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We Plug To You… CocknBullKid – Adulthood

I plug to you East-London resident Anita Blay (by way of Hackney)Blay – also known as the unique yet intriguing stage name Cocknbullkid – is a 26-year old UK singer/songwriter of Ghanian heritage who has had a love for music ever since she can remember. Growing up with dreams of one day becoming a pop star, she started writing in her bedroom at age 10 and not before long, got immersed into the industry – writing with rapper-now-turned Soul singer Plan B by the age of 16.Blay went on to release her debut single “On My Own” produced by Joseph Mount (Metronomy) in July of 2008, which landed her a slot on seminal TV show Later With Jools Holland in the same year. With a stream of self-released singles under her belt, she later released an independent EP Querelle in 2009 under the moniker The Cocknbullkid and soon after went off the radar for a while. On her return from a 2-year hiatus, she dropped the pronoun from her name, got signed to major label Island Records and released a very stellar debut album titled Adulthood

Listing artists like The Knife and Madonna as her influences, so far in 2011, Blay has gone on to support Duran Duran and Janelle Monae on their respective UK tours while she will be supporting Patrick Wolf on his UK/Ireland album tour later this month – not bad at all for the 26 year old. Her debut studio albumAdulthood – released earlier in May – was recorded in London, Paris and Stockholm with production largely from from Liam Howe (Marina and the Diamonds) and co-production from Chilly Gonzales. Blay co-writes the songs on the album with a handful of songwriting talent – Hannah RobinsonPeter Moren (Peter, Bjorn and John), Joseph Mount (Metronomy) and longtime collaborator Mark Tieku to name a few – and the end result? Well, Adulthoodexudes a sense of wit, confidence, truth and excitement that translates very much in her lyrics.  In Blay’s words…

“The music I made at first was cool, but it was work in progress. There was only so far I could take it. I knew I was capable of more. I wanted to make music that reached people further than E9, or whatever the cool postcode is now.”

Our first pick off the album is the track titled “Distractions“. From the intro, it sounds like the instrumentals were generated using a beat pad while infusing pop synthesizers to create the ultimate British pop song. Somehow the song reminds me of those that graced the track lists of NOW compilations in the early 2000’s as it bears resemblance to acts like All Saints which is not surprising as Shaznay Lewis, former member of the band had a hand in this song’s creation. This Pop melody keeps a mellow tempo with a hint of earth-like sounds for the verses, but the rhythm picks up at the chorus with more instrumentals fused in to make for a richer sounding instrumentation. Accompanying these cords are warm vocals from Blay, chanting lyrics that delve into her past relationships and working through the obstacles or distractions as she explicitly titled the song.


The self-titled track “Cocknbullkid” co-produced by Howe and Gonzales starts off heavy with piano keys and an array of lush strings which build up with steel drums and trumpet sounds. The song’s lyrics play on people’s opinions on how they perceive Blay in a rather upbeat and refreshing manner. Quite noticeable though is that the project seems to have a recurring self-loathing theme and this track is no difference. Blay’s lyrics and delivery however covers the self-obsession making it more of a sing-along than a self-pity song. Listen to the autobiographical track filled with witty lyrical wordplay from Blay below.

The last plug from Adulthood is the Blue May-produced “Asthma Attack” which takes on a slight diversion from the previous pop tracks we have featured from the album. The quirky track seemingly about the city of London has a very catchy chorus, but with lyrics like “you were the first one I lost my heart to so how can I ever forget you… what part of me belongs to you”, it begs the question if Blay is really belting her feelings towards the city of London in a literal manner or using it as a figure of speech to refer to an ex-lover. The use of dance pop instrumentals with the presence of what seems like an organized orchestrated sound fits rightly well with her playful delivery of the lyrics and in line with the current climate of UK mainstream music. The hook drops into a uniform drum loop complete with piano chords and harmonizing before ending the track with the same tempo as the chorus. “Asthma Attack” is the official third single off the album and I feel this should do very well on the charts.

I could go on naming other tracks off the project that are very review worthy, such as “Dumb” and “Hold On To Your Misery“, but I’ll leave the musical exploration to your listening. I’ll admit it took a couple of listens to warm up to the album as the tracks seemed to all somewhat represent the same theme, but Blay as an artist creatively delivered a good album that should do very well on the UK charts. Blay shows off not only her vocal talents, but also her songwriting capabilities luring us with beautiful lyrics all across the album – such as “not long ago I sold my soul to see how much it would fetch thought it’d be fine [be]cause at the time I really wasn’t using it” as heard on the track “Mexico“.

Purchase the album for some GOOD quality Synth-pop music!

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