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I Blame Coco - 'Self Machine'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:11 UK time, Saturday, 10 July 2010

I Blame Coco

I love a good metaphor, don't you? When people describe a thing they find hard to define, using the characteristics of another thing that everyone understands? It's an oven in here! She looked daggers at me! I can't quite grasp what you're on about!

The classic metaphor is far more subtle than a simile - which is a type of metaphor - in that a simile is a picture that carries its own frame.

Sorry, that should say a simile is LIKE a picture that carries its own frame. That LIKE is very important, because it allows you, the person who is talking, to explain that just because you have stopped talking about how greedy your brother is, and starting talking about truffle-pigs, it doesn't mean you think that he has grown an actual snout.

But metaphors, because they don't have that signpost, are a little bit harder to spot, they're the Where's Wally of words.

And yes, that was another one.

(Here's the video. It uses an empty swimming pool as a metaphor for the blackness of the human soul in a concrete wilderness because it looks cool.)

Coco has a good metaphor going on here about being a robot. Where Marina took great pains to point out that she isn't one, because she can feel and think and things, Coco claims that she IS, because she can think about isolation and feel lonely, and things. This might seem a little confusing, but don't worry too much. Pop isn't supposed to make sense.

(Also, did you know her dad - Sting - once had an album out called 'Ghost In The Machine', when he was with the Police? A title based on Arthur Koestler's novel of the same name. This humans and robots thing must be genetic.)

Anyway, when Coco says she's got hinges, or sings about having a motor for a heart, or being inhuman if you say so, she's trying to nail those 3am thoughts where there seems to be a massive black wall between you and everyone you love. She does it pretty well too.

I know I've banged on about her voice before, but it really is a lovely instrument. That sandpaper-and-honey delivery, delivering these cold (and let's face it, slightly silly) words of self-doubt...well it's something rather brilliant.

Especially when set to those spiralling pianos in the chorus, and that chirruping electropop (there's a rather good La Roux remix doing the rounds too).

What else would suit her metallic metaphor?

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

PS: Lisa Scott Lee once did a song in which she tried to use electricity as a metaphor for the act of love. There was lots of stuff about sockets and plugging things in, which is kind of mechanical but still technically works. Then there was the brilliant bit where she had to sing "it's all over, warranty expired" WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. And it is for this reason, and this reason alone, that Lisa Scott Lee deserves some kind of knighthood.

Crack In The Road says: "Promises that Coco Sumner's career can take on an infinitely more interesting path than that of her more famous father."

The CS Perspective says: "Self Machine' is an electronic/alternative mix with a killer melody, ding ding, an instant winner."

Hard Candy says: "There is something so intriguing about her and I can't wait to hear more stuff!"


  • Comment number 1.

    I BLAME COCO - "Self Machine "

    This song boasts one of my favourite choruses of 2010 so far .
    This sounds like The Police being infiltrated by the spirit of Gary Numan , with an undercover cameo by La Roux to give it a 2010 edge .

    A superbly crafted song , with a standout chorus .
    This young ladys profile is gradually building , and this may make a dent on the lower reaches of the chart.
    If it fails to hit the top 40 , there are other treasures to be discovered on her debut album.

    Her album The Constant will be out on the 4th of October .

  • Comment number 2.

    My ten favourite songs at the moment , in no particular order are :

    1) I Blame Coco - Self Machine .

    2) Plan B - Prayin .

    3) Crystal Castles - Baptism .

    4) Interpol - Success.

    5)Flo-rida/Guetta - Club Can't Handle Me .

    6)Eminem - Not Afraid .

    7)Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang.

    8)M.I.A - XXXO

    9)Arcade Fire - We Used To Wait .

    10)Hurts - Wonderful Life .

    Really feeling these songs , what is everyone else loving at the moment ?

  • Comment number 3.

    Spirit have you heard Barricade - Interpol yet that songs a tune!

  • Comment number 4.


