Hunter - Closer

This is a cute and fun music video for "Closer" by Hunter and is definitely something you should have on your radar. The song signifies a variety of things, from the honeymoon feeling when you are crushing on someone as well as the wanting of being closer to loved ones, which is now becoming more and more possible as COVID restrictions relax with the pandemic becomes less of a worldwide threat - although cases have been rising in the UK, apparently. The track has been gaining in popularity and has been added to the Now That's What I Call Music 83 (the US compilation album).

Hunter said that "Closer" was inspired by "the feeling of driving down the road with the windows down on an easy summer afternoon. We've been through a lot over the last few years and I wanted a song that could help my listeners escape what's around us."

According to Spotify, the song was written by David Ryan Harris, Hunter Elizabeth, Jesse Siebenberg, and John Alagia, with the latter two songwriters being the producers of the track; as for the music video, Ra Dreyfus acted as Director with Ron Geffen being the director of photography. The cute video sees Hunter trying to impress her adorable little puppy, who is played by Yuki Newman, but nothing seems to be working from posing for an artist painting to playing crochet in the garden to being wined and dined al fresco style.

On top of all that, there are four hot guys attempting to grab Hunter's attention, hoping to get closer to her, from the artist who is painting them, to the hot guy gardener (played by Branko Presley) who is topless and has a hose in his hand - he could shower me with his hose any day, amen! But, Hunter is not impressed with his advances and swiftly moves away when he soaks himself (feel free to send him my way instead).

Her next scenes see her in the kitchen where the hot guy chef (played by Scott Camaran) comes on to her by offering her a taste of his soup (I'm pretty sure it's just as yummy as he is), but she declines while he doesn't want to take no as an answer (come on, we all should know about consent by now), and she ends up spilling the soup over him, and in doing so, he rips his shirt off and sexually spreads the soup on himself - she rightfully escapes the kitchen and has her meal with Yuki, but the puppy still isn't happy even though he's dressed smartly. She does a dance for Yuki and eagle-eyed viewers will recognise the guitarist in the scene as it is Nash Overstreet, who is known for being in the band Hot Chelle Rae as well as being the brother of Chord Overstreet (he played Sam Evans in Glee).

Overall, a great concept with a fun spin on the lyrics deciding that she wants to get closer to her dog rather than closer to a man - regardless of how hot the guys are. Clever, interesting, and memorable, this is a brilliant, iconic music video. The track is set to be part of Hunter's forthcoming debut EP which is expected to be released later this year.

New Release: Restless Road - Sundown Somewhere

I've been a fan of Restless Road ever since The X Factor US where they were formed on season three of the show, placing fourth. During the show, they met future collaborator, Kane Brown, who signed them and they've gone from strength to strength in the country music world. They consist of Zach Beeken, Garrett Nichols, and Colton Pack, and filmed this music video while they were on tour in Australia.

“We couldn’t believe that fans were singing our songs back to us halfway around the world at these shows! What really sent the trip over the top was that we got to film a music video for our new song ‘Sundown Somewhere’ in Newcastle, Australia. We knew we wanted to really show all of what Australia has to offer in this video, so we used a local director and crew. This was a trip that we will never forget and can’t wait to get back”, shared Colton Pack.

The song, written by Cole Swindell, Ben Hayslip, Jacob Rice, and Cole Taylor, is all about the hope of meeting that special someone, the one person you are meant to be with for the rest of your life, the one. I certainly know that feeling having been single for two years now, but I believe my future someone is out there just waiting for me too. This song totally speaks to me and this music video interprets the song brilliantly.

"No matter what point you’re at in life, we’ve all dreamed about the person we’re going to end up with. Where they are, what they look like, and what they’re like. ‘Sundown Somewhere’ is a song that really captures that feeling and the moment we heard it we were excited to record it and get it out to our fans,” shared Garrett Nichols.

The video is split into two parts, firstly Restless Road showcases their stage presence by performing this song on the Newcastle beach with the scenic waves crashing behind them. Then there's the incredible narrative as we watch a man feel a connection or spark with a blonde-haired woman who he spots from afar. He crosses paths with her a few times, and it isn't until he sees her car in the same parking lot he ends up at, that he starts to write a song about her, the lyric sheet gets caught by the wind and she ends up with it. He later returns to his car to see that she's waiting for him (although how she knew the lyric sheet was his is beyond me).

