From the Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse comparisons, Joy Crookes is an old soul bringing new life through her original compositions. Her velvet voice melts us, leaving us hanging on to every word. I took some time this past week to go on a listening journey of Joy Crookes’s work.
Firstly, my listening journey started off with her cover of “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles. I was captivated by her vocals at the 0.25 mark of the video when she started singing. “Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back No more, no more, no more, no more.” There is something special about a 1962 classic being performed with a modern-day twist as a cover. From the start of Crookes’ musical journey, I could see themes of blending nostalgia with a modern touch.
Secondly, my listening journey continued with Crookes’ “Sinatra,” which is her second single off of her “Influence” EP. The track is a blend of a couple of genres, most notably soul and trip-hop. The music video showcases how addicted an individual can be to another person even if they are not right for them. Lyrics like, “My feet don’t move when I’m halfway out the door,” truly showcase this feeling. The most magical part of this track, in my opinion, is the build-up of the post-chorus. “And the rain keeps falling to your sound, and all I wanna do is say now.”
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Thirdly, Crookes continues to be a role model for vocalists around the world and an example to strive for on her EP “Reminiscence.” In her song “Don’t Let Me Down,” we see Crookes’ vocals shine throughout the track over the background instrumentation of an electric guitar. The project was inspired by Crookes’ first trip to Bangladesh. Crookes was born in South London and also wanted to showcase her dual identity of being of Bangladeshi and Irish descent.
I’m a Bangladeshi- Irish, South London born musician. I pay homage to MY culture in the Don’t Let Me Down music video and hope that other lil Desi girls will pick up their guitars, paintbrushes, voices and go and do what they feel they have to do too https://t.co/kIiX2FDqBb pic.twitter.com/vJCxCbXFVz
— Joy Crookes (@joycrookes) December 17, 2018
Fourthly, on Crookes’ song “Since I Left You (Demo)” from her “Perception” EP, we hear a beautiful ballad about what it is like to be taken advantage of in a relationship. With lyrics like, “You dined on my demons when I was just seeking, For someone who I could call home,” we continue to see Crookes talk about intimate relationships. What I love about this track is that it is centered around minimalism putting an emphasis on her vocal capability.
In conclusion, my listening journey ended by diving into Crookes’ debut album “Skin.” I specifically wanted to touch upon the track “19th Floor,” as it showcases a great sense of representation. “Doing like my Nani, 70s steez Cardamom stain my teeth I see the things you’ve seen, but you don’t speak, You’re leaving traces, Like I picked up a parcel handed down through generations.” We truly see that there are very few South Asian artists in the music industry. Ultimately, I feel that Crookes’ music is timeless. It will stand the test of time, pushing South Asian artists forward in this highly competitive landscape.
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Throughout my listening journey of Crookes’ projects, I fully immersed myself in her themes of self-reliance and one’s own culture. Her music is reminiscent of early Jazz singers from the 1920s and 1930s, purely based on her vocal capabilities. Comments sections around the world hope for her tracks to end up on a James Bond movie soundtracks. Crookes continues to showcase brown excellence through her compositions and iconic soundscapes. Hope to see Crookes take a well-deserved break as she just dropped her debut album “Skin” this past October. Libras taking over!
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