    Still waiting for Soft Limit to totally confirm that Barricade will be the lead single , but I feel it could be .
    An immediate , atmospheric track with a fantastic vocal by Paul Banks and a memorable guitar riff by Daniel Kessler . The chorus is an absolute winner .
    Can see Radio 1 "B" listing this.
    Success and Summer Well are great songs too , and the final two minutes of Lights is up there with some of Interpol's finest works .
    The album is a corker .
    Friends in America have said that their recent live shows absolutely hit the spot .
    Here marks the return of a quite simply fantastic band !

  • Comment number 5.

    According to my Top 10 tracks on Last FM, here is my Top 10 'Most Listened To' songs this week.

    01. Eminem featuring Kobe: Talkin' 2 Myself
    I'm really enjoying Eminem's new album Recovery. It's not as good as his earliest work but sees a significant improvement on his last 2 albums. This track is simply epic and needs to be the third single from the album. Amongst some cold, gritty guitars; Eminem raps earnestly about his drug addiction as well as his jealousy of more relevant rappers such as Kanye West and Lil' Wayne. Kobe's mournful, lost and wailing vocals are a perfect backdrop to Eminem's fast paced flow and the Wintery production.

    02. Marina & The Diamonds: Oh No!
    I initially ignored this song on The Family Jewels until I heard it would be a single but it is now my favourite track on the album and I look forward to the single release in three weeks time. Bursting with a carnivalistic production and a cartoony melody, Marina simply oozes personality on this track while managing to get an important subject matter across. As a bonus, it has a massive sing-along chorus.

    03. Nelly Furtado featuring Julietta Venegas and La Mala Rodríguez: Bajo Otra Luz
    I honestly don't speak a word of Spanish but I sort of became a bit hooked on Nelly Furtado's Mi Plan Spanish language album when I accidentally stumbled across the singles Manos Al Aire and Más. Seeing as it's Summer and I'm in the mood for a bit of passion and romance (in music only of course ;)), I've been playing her album a lot. This isn't a romantic tune but it's so upbeat and joyful, it's hard not to fall in love with the catchy melody. I also recommend checking out the newly premiered video. It's so endearing and fun and really shows Nelly's versatility and flippancy when it comes to commercial success or not.

    04. 30 Seconds To Mars: This Is War
    I've been doing a lot of travelling recently and this has been blasting on my iPod speakers since. It's so over-the-top and dramatic, I feel like I'm in a Tolkien epic everytime I listen to it. One of the best throwaway moody rock tracks EVER!

    05. Kelly Rowland: Commander
    Although I won't acknowledge PRODUCER David Guetta as a feature credit on this song, I have to hand it to him, his production on this track is absolutely top class and is helped by Kelly's powerhouse vocals. Absolutely first class dance-pop tune.

    06. Florence + The Machine: Drumming Song
    I'm basically starting to fall in love with Florence (another future wife for me) and I have Cosmic Love absolutely burned out on my iPod. So time to move on to the next best song. Which is this.

    07. Eminem featuring Rihanna: Love The Way You Lie
    This is fantastic and has echoes of Eminem's best ever song Stan. Lyrically, it's very angry and accounts the details of a physically violent relationship, something Eminem and Rihanna are no strangers too. Rihanna unleashes a big, radio friendly chorus in what is probably her best vocal performance yet - less nasal and more vulnerable and bruised.

    08. Florence + The Machine: Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
    I always thought this song was good - but this week it has become AMAZING! Her breakout single has wonderful vocals, production and lyrics with a quirky, trippy feel to them that recalls Alice In Wonderland.

    09. Florence + The Machine: Howl
    I love the fantastical and violent lyrics to this song. It really is very vivid and clear in my mind and has me visualizing a music video in my head already. It's a shame that this track will never get the single treatment. The chorus is just macabre magic from Florence's drawn out vocals to the urgent production.

    10. Nelly Furtado: Más
    Even if you don't understand Spanish, I recommend giving this a listen. It starts off all mournful and acoustic before breaking into a vulnerable, mid-tempo club track. Nelly's pronunciation is really rather great and this song has plenty of sensuousness and passion. The angsty, climactic chorus at the end is beautiful, sad and rousing and does what pretty much every other club record this year failed to do...evoke emotion.

