If you can’t think of ten, you don’t really love it.
It’s been a very long time since we had a Plan B album, but one is due shortly this May. Time to look back at what made him such a big artist back in 2010.
1) She Said was a single from something I admire greatly – the concept album. The Defamation Of Strickland Banks tells the tale of how super slick singer Strickland finds fame, but when wrongly convicted of rape, he ends up in clink. The album goes on to chronicle the difficulties of life behind bars. As if making an album isn’t challenging enough, I admire anyone tackling a long player that has to have the cohesion to fit a theme.
2) The album heralded a change of direction for Plan B (aka Ben Drew). His first album, Who Needs Action When You Got Words, showed his hip hop pedigree, but this mixed in a sweet soul singing voice.
3) She Said tells the part of the story where Strickland ends up in court. The jury and court personnel find the finger clicking hook of the song quite irresistible. Even the security guards in the dock get jiggy with the rhythm and it gets your hopes up that they will find Mr Banks innocent.
4) Strickland’s girlfriend in the video is only VICKY MCCLURE!!! She of Line Of Duty (Kate Fleming) fame – the consummate professional and utter goddess of AC-12. *Fangirling a bit*
5) The song combines the talents of Ben Drew (or should I call him Plan? Mr B?) for singing a bit like a girl, with his eloquence with words. It makes the song very accessible leading to a wide appeal.
6) The singing bit provides the catchy hook to reel you in, but the hip hop part provides the lyrical interest. Of the accuser he says:
“She just feels rejected
Had her heart broken by someone she’s obsessed with
‘Cause she likes the sound of music
Which makes her a fan of my music
That’s why love goes down, makes her lose it
‘Cause she can’t separate the man from the music”
Well it’s all a bit Stan (without Dido or the girlfriend in the boot) combined with Fatal Attraction (although no bunnies were boiled in the making of the song). We all know that fans can get rather over the top… but let’s be honest, a lot of us have struggled with the separating the man and the music bit. He’s hit the nail on the head there.
7) “As my girl cries tears in the gallery
Got bigger than I ever could have planned
Like that song by The Zutons, Valerie”
Got to love a shout out for another artist. When The Zutons wrote Valerie, they couldn’t have imagined that the combined efforts of Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson would make it such a well known tune. Incidentally, what a great rhyme!
8) Never underestimate the power in successful music of an “Oh oh oh oh oh.” Or come to that an “Ay ay ay ay.”
9) A Strickland raises his arms at the end in a sacrificial Jesus type pose, you kind of know he’s been hung out to dry. As the gavel drops, he’s on his way inside…
10) Plan B earned a shed load of nominations and awards for this work, but three Ivor Novello awards for Songwriter Of The Year, Album Award and Most Performed work for this song must have been particularly satisfying.