A brilliant music video with an engaging romantic storyline that connects with the song easily. This simply just works and continues to show how incredible Restless Road is. This trio is really making waves in country music, and I'm excited to continue to follow their career path.

Chart Mondays: Sam Smith & Kim Petras - Unholy

Now, this is what we call an all-out music video, but what do we expect from a Sam Smith & Kim Petras team-up with the title "Unholy"? There's literally so much to unpack in this four-and-a-half-minute music video, there's just so much going on and I always see something new. The LGBTQ+ representation is undeniable and effortlessly done - again, we expected this from Sam Smith and Kim Petras. 

They've topped the UK Singles Chart this week with this song and I hope it's a chart mainstay as we need these unapologetic queer artists at the top of charts around the world! In topping the UK Chart both Sam Smith and Kim Petras have made history (ermmm... I mean herstory), because this is Sam Smith's first number one in the UK since he came out as non-binary becoming the first, and only ever (to date), non-binary artist to top the UK charts, and Kim Petras follows suits becoming the first, and only (to date), trans artist to top the charts; time for this LGBTQ+ duo to break records and stereotypes around the world!

Other than the UK, this track has seen itself sit atop global charts including Australia, Canada, the Billboard Global 200, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, New Zealand, and Slovakia. I'm sure more chart number ones are around the corner, since it's at the top spot on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube charts globally - including Romania, Singapore, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States, amongst others.

As a Kim Petras fan, I instantly love this song, (how "Coconuts" wasn't a worldwide hit I'll never know) and I've been pretty keen on Sam Smith's latest tracks, with their "Diamonds" single easily being one of my top songs of 2020 (it just speaks to me as it was released a few months after the breakdown of my relationship of nearly three years). "Unholy" was written by Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Blake Slatkin, Henry Russell Walter, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Omer Fedi, and James Napier, whilst it was produced by Sam Smith, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Cirkut, Omer Fedi, Jimmy Napes, and Blake Slatkin. 

Directed by Floria Sigismondi with Joel Honeywell acting as director of photography, this "Unholy" music video is stunning, incredible, and truly unforgettable. It has all the elements of a great music video, especially with an engaging narrative whilst also making Sam Smith and Kim Petras totally shine. The choreography was created by French dance collective (LA)HORDE, with notoriously-known drag queens Violet Chachki (winner of season seven of RuPaul's Drag Race) and Gottmik (third place in the 13th season of RuPaul's Drag Race) acting as the bosses of the club - which is the only issue I have with this music video, as these two queens do not have the best reputation and I don't understand why UK drag queens weren't used instead, or even local drag queens, as the RuPaul Drag Race UK already spans four seasons with many credible alumni who have already proven their brilliance in music videos, although special shout-out to Baby who is one of the dancers in the video and is also currently on series four of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

The music video opens up with a couple, where the husband (played by Henry Davis) decides to attend a sex club cabaret venue instead of being beside his wife (played by Maren Bjorneseth) at a Poetry and Literature party. He drops her off, makes sure she takes his coat as it's cold, and tells her not to wait up; only in his rush, he forgot about the unopened condom wrapper with the venue, "The Body Shop", emblazoned on the front, the name of the club, which was in the coat pocket. We then watch him go into a garage where Sam Smith and Kim Petras are mechanics, but it's all a front for the cabaret show that's around the back.

Taking inspiration from The Clockwork Orange, Moulin Rouge, Madonna, Claude Cahun, Crazy Horse, Mr. Pearl, and Bob Fosse, this music video really has it all. Sam Smith is a legend for the dance spotlight they have on them with the incredible backing dancers highlighting them in every way. Their confidence and strength on stage really is bright and it's clear that Sam Smith is owning who they are and hands down their stage presence is out of this world. Sam Smith loving themselves is a total goal! Kim Petras brings it in her Madonna and Moulin Rouge moment too! This is just beyond epic!

The ending sees the husband's scandals shown publicly with a car behind him that has spray-painted words on which are "Liar", "Cheat", and "Fumier", the latter being in French which means "Manure" or as we brits would say, "Shit", or any combination of that word which the husband can definitely be described as. The wife walks into "The Body Shop" and sees this on display, but instead of letting it get to her and breaking her apart, she is liberated by the entire show and feels free to be who she is, with confidence, and so removes her coat and her wig, feeling sexually liberated.

