Bursting into life with the melodically pure and satisfying Paradise, Celeste Buckingham’s album BARE is one that is stacked high with absolute hits. The quality of these songs and her performance throughout presents a definite skill and professionalism alongside of a certain smoothness and swagger. Her voice offers a new kind of style and confidence that strikes as that of a well experienced and passionate singer and artist – her songs offer the pop world something new, and loaded with individuality.
Addict is huge – fusing an R&B style melody with a somewhat oriental inspired beat and a completely unexpected twist of hip hop, the song stands out for so many reasons. It keeps you captivated and interested throughout, and it begs for you to play it over again after listening. Celeste is as hypnotic during a rap performance as she is when she sings. This is pop done with power and creativity, and it works brilliantly.
Arrangement is important within an album, and so is eclecticism when it comes to modern musicianship. The very second the song Rose begins to play, it becomes clear the variety, passion, and honesty that is the very core of this collection. This song is heartbreakingly raw, almost acoustic, showcasing the sheer emotion and strength of the artist’s voice under a completely new light. Celeste Buckingham has something mighty, and this album has been beautifully thought out, written, performed, and produced.
Go Away is another huge song, an infectious melody, a clever and quirky set-up, unique yet rhythmic and effective production, and as always, a mesmerising performance. Selfish follows on well, appreciating contrast and utilising it once again – the song has a delicate brightness that seems soft yet accessible. The lyrics here contrast hugely too, the story line is entirely different to what came before, the concept is unexpected, yet it still manages to relate to you with the generally magnetic pull of relationships being intricately explored.
The writing throughout this album is refreshingly unusual. The songs feel familiar, the system makes sense, it has colour and weight and it works, but there’s also so much that you simply haven’t heard before. Trip switches things up again, the cool and easy going rhythm presents a certain level of space, within which this soulful, soothing melody wanders freely and surrounds you in a classically appealing manner. The structure is fantastic, no moment goes on for too long – it’s pop music kept interesting.
Immature takes on another hint of unexpected genre and style. The backdrop has an ambient trip-hop feel, certain elements repeat to create a beautiful soundscape, then the melody, the rhythm of the vocal, the various ways in which the singer performs each moment – these add a touch of confidence that really reaches out and grabs your attention. The progression is completely unpredictable, and this adds so much.
The delicacy returns at the perfect moment with Time Is Ours. The reflective nature of these lyrics is incredibly beautiful – the simplicity of the piano part and Celeste’s gorgeously real and passionate leading voice help lay bare and reinforce the sentiment awesomely. Really well placed and a definite highlight.
The classic pop energy returns for All This, the emotion remains fairly prominent, the subject matter feels real, important to the artist presenting it, and that helps it have such a strong effect on the listener. The hook is another simple yet incredibly memorable one. Then things come stylishly and quite brilliantly to a finish with the undeniable truth and weight of Intoxicated. The raw honesty of the rap here is powerful, as is its contrast with the smoothness of the melody. There’s so much passion on this final track and it reminds you how detailed and complex the whole project has been. What a way to go out.
This is definitely one of the more interesting and genuine pop releases of recent years, and that’s not at the cost of quality – far from it. These songs are supremely well polished. Celeste Buckingham is making waves with this project, and it’s no wonder why.