  • Comment number 6.

    Great work Randy , haven't heard the Nelly ones , but all the other tracks are first class .

    Eminem really sounds like he has re-discovered his mojo , doesn't he ?

    The emotional depth and passion he conveys in his new material , is so intoxicating to the listener.
    He is one of my favourite "storytellers " and his tortured delivery makes me hang on his every word .

    30 Seconds to Mars. Fantastic live act , with the skill of anthemic , sweeping , epic songs .

    Their version of GaGa's Bad Romance is still my favourite Live Lounge , ever !

    Florence really has excelled into the mainstream , with some splendid pop songs laced in passion and multiple layers of emotion .

    Your I-Pod sounds like it has taken quite a beating !

    "Commander" is a truly powerful dance monster with an absolute "General" of a hook in it's chorus .
    Guetta's star as a producer with pop music nous , is a real champagne supernova !
    His star is rising faster than a adult film star walking onto the set , on the first day of filming !

    Marina needs another hit the size of "Hollywood" but she is showing potential and a songwriting knack for catchy songs with a clever lyrical perception.

  • Comment number 7.

    This song is fantastic! I thought I Blame Coco were astoundingly good as well when I saw them live a couple of months ago.
    I would say my favorite songs at the moment would be:

    1) I Blame Coco - Self Machine
    2) B.o.B + Hayley Williams - Airplanes
    3) Eminem + Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie
    4) Mark Ronson + The Business - Bang Bang Bang
    5) Paramore - Careful

  • Comment number 8.

    1. On Melancholy Hill - The Gorillaz
    2. Howl- Florence + The Machine
    3. Spacebound- Eminem
    4. 4th July (fireworks)- Kelis
    5. Salt Skin- Ellie Goulding
    6. If I Had You- Adam Lambert
    7. I'm Not Calling You a Liar- Florence + The Machine
    8. Love The Way You Lie- Eminem and Rhianna
    9. Choices- The Hoosiers
    10. Awake My Soul- Mumford and sons

    There's my top ten :)

    (The song gets 3 stars by the way)

  • Comment number 9.

    I mispelt Rihanna...

  • Comment number 10.

    The video to this song is something else, I love it.
    The song, I loved a few weeks back, but it doesn't seem to do anything for me anymore, which is a shame because I still really like "Caesar"... That may have something to do with my obsession with Robyn, but still...

  • Comment number 11.

    Top 10 Time!

    1) Dance Or Die - Janelle Monae
    2) Bang Bang Bang - Mark Ronson
    3) Ready To Start - Arcade Fire
    4) NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA - Funeral Party (seriously if you haven't heard of them check them out if you like The Strokes)
    5) Daddy Fat Sax - Big Boi
    6) Over and Over - Hot Chip
    7) On Melancholy Hill - Gorillaz
    8) Barricade - Interpol
    9) Hang With Me - Robyn
    10)The Rat - The Walkmen

  • Comment number 12.

    Hey all! Long time chartblog reader, first time commenter...

    Choons I am loving at the mo be:

    1. Plan B - Prayin (makes u wanna throw your hands to the sky in parts... so impassioned!)
    2. Lady Gaga - Alejandro (the first Lady Gaga song with some genuine emotion behind it. A fab combo of early Madonna and Ace of Base)
    3. Janelle Monae - Faster (still undecided on the album but this track is great - really reminds me of some stuff off the underrrated N.E.R.D album "Fly or Die")
    4. M.I.A - XXXO (this is just a bangin choon all around!)
    5. Chromeo - Fancy Footwork ( ok this a couple of years old but i only discovered it recently and everytime i put it on it makes me want to do jerky dance movements and spin around on my head... FUNKY.)
    6. Imelda May - Psycho (a great taster for the new album - shes gone full on rockabilly with a hint of psychobilly for good measure. rockin')
    7. Kele - Tenderoni (still absolutely lovin this track. should've been a bigger hit)
    8. She & Him - I Thought I Saw Your Face Today (been enjoying the new album a lot but this track from Volume 1 is just too bittersweet to ignore. Lovely stuff)
    9. Edward Maya - Stereo Love (i've been tryin not to like this track for so long... but i can't fight it any longer. like they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem...)
    10. Florence and the Machine - Hurricane Drunk (everyone seems to have a Florence track in there somewhere so this is my preferred album track... great sense of desperation in this one.)

    ok thats me done! just thought id also say this is one of my favourite places to hear about new music so keep up the good work lads! x

  • Comment number 13.

