Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Celeste – Stop This Flame

Sound of 2020 keeps this fire burning…


Alex Clifton: In the midst of global panic and fear, this song has made me feel grateful to be alive, and that alone is worth celebrating.

Alfred Soto: It’s amazing what a samba preset can do, eh? Celeste hangs back at key moments, yields during others, belts her love in a kind of through line. A reminder of good times that nevertheless stays in the present.

Olivia Rafferty: It puts a good bid in for what I like to call “BBC Sports Montage” music, which is a type of palatable anthem that could easily be prefaced by Clare Balding announcing today’s Olympic highlights. Piano stays light-footed, bouncing under a pick ‘n’ mix of power lyrics like “you think you’re somebody, don’t you” and “I will never let you go,” before it swells and breaks into a chorus that can only, in my mind, be accompanied by a supercut of sinewy athletes panting round the stadium.

Scott Mildenhall: As eclectic as British radio can be at its best, “Sinnerman” would struggle to straddle its airwaves with the same strength as something like “Stop This Flame”. The flame in question could well be the one passed between annually anointed MOR soul saviours; an unextinguished and occasionally indistinguishable dream of the record industry. Given the context, things could be so much worse. Heart will never play “Sinnerman”, but they could hammer this, and it would be a worthy substitute. It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that it falls far short of the extent of Celeste’s ambitions, but someone has to carry the torch.

Oliver Maier: Celeste has the vocals, but winds up sabotaged by her stock Adele melodies and some clumsy instrumental decisions. The stabbing piano chords jut out at all the wrong angles, as if they were recorded separately from everything else and stuffed in at the last second. It’s the drums that really disappoint, though; you can’t expect to carry the weight of a song this massive-sounding with rim clicks.

Jackie Powell: Celeste knows the true definition of a lede. Fifteen seconds in and I’m sold. While her blend into her head voice is incredibly reminiscent of Adele, let’s remember who was putting out records with this sound first. Somewhere Amy Winehouse’s soul is smiling and Mark Ronson is thinking about how he can get her on the phone. At this point, their collaboration is inevitable. Here’s what’s also indubitable: Winehouse’s influence on Britpop is incessant and omnipresent.

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