This music video is everything I wanted it to be and more. The song is about a straight relationship where the man cheats on the wife and the music video is not just fitting, but explodes the meaning of the song and creates this awesome concept that makes me want to watch it again and again, constantly wishing it was longer, as this is something I never want to end, yet Sam Smith ends it with a fan saying "fin" - the French word for "end".

The cast includes dancers Daniel Allwell, Aleshia Williams, Emily Haygarth, BABY, Jordan Boury, Megan Charles, Novaya Shey, Samuel Mena Garcia, Pfion Vince, J’Adore La Vie, and Sakeema. There's also a lot of featured cast, including Yuri Park, Nancy Violet, Jolene, Brett Tatham, Louise Gibb, Nicholas Tredrea, Kitt Ibbott, William Darby, Lulu Kapansa, Armando, Fern G, Ego Valentino, Treasure Iyamu, Daragh Mccann, Lewis Walker, Jamie, Paddy O’Brian, Amani Hussain, Miriam Veil, and Max The Tribrid.

Snailmate - Trash, Baby

Snailmate have just dropped this awesome single and music video, titled "Trash, Baby" which is genre-defining with hints of pop and rap infused in the hard-rock theme of the song. The LGBTQ+ duo consists of Kalen Lander and Bentley Monet, and they describe Snailmate as a project which fuses synthpop, grindcore pop and nerd rap, and if this song is anything to go by they are masters of music creation. "Trash, Baby" is stuck in my head after just one listen, and the lyrics are pure perfection, this duo sure knows how to write a song! The song was written by Snailmate, while it was produced by Kalen Lander, with Ari Leopold mixing and recording the track; the music video has been directed by Chase Warren with Levi Elizaga acting as director of photography.

Creating art is never an easy task especially when your inner saboteur is attacking you at every step of the way, and this is exactly what Snailmate is showcasing in this song and music video, "Trash, Baby". We watch as Kalen Lander creates and then destroys a beautiful garden, and then later we watch Bentley Monet paint some awesome artistic imagery on canvases which he also destroys. The whole video is a concept in itself as music is an art form, as well as music videos being an art form, and so it comes full circle as we watch the music video be deleted at the end.

On top of the awesome narrative piece, there's an interesting performance visual which sees Snailmate as heads on spikes, linking completely with the opening lyric, with the song's narrator being the person on the spike who has been brought back to life "warning passers-by of the dangers of trying too hard. As the music video illustrates, it’s very easy to go from enamored with something to hating it. Hopefully, we can all overcome the negative thoughts and self-sabotaging to become better artists," Bentley Monet states.

Steps - Stomp

Last weekend I was at Birmingham Pride 2022, where Steps was the headliner for the Sunday event, and it made my childhood dream come true seeing them perform on the main stage, and this song "Stomp" is the one that is stuck in my head. I forgot all about this song until they sang it and I remember playing this on repeat again and again - it's probably my favourite Steps song from their whole discography. They also revealed that they've been together for 25 years now (minus the 10-year split). This song was their second UK number one, following "Heartbeat / Tragedy". It was written by Mark Topham, Karl Twigg and Rita Campbell, with production by Mark Topham, Karl Twigg and Pete Waterman.

This music video has both narrative and performance visuals which coincide well with each other. There's an amazing dance section which is totally in sync and although may have seemed dated 10 years ago if you were looking back at old music videos, with TikTok becoming a viral social network, these dance segments are extremely popular and this would be something that goes viral on the app.

We watch as Lisa and H are given the keys to a penthouse apartment while the owner, Bill (who is played by Dave Legeno - who is no longer with us, having passed away in 2014), is away on business. He tells them to look after the apartment, but Lisa and H decide to invite the rest of Steps round for a huge party, so we see scenes of Claire, Faye, and Lee getting invited to the party and making their way there. In the end, they all help to clean and tidy up, and when Lisa and H think they're in the all-clear, the camera transitions to the painting that's hanging on the wall, where someone has drawn horns, glasses and a moustache on Bill's face.