Single Review: CocknBullKid – ‘Hold On To Your Misery’

If you entered this web page with the thought of “Who dat!?”, or words to that effect, fear not – CocknBullKid (Anita Blay in her free time) has never really bothered the charts, media, social networking, or even her record label’s budget. She’s a bit of an underground artist but none-the-less has the niceties and tunes to sit very well within the British mainstream. In fact, she’s exactly what’s been missing from our charts since, oh, now let me think… 1969?

Okay, I realise you’d probably be expecting me to sympathise with this kind of act now. Typically I’d be peddling “They’re so talented but so under-appreciated” and spin off an a wild tangent of that artist’s achievements and why they should be recognised. But to be honest, there comes a time when you realise that maybe, just maybe, it’s the artist’s fault?

Like Amy MacDonald’s persistence to slamming everything celebrity related, Blay seems to have shot herself in the foot from the very start. Opting to deal in out-dated, doo-wop-infused, hand-clapping pop songs reminiscent of the early Motown days, she’s not really commercial at all. I mean, there are no synths, no sexual references, no mention of “da club” or “da shawties” in said club. So really, it’s clear to see she’s never going to be widely appreciated, but that’s not to say some of her stuff isn’t worth a listen.

‘Hold On To You Misery’ seems like an ambiguous title, but actually it’s very much a literal declaration. It’s about how when you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s still that drive to make you want to get out of there, so in a way, sad times are good times. She’s basically saying you should hold on to the sadder moments in life as they give you a motive to pursue happiness. And the lyrics carry a bittersweet optimism that reflects just that throughout – “Hold on, to that pain in your chest/You’re most alive when you’re nearest death”. Intelligent pop music, this stuff.

As it stands, the song gets off to a slow start, meaning the instant grab factor is missing, but even though Blay’s vocals don’t seem up to much and appear so paper thin they could lose the listeners attention easily, you’re rewarded with a delightfully playful pop chorus that’s as catchy as anything. Aided by a gospel choir and an infectious little vocal melody, the chorus is what’ll bring you back to this song again and again for weeks.

Production-wise, it’s also very weak, but you get the feeling that anything stronger may drown out Blay’s vocals. Nothing is particularly loud or complicated in the music department: comprising of a simple piano chord progression, a drum loop, a guitar all with a topping of strings, it manages to work because of the simplistic message and the simplistic melodies – it’s very basic, however, the thing that makes it stand out is that fact that even though it’s very simple, it’s a very refreshing, cheerful little ditty with a great sing-along chorus.

Here’s the video: Do you not think Blay’s smile is deliberately very… contrived-looking? Maybe there’s a deeper message there?

You can tell she’s not greatly invested when it comes to her videos either, so I won’t be keeping an optimistic eye/ear open for TV or radio promotion of any kind.

‘Hold On To Your Misery’ is a lovely little song that more than happily retreads the sounds of the 60’s, revamped to clearer 21st century recordings. It’s the kind of song you’ll walk – or even skip – to work to; the kind of song that’ll be on in the background, subliminally channelling happy thoughts into everyone’s mind thanks to it’s cheery sound. That is, if you like this kind of music. If not, then it could be as grating as someone like Mika with it’s effortless and sometimes irritating optimism.

Rating: 3.5 STARS


Download: March 7, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Adulthood’

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