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Natasha Khan, who is of Pakistani and English parentage, first came to the attention of the record buying public when her debut album Fur and Gold was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize for best UK album of the year. Despite being a favorite amongst the critics to win the award, she lost out to Klaxons' Myths of the Near Future. Six months later she was nominated for Best British Breakthrough and Best British Solo Female at the 2008 Brit Awards. She was also chosen by The Guardian as one of the newspaper's women of 2007, a significant accolade as Khan was the only musician to appear on their list. Despite all this acclaim Fur and Gold did not sell in huge quantities. This song was the much anticipated lead single from her second album, Two Suns.
In this song Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) sings of teenage love and nostalgia. Khan explained to MTV News that its "the most frightening song" on Two Suns
for her, "because it's the most straightforward, naive and purposely simple song I've ever done." She added: " It's about teenage escapism and love and how simple things can be when you're a teenager in love, or how intense and beautiful it can be. I love songs like [Pat Benatar's] 'Love Is a Battlefield
,' like when you sing them, you want to be leaning out the window of a car with the stars shining. And I felt like I wanted to encapsulate that feeling of abandon and love and sadness and melancholy, all at the same time."
Khan told The Sun newspaper April 10, 2009: "Daniel wasn't real. He's based on a fictional character that I fell in love with as a teenager. He represents that era of my life and exactly how I felt about my boyfriends at that time. My ambition was to make a pop song like the ones I grew up listening to."
Ira Wolf Tuton from the Brooklyn band Yeasayer provided the bass lines for this track. However Khan did the rest of the instrumentation herself. She explained to BBC's Newsbeat that on Two Suns she wanted, "to showcase my vocal range and [show] just how my voice has developed, I wanted to do a lot more production in terms of electronic instruments and drum programming, and I played a lot more instruments."
To 'bat your lashes' is slang dating back to the 1920s meaning to make eyes at someone. The expression came from the huge false eyelashes that were in vogue at the time, which looked like bats when a girl fluttered her eyelids.
Khan explained to Q magazine that the Daniel character is Daniel LaRusso from the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, who was her childhood crush. She had the face of LaRusso painted on her naked back for the single's artwork.
In an interview with the January 2010 edition of Clash
magazine, Khan was asked what equipment she uses when she starts working. The Pakistani/English singer-songwriter replied: "I use a little Yamaha eight-track sequencer machine for the more beat driven songs- it has thousands of sounds in it-I can make the beats, bass lines, string parts, etc into patterns and then sing over the top: 'Glass
,' Daniel, 'Two Planets
,' 'Pearl's Dream
'-they all started life like that. I take these sounds from the demos a lot and put them on the finished songs or just me and the piano, autoharp, guitar, the more organic way."
This won the best contemporary song award at the 2010 Ivor Novello Awards. "I'm so shocked," Khan told the audience. "Who would have thought that when I was sitting in my pyjamas in my bed writing this song, I would be up her collecting this? I'm writing my new album and I hope to do many more 'Daniel's."
She added later: "I'm overwhelmed with emotion. It was the song I had the most intense relationship with."
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