Since the new album by Newton Faulkner is out tomorrow (20th November 2015), I thought I would celebrate it a little bit by doing a sneaky little review (seeing as I have already streamed and been listening to the album constantly for the past few days anyway).
‘Human Love’ is Newton’s fifth studio album and the first single from it is a cover of Major Lazer’s 2012 hit Get Free.
I have purchased the special edition of the album (to add to my collection – see below a photo montage from the Write It on Your Skin tour at the Metro Theatre back in April 2013) and am eagerly awaiting its arrival (even though I have already listened to the new album basically on repeat for the last two days).
(Yep, that’s right, proper fan girl – got him tea from Sydney – @ The Metro Theatre, April 2013).
After taking a two year hiatus (the previous album Studio Zoo can be streamed on Spotify here https://play.spotify.com/album/4jtLv6EpO6u6Jo9LKQO880)
‘Human Love’ is Newton’s latest venture; something that will resonate with people, previous fans and newcomers alike; back with a beautiful development of his sound from the early releases (see ‘Sketches’ EP https://play.spotify.com/album/7lAF2MKNHUUDMiipYOwkH8 – ‘From the Bars’ is an amazing track).
The mark of a good musician is being able to develop your sound in such a way that is still indicative of your style and I believe that Newton does this flawlessly in this new album.
It’s funny when people ask you about your favourite musicians; I have a list of the people who inspire me with the music that I write and play, people who I enjoy to listen to when I am working that keep me focused and music that makes me reflect and chill out.
‘Human Love’ has an unimpeachable mix of highs and lows; it is an amazing album to listen to from start to finish because it almost feels like you are being told a story. My favourite albums have captivating feature – you want to keep listening because you just want to know what happens next; the next chapter of the story.
Starting with the punchy cover of ‘Get Free’ by Major Lazer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JLK02Fgyn4; Newton grabs your attention both musically and visually in this piece with the symbolic cutting of his infamous dreads in the clip – I think this is a fantastic statement and a solid beginning for this album. I absolutely love the Major Laser version of this song, but I think Newton’s cover does it justice and then some (may have a slight bias as I have also covered this song – but he does an amazing job).
The catchy beat and melodic guitar riffs of ‘Up up and away’ (track two) contrast the grimy sounds notable in the cover of ‘Get Free’. A beautiful and very Newton-esque track ‘Break’ slows down the pace of the album when you reach it at track six. Strategically contrasted with a exquisitely upbeat track to follow; ‘Far to Fall’ has probably one of the most amazing bridge and choruses I have heard in a long time; I can’t wait to dance around like an idiot to this track – it’s just so much fun. ‘Far to Fall’ for me is just one of those tracks that spur images of warm summer days, dancing around with your friends. It is like the sound track to moving on, being better and all the opportunities that we have in our lives – feel good – it’s so amazing (and like on repeat throughout my work day).
‘Gone’ is a track just packed full of amazing lyrics – probably one of the most inspiring tracks on the album for me and the kind of lyrics that you will keep in your head all day. ‘Everything happens for a reason, I’ve heard or so they tell me’; ‘Every now and then you see the magic in the air that makes you wonder’ – my only criticism is that 2:28 is way too short for such an amazing track, but maybe that is what makes it so good *plays on repeat again*.
The addition of more evident drumbeats in this album compared to previous works is something that makes me really excited to listen to songs from it performed live – not that all acoustic isn’t great, it is just a great additional element that adds so much depth to the performance. I wouldn’t go as far to say it is ‘heavier’ than previous albums, but there is definitely a great deal of development in the sound that is trying to be achieved in this album.
The second title track from ‘Human Love’, evidently called ‘Human Love’ is an impeccable way to end the album; the chilled out vibe and vocal harmonizing in the chorus reiterates the amazing talents of Newton as a musician, beyond his captivating lyrical arrangements (and side note, its a really cute, couple-y we can do anything if we have each other song as well – which i’m definitely in to at the moment 😉
My favourite tracks so far include (these are the ones to watch out for):
Track 6 – Break
Track 7 – Far to Fall (seriously this song just makes me want to dance)
Track 9 – Gone
‘Human Love’ will definitely be up there in one of my top 10 albums of 2015 – keep an eye out for this post before the end of the year!
Newton’s music has always resonated with me in such an amazing way. I wanted to quickly just touch on two of my favourite songs off some of his earlier works as well (now that I have your attention with this fantastically constructed blog post review).
‘Orange Skies’ (Studio Zoo, 2013) was a bit of an unlikely favourite for me. A track talking evidently about coming home to London, it was always a track that I liked, but I didn’t quite understand it until I started travelling around myself; then moving over to the other side of the world – from Sydney to Oxford. Even though London isn’t technically my home, this track makes me appreciate the beauty of the city and how it might just feel a little bit more like my home now as well. The feeling of coming home after you have been travelling, whether that home is to Sydney or Oxford or London this track perfectly evokes that feeling for me. https://play.spotify.com/track/54EtaDle7MJrJ1tt360o3z
‘Pick Up Your Broken Heart’ (Write It On Your Skin 2012) is (as Newton refers to in the commentary track, linked on Spotify below) something that resonates with so many people and it really is such a truth that so many people (clearly, including me) can relate to. It’s the perfect epitome of how you feel when a relationship is ending ‘embrace your future; kiss your past goodbye’.
Although it could be bittersweet, the track actually reminds me of all the support that I had from my friends and family when I went through a bad breakup; it was a nice reminder to myself that there are always people there – I was not the first person to get my heart broken and I shan’t be the last.
Pick up your broken heart commentary: https://play.spotify.com/track/5ScIGb5Uc3r5B7g1Wnq4yK
Pick up your broken heart track: https://play.spotify.com/track/18OR0UuBLLjYQME504OHuW
A final note (some shameless photos) and something that I admire (and always have) about Newton as a performer (and person) is how down to earth he is. After two separate gigs in Sydney, he hung around for a chat and a photo with me and my mum (note my fantastic changes in hair colour – completely different now as well).
^ Wollongong University – Sometime in 2012? I think. I can remember the venue, just not the exact time, but judging by the colour of my hair, i’m going to say 2012-ish.
^ The Oxford Art Factory – Sydney (I think this may have been 2013/14 – should keep better tabs on these gig dates)
Newton @ The Metro Theatre – Sydney April 2013. First photo of Newton on stage and second one taken by my lovely friend Christian in some horrible alleyway near the Metro.
This gig my mum didn’t attend so we couldn’t get our customary photo with Newton, but I did gift him some tea and got my Ukulele signed, because I’m a proper fan girl. Excuse the horrible photo – I remember I was in such a rush that night we almost missed the last train home from Sydney.
Overall, ‘Human Love’ is an album that tells an amazing story and something that I am confidently going to be playing on repeat for a *very* long time and I am super stoked that I have my limited edition signed copy coming for me when it is released tomorrow!
This album is an amazing fifth installment of one of my favourite musicians – listen to the album in full here – take it from me you won’t be disappointed!- http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/18/listen-to-our-exclusive-album-stream-of-newton-faulkners-human-love-5509778/
Buy it here (there should be a special edition with bonus acoustic tracks as well, I’m pretty sure) – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/human-love/id1039852753
Buy tickets to upcoming shows here (UK) (I already have my tickets for the show in Oxford and look forward to seeing it (and writing up another review!) – http://listings.ticketmaster.co.uk/newton-faulkner-2016
“Don’t be afraid of the dark, cause that where dreams are made”
– Step In The Right Direction ‘Human Love’ Newton Faulkner, 2015.