(Photo: Cover of Black’s album “Any Colour You Like”)
Black aka Colin Vearncombe: “Any Colour You Like” – Fans chose the tracks and we had a listen.
It’s a new version of “Wonderful Life”, his hit song, that opens the album, but Black offers more. For example the opportunity to his fans to decide which songs they personally want on an album. A choice of songs from the last 20 years. 16 are included on “Any Colour You Like”.
Black said he was a bit surprised which songs fans had voted for, but in times of the democratic internet they got what they wanted: A great re-recorded version of “Sweetest Smile” (check out the amazing and haunting backing vocals of the chorus), a live version of “Water On Stone” with some extra work by Engineer/Musician Andy Patterson (all in all he mixed four songs and compiled the album) and 1993’s underrated (not anymore) “Swingtime”. Black would have chosen some others, he revealed in our exclusive interview. Also saying that it may shrink his creative freedom to let fans decide, but he acknowledges their votes.
Maybe it’s his voice or the mood of the songs but they fit very well to those colder days coloured in grey. A soundtrack to colder times. That in terms of the weather as well as the politicial situation in the world. And that overall tone seems to be supported by the moody videos that accompany them (Check them out on YouTube). Black likes black and white videos and photos. So there’s one on the cover of the album (taken by Gisli Snaer). “The only one that I liked”, he added with a smile.
But it’s still any colour you like. So: Any other surprises? Yes. A remixed version of “Tomorrow Is Another Night” with a stumbling electronic beat, a harmonica interlude and ear-flattering vocal harmonies. Well, and then there’s an Irish or maybe North African touch added to the end of the song.
“Too Many Times” is another great live song on the long-player. On an album that combines both, the tradition of releasing a set of coherent songs as well as having the advantages of download services. Songs are too often consumed like throw-away products. Oftentimes the lyrics have a completely different or deeper meaning when you listen carefully. That’s what Black does with his favourite tracks (he likes Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” because of that) and that’s what you have to do with “Any Colour You Like”. Especially the slower almost only acoustic songs require some time to fully understand them.
“Sleeper”, appearing as the penultimate track on “Any Colour You Like”, is an opposite example. From the first moment on it sounds like a hit. A song that should rotate on radio. It should, but that’s another story…
1. Wonderful Life (2002 Re-Record)
2. Sweetest Smile (2011 Re-Record)
3. Water On Snow (2010 Live at The Aquarium)
4. Tomorrow is Another Night (2011 Remix)
5. Fly Up To The Moon
6. Let Me Watch You Make Love
7. Too Many Times
9. Ave Lolita
10. The Way She Was Before
11. Better Letting Go
12. Two Churches
13. Stormy Waters
14. Her Coat And No Knickers
16. Where The River Bends (From the movie “The Pier”)
Watch the trailer for the album above. Snippets of the songs are up on colinvearncombe.com. The full album, released in various formats, is also available there.
There’s more to come. Watch out for part 3 and 4 of our exclusive interview with Black here on the transatlantic diablog.