    Because I can never restrict myself to just 10... :D

    1) B.o.B. ft. Hayley Williams - 'Airplanes'
    2) Plan B - 'Prayin''
    3) Gorillaz - 'On Melancholy Hill'
    4) Lady GaGa - 'Alejandro'
    5) Brandon Flowers - 'Crossfire'
    6) Katie Melua - 'A Happy Place'
    7) Pendulum - 'Witchcraft'
    8) Eminem ft. Rihanna - 'Love The Way You Lie'
    9) Mark Ronson & The Business Intl ft. Q-Tip & MNDR - 'Bang Bang Bang'
    10) M.I.A ft. Jay-Z - 'XXXO'
    11) Diana Vickers - 'The Boy Who Murdered Love'

    In no particular order of course, they're all five star songs for me.

  • Comment number 14.

    Barricade by Interpol has just had its first play on Uk radio as Zane Lowe's hottest record in the world ! It is now on his blog page or will be in about 1 hour .

  • Comment number 15.

    Haducon - I am also loving Choices by The Hoosiers, what a brilliant fun video , and one hell of a huge chorus hook !

  • Comment number 16.

    Sod the machine - I am also a lover of Stereo Love . Really feel that song . A real gulty pleasure ., but what the hell ?
    We like it .

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't. Grrr.

    @ 15 As for The Hoosiers, you should head over to Pop Justice and search them: They have four preview clips of four new songs from their upcoming LP, including 'Choices'.

    My favourite is 'Bumby Ride', I think Irvin sounds very George Michael-esque.

    I'm really loving there new sound too.

  • Comment number 18.

    According to my top 5 most listened on spotify...

    1) 'Paradise Circus' by Massive attack - This is their return to form people! There's a certain atmosphere about this track that I can't put my finger on. The vocals are beautiful (Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval and the haunting violins and piano make for an amazing listen! 5 Stars.

    2) 'Susans house' by Eels - A very old song (1996 to be precise) and is almost as old as me! But this doesn't stop me enjoying it. The song boasts cool vocals and a catchy chorus but also manages to pinpoint todays problems in society. 5 Stars.

    3)'London Girl' by Invisible. Doubt many people will know this track. Its from one of last years Mercury Prize nominated bands. I like the cool, chilled bassline on this track - it reminds me off the bass riff from 'Rappers Delight'. I also love the vocals which, as the song progresses, begin to layer. I love it. 4 Stars

    4)'VCR'by The XX. Beginning with some lovely xylophone playing, this tune progresses into this relaxed, almost lazy, track. It makes me want to fall asleep in a good way. I love the lyrics as well - 'Love I think we're superstars'. Mmmmm The joys of The XX... 4 Stars

    5)Suffocation by Crystal Castles. This is my favourite song of the moment. Its chilled, but danceable to at the same time. Its fragile, but so heavy! I love Alice Glass's soft, yet sheirky, vocals. This track haunts your ears like a ghost that has a fetish for earwax! 5 Stars.

  • Comment number 19.

    First time commenter too, here's what I'm currently recommending (no order)...

    1) Magnetic Man - I Need Air
    2) Pendulum - Witchcraft [Rob Swire Drumstep Remix]
    3) Mark Ronson - Bang Bang Bang
    4) Crystal Castles - Year Of Silence
    5) Tensnake - Coma Cat
    6) Netsky - Secret Agent
    7) Bombay Bicycle Club - Ivy & Gold
    8) MIA - xxxo
    9) Edward Maya - Stereo Love
    10) Drake - Find Your Love

  • Comment number 20.

