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Kano ft. Michelle Breeze - 'Upside'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:34 UK time, Tuesday, 24 August 2010


It's always a good sign when you resent having to turn a song off in order to write about how brilliant it is.

Frankly there's a whole ocean of enjoyment still to be wrung out of 'Upside' and I'm keen to get started. So I'm going to have to keep this brief. C'mon, read faster!

Let's just assume I've said something sharp and daft here about the grammar in the chorus, and how leaving the line "you don't know which way is upside" unfinished until the final chorus is just begging all the would-be Lynne Trusses on any dancefloor to shout "DOWN!" every time that line comes around.

And let's assume I'd have then gone on to conjure up some scenario at the annual Christmas party of the 'Grammar Is One National Greatness Mankind Always Destroys' club (blah blah acronym blah), where they only play songs which are grammatically correct - with the result that it's a really, really short Christmas party.

Haha...yes...a crazy scenario indeed...HURRY UP!

(Here's the video. Boxing for him. Bedroom for her.)

And then here's where we get a chance to talk about the music. About how rude and lumpy the brassy background sounds after what feels like YEARS of saturated synths and cold, cold dance-hop. But, even though Mark Ronson has forsake the funk for, well, the other funk, it's songs like this that prove why bringing trumpets back was such a good idea in the first place.

Speaking of cold...Michelle Breeze's drop-choruses...those gorgeous, sobbing choruses, act like an ice-bath next to the sweaty heat of the verses. She reclines on a bed of frozen strings, far into an icy ocean, calling out for rescue and quietly falling apart.

Meanwhile Kano is all brutal strength and frustration. He's clearly as keyed up as she is, but rails against it, punchily. He's the angry man at the bus stop who hasn't got time to give you the time because can't believe how late he already is, and how much work he's going to have to do to catch up. Is this what he pays his taxes for? What is the world coming to?

Although he does express it in a much cooler way than I have, with that densely-structured flow of his.

Whacking the two extremes into one song is a brilliant, brilliant thing, because it makes the sad bits sadder and the funky bits funkier. And they're already as sad and as funky as you'd normally need. It's called juxtaposition and it's been done perfectly.

NOW, have you got all the information you need? I could tell you Michelle's in a band called Why Why Peaches or that 'Upside' was produced by Craigie Dodds, but I really need to get on, so maybe you could just find these things out for yourself for once, yeah?

OK, thank you, much obliged. Gotta go!

Five starsDownload: 23rd August

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Couch Sessions says: "The sad thing is that the cats in the UK have been consistently pushing the envelope for the past two decades, creating some of the most imaginative sounds most US rap fans would kill over."

Mind Of Grime says: "The bars are lacking and it just doesnt do it for me."

The Lala Report says: "Really love Kano's lyrical flow."



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