The Soundtrack to the Summer's Greatest Drama - Love Island.
With each summer that approaches, there are only 3 things on this gal’s mind; when will I find a summer job, when will I get my college exam results and when will the first episode of love island pixelate perfectly on my screen! Appearing before eyes that have waited with patience and enthusiastically eager anticipation, love island just couldn’t air soon enough!
And where there is drama, there is a drama- filled soundtrack to accompany it. Whether its playing with all the highs and the lows or with the hot and the steamy or, let's not forget, the icy digs and the frozen cold shoulders, there's always a tune to heighten the mood in the Island at any given moment. This year's love island has been one of drama to say the least. With Jacques’ exit and love island veteran Adam's entrance and, dare I even say the words, 'Casa Amor', the spectacle couldn’t get more spectacular even if they tried.
As was, and arguably still is, a custom on broadcast television, underground musical favourites are given the air time to grace us with their harmonious presence. Perhaps best exemplified through the hit tv shows of the 90’s and early 2000’s, this custom has aided the wider public discovery of indie darlings whose work may only be known by few but becomes beloved by all. Shows such as My so called life, Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl were instrumental in launching the careers of bands such as Buffalo Tom and the Virgins as well as relaunching the career of 70’s songwriter geniuses such as the likes of Carole King, bringing her masterpieces to the ears of younger audiences and establishing them as earworms of reminiscence (for example, when you think of King’s ‘Where you lead’, how can you not think of Gilmore Girls!?). Love island has equally been that platform like so many of its television predecessors. As artist Hana Lili said in an interview last year with the Guardian magazine; “Love Island can give an opportunity to up- and- coming artists to have that exposure and connect to new audiences.”
IN WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW.
On this year’s love island, there has been an abundance of new music from both artists in the industry for years and from those only just now dipping their toes into its ocean of possibilities. From Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys to Arlo Parks and Biig Piig as well as everything between, there’s been quite the genre mixing and the sound-selecting on this summer’s season. With such a catalogue of good music to choose from, a music supervisor's job cannot be the easiest. However, decisions are made, music is chosen and the show does go on.
Our discussion on the soundtrack to the summer’s greatest drama wouldn’t be complete without taking a closer look at the actual music itself. And so the next three songs are specially selected to do just that. Taken from a lengthy library made up of dance hits for unseen bits as well as some romantic tunes for those midnight spoons, these three pieces are arguably some of the best features on this year's show.
Having established herself in the early 2010’s after being featured on DJ and producer; Zedd’s Grammy award winning single ‘Clarity’, Foxes has continued to create upbeat, high tempoed, dance works that are reminiscent of that musical period but made so with a much-needed breath of fresh air that gives her sound a certain crisp and sharp edge.
An original mix of a sound first pioneered and experimented with by the likes of Robyn in the 2000’s and Charli XCX, Foxes latest album released in the February of this year fuses all the goodness of 2010’s house music and today’s electropop, to bring to life this visceral vision that dances across and around the ears, like sound circulating through the body via a network of electric electropop currents. With all that being said, this song and others like it that are found on Foxes’s album - ‘The Kick’, are bound to get you boogying!
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Morgan Harper- Jones
It’s always a risky business when covering songs, especially when those songs are famously sung by stars that shine brighter than the very sun itself. However, that could not discourage Harper- Jones from covering the Whitney Heuston classic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, released on her 2020 EP; ‘Breathe’.
From the onset, the song establishes its honest and real tone with soothing guitar plucking and screechy guitar slides as her fingers move from fret to fret. As it builds Jones’ voice pours emotion and delicacy, through the jenga blocks of harmonies constructed so precisely and meticulously like a house made of bricks sitting on a hill surrounded by swirling gusts of wind. The confidence in her voice also builds as the song progresses, becoming more and more determined with each iteration of ‘oh I wanna dance with somebody’.
In Da Club
Since her debut album in 2019, Mahalia has been making waves and surfing those waves across the UK music scene, establishing herself as one of the country’s foremost alt R&B artists. One of her latest singles; In Da Club, released earlier this year, sees Mahalia doing what Mahalia does best; taking a melody line and turning it into a melodic and a rhythmic line, making it something to sing to and to dance to. The combination of the two is not necessarily unique to Mahalia’s sound (with the likes of major music stars like Taylor Swift also incorporating particularly rhythmic lead melody lines in the more upbeat of her songs), however the originality and uniqueness of Mahalia’s sound comes in combining these two features in a way that mimics a rhythm found more often in the rap genre of music. All of this is not surprising of course when you consider Mahalia's hip hop style and soul influences.
This year’s love island has been quite the ride. With a diversity of drama and a sure diversity of new music to accompany it, this year’s show is definitely one for the books, or should I say, one for the playlists. Giving artists a platform to be featured on a show broadcasted on a major television network such as ITV and have the very show it is aired on to be as significance and far- reaching as the immensely popular ‘Love Island’ contributes to public recognition of the artist as well as adding a special touch to an already cherished show. It establishes a considerably level playing field for music to be discovered, almost like having up- and coming artists playing on the same stage as classic chart toppers and music industry blockbusters like it's all one big music festival. And personally, those are festival tickets I would very much like to have. Hearing the likes of the Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa played alongside smaller but deeply beloved indie artists such as Orla Gartland, Flyte and Pink Patheress, gently reminds us as listeners and viewers that; good music is good, whether it's played 15 million times on the radio or not.
Hana Lili’s interview with the Guardian newspaper.