The follow-up to Hollie Cook’s self titled debut album was released in 2014. Initially the album was made available through Pledge Music, however it was later purchased by this particular reviewer through Australian retailer JB Hi Fi’s website. Prior to that it was freely downloaded from a certain website which had leaked the album. Hey, it’s 2015, these things will eventually happen. After much consideration, it was time to type out yet another track by track album review. So, without any further ado, let us dissect the ish out of Hollie Cook’s second album, “Twice.”
Ari Up: Hollie’s last album was dedicated to Ari Up, who was the lead singer of a punk band called The Slits. This time around she’s brought us an all-out tribute, which begins with her singing the phrase: “Come let her fire blaze.” Words such as angelic and hymn-like enter the mind upon hearing this for the first time. Since it’s difficult to imagine anybody singing that particular phrase in church, we may as well stay in line with the reggae theme. It’s otherwise everything a tribute ought to be: personal sentimental, sincere, celebratory in the sense that she’s talking about keeping her memory alive.
99: Just listen to that intro: Birds chirping, water rushing. Puts you in quite a pleasant frame of mind, doesn’t it? That’s usually what people associate with reggae: Tropical islands, strong beverages, maybe a bit of weed. Except this song is not pleasant at all, it’s about breaking up with somebody: “Please don’t give me your smile I adore/‘Cause I can’t touch you no more…. remember 99 on the beach?” If this is a reference to the year 1999, that means Hollie Cook would have only been about 12 or 14 years of age at the time. Turns out she didn’t even write this song, it was Frenchman Barthélémy Corbelet who wrote every other song on the album barring the first and last song.
Desdemona: For a song that’s so sweetly sung, its subject matter sure is a tad bit disturbing. It even begins with Hollie singing about too much blood on her teeth. Basically, it’s about a vampire and it features references to all kinds of horror movie characters like as ghouls and ghosts. Props to Barthélémy for penning the line: “I’m shivering like a B Movie star,” as it was quite creative. That said though the name Desdemona (also the name of a Shakespearian character) translates to disgraceful, so she may be onto something here. And, if this is what she’s chosen to sing about, then she might be a bit of a horror fan. Nothing wrong with that though.
Tiger Balm: Hollie Cook is clearly quite a good messenger, or at least a good narrator of other people’s lyrics. In the case of this song, it’s another one that’s about being broken up with, yet the other person is still trying to chase after their ex. Tiger Balm is used as a metaphor for not wanting to feel any pain after the fact.
Postman: The spoken intro to this song was actually lifted from an old Disney record, even though it may sound like it was taken from some kind of horror film. As for the song itself, it’s about being active during the night while the full moon shines down upon you. Most other folks, on the other hand, wait for sun to rise. It’s also about protecting your soul from anything bad that may occur throughout that particular night. Hollie is “waiting for the postman,” but she doesn’t know where to sign. Again this song seems to be written from a metaphoric stand point. Despite all the references to full moons, it’s most likely NOT about werewolves!
Looking for Real Love: Quite a bouncy slice of reggae from Ms Hollie Cook. Lots of strings and a squiggly keyboard riff at about three odd minutes into the tune. Aside from that, the title says it all, really, she’s looking for some real love after letting go of the last guy in her life. Not really all that deep, just straight and to the point.
Superfast: For some reason, this is the song that keeps popping up on my own personal playlists. The dude that Hollie is singing about keeps running away from her, hence he is super fast. As usual her vocals glide all over the track. Sounds real nice. Prince would most probably like this girl’s voice…. as for her reggae version of “Take Me With U” with the Fun Loving Criminals. No comment.
Twice: The title track of the album features Ms Cook singing about dancing with a voodoo priest, yet being somewhat apologetic for her actions. Even warning the fellow she’s about to show these things to. But hey at least she tried it. She’ll try something once. Twice if she likes it. Hence the title.
Win or Lose: The intro to this song is almost trip hop but then it eventually moves off into reggae. Hollie wrote the lyrics to this one herself. Really all she’s saying is that she feels kind of weak whenever her man looks at her and she feels her skin burning like fire. Certain parts of this song are reminiscent of “Pleasure & Pain” by The Divinyls. Probably not the intention.
Verdict: Although she’s still singing in the same voice and she’s still backed by the same group of incredibly talented musicians (such as R&B singer OMAR) Hollie Cook’s second album is certainly quite different to her first one. While that one was more of a lovers rock type of album, this one is mixed with cinematic strings and horror movie imagery. Perhaps that’s just an expression of Hollie’s personality. It’s still quite an original concept though, who else would mix cinematic strings with reggae and horror movies? What will her next album be titled? Thrice? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.