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Martina Makes God Turn Blue

Posted by Scotio on May 8, 2008

Martina Topley-Bird originally started out as a protégé/singer for the Trip-Hop pioneer mastermind Tricky. She was featured heavily on his album, Maxinquaye, and lightly on albums thereafter. Not to mention she had a child by the man. In 2003, she released her first album Quixotic which was retitled Anything in the US and missing a track or two. In 2008, she pushes out her second solo release titled The Blue God which was produced by the in high demand Danger Mouse(of Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley & The Grey Album fame). This album is more uplifting in sound than her debut . . . not that it’s a good nor a bad thing. Starting things off, she brings out “Phoenix.” It’s a track that blends in the two sounds that her and DM are known for. Featuring his organ work and drum machine orchestration & her silken milky smooth vocals and haunting layers of those vocals, it shows a marriage of sounds that is beautiful in every sense of the word. Following that is her lead single “Carnies.” With it’s retro 60’s pop sound and it’s 80’s digital keyboard input, this song sounds timeless and, somewhat, out of place in today’s market. Fans of Martina would question this song upon first hearing it. Though, once a good two to three times of listening kicks in, you’ll realize she made a great choice in placing this on the album. Giving a more free spirit feeling and less melancholy, even though the wordplay might suggest otherwise(depending on your feelings towards Carnies). “Baby Blue” rides on the wave that “Carnies” creates. Giving a very retro sound to the whole thing, it’s clear that she/they aren’t relying on the 80’s like most others of today. This song and “Shangri-La” sound like they would have been more comfortable in the 50’s than they would on today’s radio scene. Still, it’s very refreshing to have her vocal ability come to the forefront and not fighting it’s way amongst a sea of musical layers. “Yesterday” is the most digital song on the whole release. Featuring sounds that Martina is definitely more noticeable for. With the Caribbean-styled bass and digital glitches abundant, it’s like if Tricky watched too many episodes of Star Trek and had Martina featured on the track. Clearly the gem of the gem of the entire piece is the track “Something To Say.” Starting off with electronic static set to a pattern, and followed by an acoustic guitar, then the rest of the instruments. The song continues without vocals for over a minute into the song. Once the leading lady comes on, the song’s structure begins to change to a more upbeat tempo and mood. Sounding more like a Gorillaz track than one that one would originally associate to Topley-Bird, it’s a brilliant and amazing tune. Fully of hips-sway inducing melodies and an acoustic guitar riff akin to that of the Gorillaz’s “El Mañana” song. This album is gorgeous, but it’s no Quixotic. So, if anyone is expecting that, you’ll be greatly disappointed. But, it is encouraged that you open your mind, your range, and your ears to Martina allowing Martina to have more fun this time around.




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