Friday, March 14, 2008


Listen to MAGIC by Tina Dico.

I can really sit on the fence when it comes to the classic "preferences" late-night dinner-party small-talk.

Favourite Beatle? John, George, no, John, ahh George?....
Cats or Dogs? Comme ci comme ca....
Connery? Moore? Spare me....
New York? London? Paris? Munich? Everybody talkin about...

The same goes for music and lyrics. Nitzer Ebb can consume me with single-syllable chants to a pounding industrial beat whilst lyrics can lift a mediocre song (that I may have already heard in the multitudes) suddenly to the point where it can stop me in my tracks.

And it is the lyrics that have selected this song for me.

I saw Tina recently at the Union Chapel in London. She's a Danish singer-songwriter, known by her birth name "Tina Dickow" in the land of the Vikings, but perhaps better recognised as the voice of "Home" by Zero 7. She moved to London in 2002 and wrote meditations of love, life and alienation in the Big City, staring at the world through the window of her unfurnished flat near Brick Lane, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes...the passive observer as flâneur - creating modern urban reflections.

Her style is very much in the Leonard Cohen mould. In fact, this song could almost be a response to his Chelsea Hotel #2. The lyrics don't require dissection from me - just listening from you.

Speaking of Leonard Cohen (bear with me on this), I noticed that American Idol contestant Jason Castro has sent Jeff Buckley's version of Cohen's "Hallelujah" to the top of the iTunes charts (almost) overnight. Just one performance and three "judges" saying that Jeff's version is one of their all-time favourites; a sentiment endorsed by Q magazine in September when they nominated it as "the most perfect song ever". If you would like to hear what it sounds like in Danish, check out Tina and Steffen Brandt singing it here.

Photo: MAURITIUS, 2003. Photo taken by Jason Bryant.


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