Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Whole Cool Person Thing: Ladyhawke

Ladyhawke is awesome-there, I said it, I'm done.

No, don't worry, I'm not, I like going on about her too much to leave it there.

Ladyhawke is a musician that brings back nostalgic elements of 80s music, with the same kind of beats that you can picture on a dance floor but at the same time, there's this weird aesthetic quality to the songs-they feel like something physical, almost like each one deserves their own video. (I haven't seen all her videos but I'm planning to sit down and watch them all in one afternoon. If they're as good as her songs, it'll be a good usage of time.)

Ladyhawke took her stage name from an 80s film-her real name's Pip Brown and she hails from New Zealand (like Lorde and Peter Jackson. New Zealand=Producer of Awesome Genius.)

Her most popular song is probably My Delirium which you'll almost definitely have heard on an advert at some stage given its' huge popularity. I'd heard that a few years ago and decided I liked the song, but it wasn't until around November time last year that I really got into Ladyhawke, when I heard her song Love Don't Live Here Anymore, on a Youtube video for the film Texas Killing Fields. I thought it was brilliant and started Youtubing every song of Ladyhawke's.

At the time, I wasn't too happy. I had a sore throat and was lying in bed, feeling generally miserable. (My anxiety had rocketed. Anxiety's like that red light that always stops you right when you want to get somewhere-every time you think you've beaten it, it pops up again like one of those sadistic recorded messages that always calls your phone. "Hello, this is Anxiety and yes, I am trying to ruin your day.") I was not feeling particularly happy and so finding new songs was pretty much my refuge of choice for cheering up.

And then I found this song, which might not be her most popular or even the best of all of them but it's definitely one of my favourites:

That song is basically what I listen to whenever things feel all depressing and on-top-of-my-head and I-seriously-don't-get-this-world-ing.

Give me time to reflect, gimme all you know
Holding hands on the street when the lights are low
You and me wanted more but we'll never know
And you, you try to remember
All it means in a world where its never slow
And you, you try to remember

We're part of a, we're part of a, we're part of a crazy world
We're part of a, we're part of a, we're part of a crazy world

But it's not just the songs that are awesome. Ladyhawke herself is like this otherworldly entity who is so cool that you wonder if she's real.

She grew up in New Zealand and spent a lot of her childhood lying on the floor doing random puzzles while listening to music-apparently, she loves the Pretenders and David Bowie. She didn't particularly fit at school and I really want to scream for that scene from Freaks and Geeks where they bring up that chart that proves that those kids who don't fit in at school triumph in later life. (Insert my personal issues here.) 

I wouldn't go to school when I was younger and when I did, I would just stare out of the window...I started playing piano when I was eight. It came quite naturally...I took up drums when I was 11 and that was it for me. I loved it. After that, I picked up lots of instruments instinctively.-Ladyhawke.

She sounds like a cool, sort of Salinger-esque kid crossed with a miniature Stevie Nicks. I was a Salinger-esque kid myself, who used to lie on the floor reading encyclopaedias and looking up stuff about cryptozoology, so I basically fell in love with her there and then. (Also, I'm actually typing this watching Child Genius, which seems astonishingly appropriate.)

She took on the name Ladyhawke because she wanted to make music herself, the way she wanted to, and she's blatantly honest about the fact she finds the industry difficult at times. She talks about her stage fright and the anxiety she feels about being with large crowds of people perfectly honestly with this kind of disarming chatter and it's a refreshing thing to hear, especially when she says she hates the whole arrogance of some rock stars who think they don't have to try to interact with people. She's also open about the fact she was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, which explained a lot of her quirks. Given that that can leave you struggling with social interaction, it's even cooler that she doesn't let herself refuse to interact.

One of my favourite things about Ladyhawke might be the way she is just unabashedly herself-and she's not one of those people who inserts her "being-herself-ness" in your face while screaming I'M DIFFERENT, I'M DIFFERENT, PAY ATTENTION. She's just herself in her own quiet way, with her own way of dressing-she wears Doc Martens, cool little jackets, sometimes guys T-shirts, and best of all, her hats.

                              The importance of a cool hat cannot be overstated.

She's just really herself and her music's like that too-you couldn't mistake it for anyone else, though she's been compared to Courtney Love and Stevie Nicks. She's got her own unique sound, with her low voice over these beats and tunes that basically give you this feeling that you know what she's talking about, that you're seeing the story of the song playing out in front of your eyes. I remember listening to Another Runaway and just playing it over and over. I remember listening to Girl Like Me and basically leaping up because THAT WAS JUST HOW I FELT AT THE TIME. I remember thinking she must be telepathic.

And of course, her song Anxiety-don't really need to say more. Sums it up, that's all I can say.

But my favourite song of hers' has to be Back of the Van. It's just-amazing.

In the dark, in the back of the van, cautiously holding your hand
Making eyes, making everything all right-Ladyhawke

It just reminds me of falling in love with someone who you're terrified of breaking your heart because you know there's a chance they will. But they're so different from everyone else you can't walk away because they're different and special and they're the one you want even when you're constantly on the edge thinking that they could be about to walk away again, and that it could all be about to end.

When I wake and I'm far away, I know that you're leaving
In the dark, when I'm all alone, I'm scared that you're leaving
You set me on, you set me on, you set me on fire
You set me on, you set me on, you set me on fire-Ladyhawke

It's that feeling of the one person that makes you feel different, the one person who sends you crazy, but they're the one person who could hurt you the most, as well. And that plaintive way she sings-"I'm scared that you're leaving"-the way you do when you just want the person you love to tell you it's OK, you don't need to be scared-but you know you'll still be on the edge of thinking that they could leave at any moment and it could all be broken apart, even as you know that they're the person who's the centre of everything for you.

And Ladyhawke's able to sing it all in one song, with her voice and her own way of being. And she's able to go on being herself, telling the stories she wants through her music. So, once again-Ladyhawke's awesome, there I've said it.

                                       And that is one amazing jacket.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Ladyhawke! Your blog is so rad.