Seen/Heard/Read

Santa Baby covered by Lindsey Stirling

Both the song and the music video have been up for a while, but I’ve been listening and watching on repeat, that’s how much I love how this cover by Lindsey Stirling turned out! And now it’s time to pour out my feelings. My favourite line is I want a yacht and, really, that’s not a lot, just the way she says it with that saucy look, and the dance moves match it perfectly. It might become a daily quote. Oh, and I want that shower cap with sequins on it and, really, that’s not a lot. Of sequins. I just love how they catch the light…

Focus!

Since being uploaded on November 29 the music video has already had almost 2.4 million views at the time of writing this blog post, way to go Lindsey! There are so many things I love about the video, where to start…

Lindsey co-directed and her trademark attention to detail and concepting, not to mention her individuality, are all immediately obvious. From the colour palette switching between pinks, lilacs, whites and blues in various intensity, to the nods to her inspiration sources which she talks about in this behind the scenes video, it’s three and a half minutes packed with gorgeous, fun images.

The opening notes that repeat themselves throughout the song click at once with the imagery of  floating soap bubbles, balloons and lights and lend a modern touch to a classic. And then Lindsey sings! She does, and what a great job. In this inspiring interview on the Build series she talks about her vocal work in particular, saying that she ended up liking her voice on the demos she recorded at first and sticking with it.

I love her confidence as well as the whole tone of her singing, how it ties with the music in her interpretation, the balanced execution and the coquettish, feminine vibe. The fact that she went on to do her own vocals also makes me incredibly excited for what she will produce in the future. In addition, she spoke about the challenge of covering a beloved Christmas classic that many others have covered before as well and coming up with a way to do it that had her mark on it.

Just when you’ve managed to digest it is indeed Lindsey singing Santa Baby, she makes my jaw drop even more by dancing en pointe in ballet shoes! She’s been known not just for her mind-blowing simultaneous violin playing and dancing, but also as an amazingly talented, sharp dancer, especially after her season on Dancing with the Stars in 2017. Her movements are precise and beautiful, you can tell she’s trained, but at the same time the choreography doesn’t look studied or mechanical. Her enjoyment of what she is doing shines through in the scenes, which I’m in awe of even more now that I have a (very) slight inkling of how hard ballet sequences can actually be.

Been an angel all year… Merry Christmas!

 

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Lindsey Stirling Became a Robot on DWTS

Lindsey Stirling is an artistic chameleon, pushing the boundaries of creative self-definition and repeatedly blowing people’s minds. The same can be said about Mark Ballas, her dance partner on the current season of Dancing With The Stars, a show I would watch if it broadcast here, but thankfully there’s YouTube.

It’s a dance partnership made in heaven. Like many others, I was not expecting a sci-fi theme for their tango. I was also convinced after the first few seconds of viewing that Lindsey Stirling had special powers and had indeed turned in to a robot. I would believe it of her. And not just any robot, but one of the most stylish, disturbingly attractive and potentially menacing robots I’ve ever seen. At least on a dancefloor.

Mark Ballas is immediately recognizable as a mad scientist drilling with enthusiasm in to what appears to be a severed future robot leg, as smoke trails across the floor of the darkened stage. Three robots start to move with precise, elegant jerking of limbs a short distance away. The suave sounds of Human by Sevdaliza successfully meld with the robot’s mechanical, yet pristinely executed movements. The music matches the story unfolding – the Frankenstein and Pygmalion elements, the thrill of invention and the lines of passion, as well as the threatening possibility of machines going loose on the world.

It’s a complicated, interesting, out-of-the-box take on the passion element that is part of tango as such. It’s also simply visually stunning, as my friend @junperlu put it. Lindsey Stirling’s unwavering multicolored gaze has you hooked as she tangos her way through the number. But what sealed the mind-blowing aspect of this whole performance for me was how she nailed those mechanical movements in time with the clicking noises from the song. I’d say the head turns in the beginning win hands down.

The fact that they got a perfect score was immensely satisfying.

