Better late than never:
‘Now That I’m Real (How does it feel?)’ [Nice rhyme there Chad Valley] is a track I have only recently discovered. I’m not sure if it’s old or new, how I found it (I’m guessing aimless Spotify wanderings) or who or what Chad Valley is. All I do know is that I think I quite like the song. I say ‘think’ and ‘quite’ because I’m not entirely sold yet. There’s one aspect of the song which just gets on my nerves and I’ll get to that, however the rest of the track is really quite fab.
There’s some lovely layering of vocals, rhythms and instruments – the song has so many elements it shouldn’t really work, however it does; really well. I love the cheeky bongos which are lurking away at the back of the track: they really add a little sumthin’-sumthin’ to the rhythm. They’re also very similar to those in The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Apache’ – a little guilty pleasure of mine. Listen through headphones to really make them stand out. The vocals are great too – any mix of male and female voices is a win for me, and this song blends them beautifully with a hearty dose of echo.
The aspect of the song which just doesn’t float my boat is the use of steel drums towards the end of the track. In early May I heard someone say “I feel like any artist who wants to be considered cool at the moment shoves steel drums on their tracks”. At the time I strongly disagreed (possibly letting my personal feelings for this person strengthen my opposition to his statement): it was after all only a few months since I’d first heard Jamie xx & Yasmin’s ‘Touch Me’ (a great song) and similarly Jamie xx and Gil Scott Heron’s album ‘We’re New Here’ (sensing a Jamie xx trend here, was this all his fault?!) and I thought ‘Yeah, steel drums, I like these things, how novel and exciting’. Now however, some six months later after a summer stuffed full of steely bit-parts, my ears are bleeding. In a London Underground station a week ago I heard a busker tinkling away and nearly gagged. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I feel like we’re in the midst of a plague of steelpan melodies – every song which fancies itself a hit seems to feature them, and it doesn’t sound like there’ll be any let up either.
I greatly enjoyed Chad Valley’s ‘Now That I’m Real (How does it feel?)’, right up until I heard the dreaded drums, which is why it’s still my Sunday’s soundtrack. Aside from the steels, it’s a great song. However - until I’ve been in musical quarantine from steel drums for quite some time (please, musical artists of the world, I’m begging you to let this happen!?) the song won’t be at the top of my most played.
Enjoy it, but watch out for the pans.