Electro swing is all the rage at the moment, and from what I heard today, Ivy Levan is another great artist to add to the genre’s roster. The epitome of feel good, cool music, electro swing cashes in on the suave sounds of 1920s swing, breathing a breath of fresh air on a great and once popular genre.
If you ask anyone which artist leads the pack in this area of music you are likely to get one of two answers: Parov Stelar who is said to have invented the genre, and produces a more DJ and electronic sound, or Caro Emerald, who is the veritable pin up girl of the genre. She is the one on everybody’s lips at the moment and has truly nailed the formula of a commercial, modern swing song. But ladies and gentlemen, a new contestant has entered the arena.
Released only 2 weeks ago, “Hang Forever” is a punchy, fun song that reminds me of Paloma Faith mixed with a bit of Pink (and of course some swing). All of the elements that make this an electro swing song are here: double bass, a strong brass section that gives the chorus movement, and watching the video: a lead a woman that encapsulates the sexy elegance of her music. Although comparable to Caro Emerald, Ivy’s music carries a bit more bite to it that gives her the air of being a ‘bad girl’. Just look at the album artwork – Miley Cyrus much? If Caro is the suave songstress of swing, then Ivy is the mistress of it.
The verse of “Hang Forever” concentrates on the dancing rhythm and the lead vocal which is lively and entertaining. The stark contrast of the half time chorus that follows gets you into the swing of things, again the vocals keeping it upbeat and giving you something to sing along to. The ‘fun’ element of the song reminds me of subtle humour found in Lilly Allen’s music, but unlike her, this leading lady has a BIG pair of lungs, and boy does she sound good.
Unlike Caro Emerald who uses the idea of romantic Paris to fuel her music, “Hang Forever” feels like it draws upon the American flapper/cabaret scene. You could argue that this is perhaps half a step away from true electro swing, sitting closer to pop than it does to the other, but whatever you want to call it, it has a certain confidence to it that is infectious. The attitude in the vocals definitely gives this artist an edge that has been lacking in this genre of late. Ivy Levan is a sign that the genre is evolving, and I for one am very happy about that
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