 

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Lost Girls by Lindsey Stirling

Lost Girls is the first track on Lindsey Stirling’s latest album Brave Enough. It opens with tentative, probing notes that make one think of slow drops of melting ice or ripples on the surface of a quiet lake. And then, like most of the tracks on the album, it surprises you with the change of pace as you become absorbed in the story Lindsey is telling.

The story is of coming back from fear and loss. But not just that. Lindsey explains it herself in more detail, saying that the focus of the song and the video’s visualization is on what happens after recovery, the courage it takes to stay on the hard-won path. Lost Girls brilliantly picks up where Shatter Me from Lindsey’s sophmore album Beyond the Veil left off. It’s thrilling to see that the story can be further pursued, and thankfully in this case the sequel concept works flawlessly, building up on the solid base of the prequel and at the same time yet again drawing the viewer in to an immersive new world – trademark Stirling.

Fans will recognize some of the dancers from her recent tours, though they are transformed so convincingly thanks to costumes and make-up, that the creatures they are playing seem almost real, as well as terrifying. At the center of it all is, of course, Lindsey’s wide-eyed, but no longer helpless ballerina, lost and found again.

 

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The Arena by Lindsey Stirling

The inspirational, home-hitting and ever relevant quote from Theodore Roosevelt about facing life and what courage really is opens Lindsey Stirling’s latest music video, The Arena. And Lindsey would know, through personal experience, and in thinking this I immediately go back in my mind to her autobiography The Only Pirate at the Party. Many will shout, only a few will do – an ongoing theme in her music.

Visually grittier than most of Lindsey’s previous music videos, The Arena shows a story set in a seemingly fantastic space, but immediately painfully realistic in the scenes it depicts. People are thrown in to the fray of life for whatever reason, and even without actual lions waiting to pounce, the frowning crowd watching emanates a threatening sense that this could get ugly, as Lindsey and her partner, played by Derek Hough, move towards the center of this arena.

Is it a dying circus? A gang? Steam punk meets tribal meets Western meets dystopia? As always in Lindsey’s videos, the myriad of genres, ideas, associations and styles blends together to create something unique and memorable. Stepping next to a partner (relatively new for Lindsey) who looks like one of the fastest ballroom dancers in the world, her petite form is more obvious, but her posture is both graceful and determinedly strong at the same time.

It’s like Roundtable Rival flipped over, a mirror version, but in a world grey and desolate. Something needs to be reclaimed here. Love? Self-respect? Bravery? Happiness?

The sharpness of Lindsey’s violin cuts through my hearing, matching the dizzying speed of the dance movements. Once again both take mybreath away.

Anyone can become a target and be forced in to the arena, and it seems the message in the video is that a battle, whether big or small, is never far away, but whether fighting or not, it’s about not stopping being yourself. And, importantly so, to look around and realize that you don’t always have to do it alone, as you might have thought.

Welcome to The Arena.

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Lindsey Stirling. Night Vision

Lindsey Stirling has released a new music video! Oh joy! Repeated viewing and sharing of opinions required. What’s different in this video is that she integrates a promo for her upcoming 2016 summer tour (in the U.S. and Canada, plus one stop in Berlin at Lollapalooza this September, according to her official website). Go, Lindsey!

Considering how busy she is and how much mind-blowing output she regularly generates, the additional promise of a new album leaves me tingling with anticipation and admiration as well. Both of her previous albums still feel fresh and energetic, and listening to them on repeat is something my week cannot do without.

But back to Night Vision. This is one of my favourite tracks, because the way the music sounds and the way the various violin tones come together, especially the lower ones, make images of nighttime landscapes pop up in my mind, and fluorescent lights were in there as well. So it’s exciting to see Lindsey incorporate just that in to her music video. Not to mention the nods to superwoman themes, the action genre, and clearly Mission Impossible. Lindsey becomes her own super-violinist, dancing and playing her way through a laser maze in a black leather suit to let fans know about her news.

Strong, graceful, spunky, sharp of step and quick of bow – in short, Lindsey Stirling.

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