Mystery, art and the music of Sarah Brand
All about my favourite internet kerfuffle of 2021
This is the story of a video that went viral over the summer and revealed a lot of interesting stuff that seems to have been largely overlooked.
But, first things first, you need to have heard it. If you've never come across Sarah Brand, listen to this before reading on. No cheating, please.
Whatever you were clenching, relax.
That video already had over 1 million views when I first saw it. Controversy was raging among the bemused folk who made it go viral and we’ll get to all that. Suffice to say that Sarah Brand’s ‘Red Dress’ was an ‘internet sensation’.
I loved it.
So…I think it's good. Seriously. Especially the vocal. But also the startling guitar break that first appears at 1' 05". The priest guy. The other extras. The whole performance.
The sustained harmony beginning at 2' 58" is glorious.
It's one of the most interesting and bold musical offerings I've heard in the past year. Given that I almost never go a day without investigating new (to me) music, it was refreshing to hear this for the first time, back in September.
If you're roughly as old as me you might have fond memories of a British comedian who sometimes played the piano.
But I think it's a mistake to see Sarah Brand as just Les Dawson on steroids, minus the patter.
Both of them obviously fuck with your ears. But whereas Dawson was kind of reinterpreting the concept of comedy timing using a piano (those bum notes are perfectly chosen and placed), Brand is somehow finding the intervals between the notes in a conventional scale and staying there. And dropping it into an information and entertainment ecosystem that feeds on values like conformity, virtue, achievement, talent, fame and endless judgement.
Dawson was straight-up funny. Brand is strange and interesting.
So, what makes Sarah Brand good?
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