    I think I agree with everyone on here about top 10s. That's actually amazing. I think this track is a little over hyped. Ritalin and Caesar are so, so, so much better. This is just limp. The chorus is nothing special at all, so the comments about it baffle me. Maybe it'll grow on me. The Constant will hopefully be good; she has a great voice.

  • Comment number 21.

    There seem to be so many good singles around at the moment , I feel compelled to do a part 2 of my favourite songs of the moment .

    Here comes another 8 :

    1) The Hoosiers - Choices

    I first bigged this track up months ago somewhere on this blog .
    Lesson 1 - If you are gonna make a comeback , make sure your lead single has a chorus , that is so infectious that the listener cannot forget it .
    Check !
    Hilarious video , and Irwin is morphing into Ben Stiller , more and more with each song !
    This will be another top 20 hit for The Hoosiers .

    2) Interpol - Barricade

    Like all Interpol songs , this one takes a few listens until it pricks your inner soul.
    Although , some Interpol fans are complaining that the chorus is too catchy!
    There is no pleasing some is there ?
    Loving it regardless !

    3) Drake - Find Your Love

    From Interpol to Drake . I know ! So diverse .
    As slow jams go , this song boasts strong hooks in verse and chorus and is smoother than smooth .
    Great chill-out tune !

    4) The Wanted -

    Ok , this is a new boyband that don't have the "help" of X-Factor to help them get into the charts .
    So what is most important thing they can possess , to have a hit ?
    You got it , a well crafted song , with a really strong chorus hook , that will seduce t.v and radio stations .
    After all , it's songs that people buy , not charisma .
    This song is so good , it will take them into the top 20 , at least !

    A big hit in waiting .

    5) B.O.B/ Hayley Williams - Airplanes

    Great song , and probably tonights number 1 , unless Eminem fiddles with the cockpit of this plane!
    Leave the buttons alone Marshall !

    6) Ellie Goulding - The Writer

    A charming little song , boosted by an enormous chorus hookline that stays with you a long time after the song is over .

    7) The Drums - Let's Go Surfing

    The band finally release their best song as a single , and it's a fantastic Summer gem !
    Race ya to the beach !

    8) Tinie Tempah - Written in the Stars

    This new single is out soon , sounds big and will ignite the album campaign .

    It's a really good feeling sharing your favourite songs , I recommend it . :)

  • Comment number 22.

    The Wanted?!?!?!?! Really Spirit? They might not be as bad as JLS, but still...

    And I'm loving 'Find Your Love' as well, great song

  • Comment number 23.

    Re the Wanted single , I really liked it , way before I knew their identity or saw the video .

    There is no doubting that the song itself is a well crafted pop song , has a really strong chorus , that is gonna explode at retail .

    However , as I have said before , when I saw the video , I felt so let down !
    The video is so contrived , and is likely to turn a lot of people OFF the song , as it seems so fake and shallow .

    I try to forget the video and try to go back to the time of when I first heard the song on a CD and immediately said "top 10 hit " instantly .
    It's a great pop single.

    However ,the first 2 minutes of the video is SO painful to watch .

    Good song though ! lol

  • Comment number 24.

    Ha ha ! I got so excited about the Wanted in my fave songs , I forgot to put the song title in !

    Must have a "man-crush" on someone in the band !

    But which one ?



  • Comment number 25.

    Max George OBV. He's the one from avenue, with the really deep voice.

    I REALLY like 'All Time Low' by new boy-band The Wanted. I like the fact they wrote most of the songs from their new album themselves and the fact they've done something new with a song that hasn't been done with a boy-band before (without coming of as dated and cheesy).

    A expect goos things for The Wanted.

    And as far as Tinie Tempah is concerned, well if he can't cook up something more credible than "Would you risk it for a chocolate biscuit" then he can just go away.

  • Comment number 26.

    EDIT: Avenue as in the Avenue that auditioned for X Factor but got nowhere because they were kicked out because rumours arose that they were put in for the show by a record label, which was against rules.

  • Comment number 27.

    Interpol will release Barricade on september 6th 2010 .


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