VV Brown – The Apple
In pop – as in life – there are always pioneers; those who blaze a trail through the wilds and make it safe for others to follow. VV Brown is one such pioneer, and she is very likely the reason why Rihanna feels perfectly comfortable wearing massive fright-eyebrows on the cover of her new single Bitch Better Have My Money – VV was doing it two years ago (see banner above.)
Naturally it’s not just forehead accessories we’re here to talk about, for VV Brown has also turned out to be something of a musical pioneer, emerging after a four year hiatus on the far side of pop’s galaxy. You may remember her for her sole (solo) hit Shark in the Water, no.34 back in 2009 – perfectly good, and deserving of more attention than it got – but nothing about it would suggest what was to follow in 2013.
Samson and Delilah had, I think it’s fair to say, a difficult gestation. There was an unreleased album (Lollipops and Politics) in between, whose cancellation was announced by VV on Facebook, saying that she “didn’t feel it was right as an artist.” Now, we’ve all been around long enough to know that this is code for “the first single flopped and now the record company won’t touch it and quite honestly they forced me in a direction I wasn’t happy with anyway, so I shall re-appear henceforth on a tiny indie label and the major will try to make a bit of their cash back by selling one of my songs to a Weight Watchers ad campaign.” The short translation is probably easier for all concerned.
Anyway – sometimes this kind of disaster is exactly what’s needed. Very occasionally when a pop star is on their uppers they go away for a bit of a think about how they’d actually like to sound and come back with something so astonishing that it may as well be by a completely new person. With that in mind, here is The Apple:
This is most definitely pop, but it is dark pop, angry pop and hypnotic pop – although crucially you can still dance to it. I particularly like how VV doesn’t so much sing it as address her subjects – and that is a great stance for a pop star to take. Unfortunately, despite being hypnotic no-one was actually hypnotised into buying it, and The Apple failed to chart, with Samson and Delilah only making no.158 on the album countdown.
While commercial glory once again eluded VV, I tend to think that this particular era successfully repositioned her as someone very interesting, and her impending return this year will turn out to be deservedly huge – though I expect the eyebrows will have been binned.
Entered chart: did not chart
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Rihanna stole the eyebrows, she may as well nick the song.