, brilliant structure, wild dynamism…all that great stuff is in the mix here for ya.
At less than 2:40, “The Beat 666” flies by pretty quickly as the record’s shortest cut…and I’m probably inclined to say it might be one of the more static vibes & moments you’ll find on the EP, which makes it a smart choice to keep it short & concise. To me, “The Beat 666” was a lot more about the incredible vocals and the clever lyricism of Sweet Lily Love on display than it was about the music this time around – and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, it’s just a different approach & result is all. Very much rockin’ the pulse and the “Drum Machine Joy” we already know she loves – “The Beat 666” is driven by its ultra-repetitive nature and energy…and arguably, sound-wise, there’s a lot less meat on the bone in this particular cut by comparison to the rest of what you’ll experience on the EP overall. Again, nothin’ wrong with that, just the reality of what we’re hearing. What I really like is that Sweet Lily Love isn’t rocking this track like it is THE track of ALL tracks – which is a misstep that a lot of artists tend to make in their debut work…not every cut we’re ever going to write & record NEEDS to be the standard 3:30 to get its way onto the radio…some moments in time are exactly that and should be – a moment, and nothing more. “The Beat 666” still has plenty of texture and the energy you know & love in what Sweet Lily Love creates – but it’s not trying to be anything that it shouldn’t be either, you feel me? It’s a straightforward moment…a song that is what it is…and largely, what you’ll hear at the start is what you’ll hear at the end as well. In between those poles, she cranks up the beat and the energy…and that’s all well & good – but again, to me…above all things…I think what hit me the hardest wasn’t the beat at all – it’s the audible FACT that Sweet Lily Love actually has a tremendous singing voice too…and now I want a lot MORE of it.
As IF a track like “Wicked Woman” doesn’t speak for itself when you hear it! I can practically just take this paragraph off, put my feet up, and tell ya to listen…because I really don’t need to advocate on behalf of something that everyone out there can hear (but I will!). So…here’s the objective reality…I know…”Wicked Woman” is going to still be a tall ask of the average listener out there…it’s a LOT of sound, and it’s as restless & shifty as you’d expect a track to be that includes samples of King Of The Hill and Bugs Bunny in the mix…Sweet Lily Love is rockin’ for the advanced class now, whether you can keep up to her or not, as so she should be. She is FLEXIN’ SERIOUS AUDIBLE MUSCLES here that will KICK YOUR ASS RIGHT INSIDE OUT though…and that should be noted! Consider yourselves warned and turn this track up with CAUTION…because no matter what you’ve read from me so far, y’ain’t ready for it, even now. LISTEN to the grind of the guitar sample she’s worked in around the forty-second mark though will ya? I can never get enough of it…to me, that’s where I end up LOVING “Wicked Woman” beyond my own control and mental capacity…and Sweet Lily just kept on fueling the fire from there. LISTEN to the voice on this track will ya? At first I was like, she’s got this…this purposely Classic Rock edge to her voice that’s like…well that’s the raddest thing you’ve heard this side of Joplin, or Heart back when they were still fired-up and kicking all the ass themselves ain’t it? Then I realized this HAD to be stripped right out of the era. Turns out, it’s from a sample of a band called Coven and their original track called “Wicked Woman” – which admittedly, I should have probably known. It’s cuts just like “Wicked Woman” that prove Love can do SO MUCH when it comes to the art of making music – including teach ME a few things! The possibilities are endless for an artist like Sweet Lily Love. What FRESH! as a whole proves, is that she’s got the courage, confidence, spirit, and desire to potentially try doing everything & anything…so believe me when I tell ya…her future ain’t just looking bright, it’s 100% freakin’ sparkling. Now I’m wondering if the other tracks with vocals were Sweet Lily Love or someone else…and if I should go back & rewrite this whole review? Meh…I’m cool with thinking out loud in real-time with all of you.
So…here we are…arriving at “The Beat 666 (Uncle Al’s Fully Extended Version)” – which is, for the most part, a very popped-up & pepped up version of the original cut we’d heard before in the middle of this record. Who is “Uncle Al” you ask? Good question! I have my theory…and it seems to tie-in with the title of this track as well…I believe the sample at the very beginning of this “Extended Version” actually comes from Aleister Crowley, does it not? And to go even further down the rabbit hole with ya…I think the sample might even come from an old spoken word record called The Great Beast Speaks…am I getting this right Sweet Lily? I feel like I recognize it…and that might very well be because I actually sampled some of that record too way back in the day when I was still making music myself. I could be wrong, but that’s the theory I’m goin’ with. In any event, not only do I think that’s a large part of what makes this cut super rad and draws me in to listen – but once that sample completes its spoken word part at the start of this cut, I’d imagine the majority of the people out there will listen to this track and likely find it’s one of the most accessible to be found on FRESH! – I could see many of ya diggin’ on this. Justifiably so too…I ain’t slightin’ ya with that comment…”The Beat 666 (Uncle Al’s Fully Extended Version)” is playful, fun, and pretty much universally appealing in many ways…I might be more partial to the rest surrounding it myself, but I appreciate that Sweet Lily Love has taken a moment here to throw some of the rest of you an audible bone and keep ya listening with a more easily digestible sonic palette. This fine lady should be praised for her gifted production and the uniqueness of her ideas on display all throughout FRESH! though I tells ya, this set of seven tracks is genuinely something else to experience.
I’m not at all ashamed to admit I probably looped “Ravers Medley” on repeat for what felt like hours and hours, and continued to do that many more times throughout this past week or so while I’ve been checkout out Sweet Lily Love’s debut record. And I’ll admit…I felt like…hmm…I felt like this last track isn’t NORMALLY my thing…but then I’m sitting here, on like, hour twenty of listening to this ONE SONG over and over…and realizing just how very much this IS my thing, or at least how much Sweet Lily Love has made this BECOME my thing as I listened to her FRESH! EP. “Ravers Medley” is one of those truly oddball tunes that the more you hear it, the more you’ll dig it…the inexplicable magic of music and the effect of repetition I suspect…whatever it is, she’s got me hooked on this last track like it’s made of audible CRACK now, and I ain’t the rehab type. I’ll just quit something when I’m good and ready…and that’ll be a long, long time after I stop writing this review, that I can promise ya…I’m like, 100% addicted to that vocal sample and how Love has twisted & morphed the sound into its chipmunk-esque sound. Beyond that, “Ravers Medley” has a whole lot of interesting layers of melody at work, clever composition, and uniqueness abound once again…more subtle than where the record first started with the pounding of “Drum Machine Joy,” but somehow not a single ounce less passionate or creative. I’m not just excited about Sweet Lily Love’s new record – but I’m seriously excited FOR her as well…I know what it’s like to catch the desire to make music and find this kind of outlet for creative expression & art combined, as do many of you out there reading & listening along as well. It’s a moment in life that’s ultimately beyond compare…and a feeling that’s even more addictive than any one song could ever be. I think artists with the level of creative capacity and audible fearlessness that Sweet Lily Love has should be encouraged to the nth degree…not that they need it…not from me, or anyone else really – but I’m sure that confirmation is still a nice thing to have. No friends…Sweet Lily Love is gonna be just fine with or without us…everything about FRESH! is all the proof any set of ears would need to know she’s every bit as hooked on this whole music thing as much as we are…she’s gonna be around for a very long time. This set-list speaks volumes on behalf of how capable she is when it comes to keepin’ ya entertained.
Learn more about Sweet Lily Love by following the links below!
Official Website: https://sweetlily.love
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