I’ve been meaning to blog about the music I’ve been listening to this summer. I’ve put it off long enough that I’ve got about a week’s worth of posts to write, so I decided to make this music week. I’ll try to write about one album each day.

Today’s album is Duffy‘s Rockferry. I only started listening to it a week ago — PJ and I heard “Mercy” on the radio as we were driving back from Canada and then I got it from iTunes as soon as we got home — but I already love this album!

Duffy is part of the new British invasion of neo-soul singers. She’s often compared to Amy Winehouse, but her music actually sounds very different from Winehouse’s. First off, I love just about everything British — I’m totally the stereotypical American Anglophile. Second, I love this neo-soul movement — Winehouse, Adele, Paulo Nutini. Everything becomes new again, and this music is hot!

Here’s a sample, “Stepping Stone,” one of my favorite tracks from the album:

Duffy is a 24-year-old singer from Wales. She sounds like a modernized version of Dusty Springfield, but according to wikipedia she dislikes the comparison. Nevertheless, I think the comparison is apt.

Her current radio hit in the U.S. is “Mercy:”

I like this song because it makes me want to dance. It kind makes me feel like I’m back in the ’60s, have a beehive, and am shaking my tailfeather or something. It’s definitely infectious.

I love nearly every track on the album. “Warwick Avenue” is a beautiful, tender song about heartbreak, but due to its title and lyrics I doubt it will ever be released as a single in the U.S.:

This song continues the theme of love and loss that flows throughout the album, but what I like about it most is the sense of vulnerable independence that Duffy creates in many of these songs — her persona is leaving the man she loves and has done her wrong, but this independence is at an emotional price.

Here’s the title track:

This song exemplifies another aspect of the album that I really love: I like the way Duffy’s song’s build from start to finish. They often start off quietly and then crescendo as they go along. This goes hand-in-hand with the song’s story and emotions. I think Duffy and her producers really get this aspect right.

Here’s a video of her recording “Syrup and Honey:”

At first, I didn’t really care much for this song, but after listening to it a few times I really like it. Seeing this behind the scenes clip makes me like it and her even more. This is just really good music.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Distance Dreamer.” There’s not an official video yet, so here’s a live version I found on YouTube:

Again, I like the way this song builds. I also like its lyrics:

Although you think I cope,
my head is filled with hope…
of some place other than here.

Although you think I smile,
inside all the while…
I’m wondering about my destiny.

I’m thinking about,
all the things,
I’d like to do in my life.

I’m a dreamer,
a distant dreamer,
dreaming for hope, from today.

Even when you see me frown,
my heart won’t let me down,
because I know there’s better things to come (Woah Yeah).

And when life gets tough,
I feel I’ve had enough,
I hold on to a distant star,

I’m thinking about,
all the things,
I’d like to do in my life…

I’m a dreamer,
A distant dreamer,
dreaming for hope from today.

I’m a dreamer,
A distant dreamer,
dreaming for hope from today.

Yeah, I’m a dreamer

Oooooooh…
Oooooooh…
Oooooooh…

I’m a dreamer,
a distant dreamer,
dreaming for hope from today,

Yeah i’m a dreamer…

Oooooooh…
Oooooooh…
Oooooooh…

I’m a dreamer.

I like to have theme songs for each phase of my life. For example, when I was on the job market I had the New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” as my theme. More recently, when I felt contrite about some of my behavior, I adopted Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” as my theme. I’m kind of in a dreaming/ambitious part of my career right now. Maybe I’ll make this my new theme song.

My favorite track is “Stepping Stone.” I think it exemplifies all the things I love about this album. Here’s a great live version:

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