Andra Day looks…unusual. Her hair is put up in a yellow scarf, she has a day-glo green clip in the front of her hair. She has dramatic eye liner on and bright red lips. It’s quite a look. And when she contorts her face in voice–the makeup really accentuates everything–as if she was made up for the stage rather than a close up.
But she earns the look with her powerful voice and delivery.
“Forever Mine” is an R&B song that her band assist with nice backing vocals. I love that the pianist is playing what sound lie a toy piano on top of the real piano.
“Rise Up” has a descending vocal melody that’s not unlike Prince. It is a simple ballad played on keys and acoustic guitar. The end has a kind of gospel tinge (and of course she does the vocal gymnastics of the genre that I really hate). This could easily be in a movie or on some TV singing show.
Before “Gold” she asks “am I allowed to say that?” but I can’t figure out what she’s asking about as there’s nothing bad in the song that I can hear. Of the three songs this is my favorite, particularly her unusual deliver of some of the verses and the neat keyboard sound they use. Of course it drives me a little nuts that she sings “slipping true my hands” (her backing singers do actually sing “through” thankfully), but this is a good dramatic set ender.
[READ: October 12, 2016] Bera The One-Headed Troll
This is an unusual book. It’s kind of cute, but in a dark and creepy way. The whole book is done in tones of brown, making it unique in its appearance.
It took me a few dozen pages to get into this book (which is 126 pages–pretty long for a children’s graphic novel), but once the flow started happening, I thought it was quite good.
The slowness in the beginning was largely because of exposition–some of which wasn’t really necessary, I don’t think.
I also felt some confusion about Bera herself. Bera is a one-headed troll. The fact that this is important enough to be the title seems like it should be addressed in some way in the story. But it isn’t. We meet some other trolls with more than one head, but it’s unclear if they get more heads as they get older or if they are born that way. Her one-headedness is never actually addressed.
What was also confusing is that Bera the Troll looks an awful lot like Winslowe her owl friend (they both pale, oval heads).
So Bera is a gardener, she grows pumpkins for the Troll King. I was confounded by the third panel which says “but there are no kings or queens in this story.” I read way too much into this and took it to mean there weren’t any because they didn’t exist, and I was anticipating some kind of “kings are fake” story. Especially when it’s foxes who come to pick up the pumpkins for the king. But no, that statement only means that the king and queen won’t appear in this book. So why bring them up?
Anyhow, I’m trying to puzzle all of this together when suddenly some really ugly mermen are seen trying to steal a human baby floating in a pot in the water. Bera gets mad at them, hurls pumpkins at them and takes the baby. The Mermen start cursing her and promising to destroy her island.
But Bera is a kind-hearted soul and she wants to get that baby back to safety. She contacts the spirit of an ancestor who is not much help. Although the ancestor does warn Bera that the creature knocking on the door is dangerous. And that is correct because it is Cloote the witch who has come looking for that baby. “Human babies” she explains “make the best mindless monsters.”
Fearing for the baby, Bera sets off on a quest. Well, not a real quest, after all, she’s not a hero. She sets off on a quest to find a hero who will take the baby back to the human village. She has never left her island before, but she and Winslowe set off in a small pumpkin.
She is instantly set upon by the mermen who call forth a sea creature to stop her. But she outsmarts it and heads to the woods in search of Wulf the Dragon-Masher, a verified hero.
But she is attacked and then assisted by a foursome of hedgehogs (clever creatures that they are). They help her on her quest. But instead of Wulf, perhaps she should try The Great Duke Otig, who is actually expecting them. But she gets distracted by some rats who seem to be drowning (the rats are rather cute).
She finally makes it to the edge of the island where they meet Nanny the three-headed troll. But all this time Cloote has been following them.
How can an old troll fend of a powerful witch? And what will happen to this human baby?
If you like the ugly-cute style of drawing, the story really grows on you (Bera’s white discs of eyes are creepy at first but grow endearing). And as I said, after a slow start it really picks up and is really engaging (even if you’re pretty sure you know what’s going to happen). #10yearsof01