"Permission" by Ivy Ash

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"Permission" by Ivy Ash

Review

Alas: it's been over a year since I was able to review an Ivy Ash release ("Stop, Rewind"), although thankfully I have caught her live a couple of times in the meantime.

Now I get to do it once again as "Permission" comes out 28th June  & you can pre-save it via this link here:

https://ffm.to/ivyash-permission

It's a collaboration with USA producer Collin Derrick which makes a lot of sense: not only in her constant striving to move her music forwards but also because her songs have always been universal & global in style: eschewing parochialism and aiming for hearts everywhere.

The message is clear & consistent with her previous work: "be unapologetically you & if people think you're "too much" - well, that's their loss…. a vibrant electro-pop track that empowers you to break free from societal norms, embrace your insecurities, and own your story."

This applies to us all but nevertheless, Ivy has a particular affinity for the Pride movement (I've seen her play Warwickshire Pride more than any other individual event) and the release is timed to coincide with Pride Month as the values match so well.

Her self-description includes calling herself "a body-positive queen living with fibromyalgia.." which not only anchors her into her philosophy but also explains what she has to live with and the challenges which help account for the gap between releases. On the other hand, since she has in that period also graduated with a first honours degree in songwriting and music business, a lot of academic graft is also a big factor.

Put into that context, we can appreciate "Permission" at a far greater depth than its obvious charms & danceability nevertheless offer. Ivy always sugars any pills she offers to cure society's ills and always offers listeners positive solutions to issues in their lives: ones which afford them agency too. For years these have included a profound interest in mental health issues and now we find concern around body imaging, personal identity and relationships with the judgemental dynamics within our culture.

 "This song is an unapologetic anthem for the girls, the gays & the theys. Let's own that runway & be fearlessly deluxe".

She really doesn't want the message to get lost or not heard if you are too busy with your feet's response to the track to process it with your ears too: so it's kept simple. You do not require society's permission to live your own unique life regardless of artificial norms nor expectations.  If I ramble on too much about such a direct polemic then I'll be failing where Ivy succeeded in keeping it short, sweet & to the point.

So that's the lyrics, the passengers if you will in "Permission", so what does the musical vehicle they are riding in sound like?

Well Ivy is a talented & experienced musician but she is also a canny one and teaming up with Collin has certainly crushed any dangers of moving towards any sort of formula as this song really sounds unlike any its predecessors.

There are copious nods to the history of disco from Ivy's voice floating ethereally on top of the mix a la Donna Summer to heavy use of processed percussion & funky bass licks as the lead instruments.

The production is clever with vocals weaving about to great effect (it actually sounds like a group of women having a discussion) but with that lightness of touch which retains the song at the heart of the endeavour rather than boasting of the producer's cleverness.

Paying homage to those who have gone before is fraught with artistic dangers from the extreme one of accusations of plagiarism through flirting with pastiche to simply undermining the appreciation of one's own originality. Thankfully Ivy has the taste & experience (and the degree must have helped) to take on the challenge and pass with flying colours and doubtlessly Collin's expertise played a major part in producing a fresh 2024 track yet with those colorations which would appeal to the cognoscenti of the form.

You get a lot for your money when you buy an Ivy Ash track: you get a great song to dance to (or any other similar exercise which takes your fancy). You get empathy with who you are and you get something of a guide to how to maximise who you need to be.

I probably describe all her songs as anthems for the simple reason that they are: but with "Permission" Ivy has refined the form further than ever before: I look forward to seeing how this one's chorus gets picked up on by her live audiences.

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