I accidentally took a long ass nap yesterday evening and didn’t go to sleep until the early hours of the morning. I’m in London again this Friday, where the downstairs neighbours are having renovation and extension work done (for the next three months!) so I have been woken up by drilling and builders yelling. Oh, and the first headline I saw when I loaded up twitter for the day was how the US is probably going to war with China so y’know… lots to feel great about! It’s a pretty good new music Friday though, to be fair. And also can you believe I’ve kept up with doing this so far? Wow. A new me. Just in time for the apocalypse.
ARIANA GRANDE & JOHN LEGEND – ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’
I mean, if you know this song, you know this song. It’s a beautiful Disney classic, most charming when sung by iconic legend Angela Lansbury, and it would be very difficult to fuck it up between two of the best singers in music nowadays. Ariana’s delivery is slack-jawed (when will that girl work on her enunciation?) but both she and John Legend have lovely, sweet-tinged vocals here and it’s a nice enough, if unremarkable rendition. Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson’s original 90s duet isn’t shook by this, but it isn’t laughing at it either.
BLONDIE – ‘FUN’ ☑️
So, from the sounds of things, Blondie don’t plan to fuck about on their next album, enlisting people like Charlie XCX, Dev Hynes and Sia for co-writes. It’s a coming for blood move which seems to be working, as they’re up on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist at #4 which is pretty much the equivalent of being A-list at Radio 1 for a week. ‘Fun’ isn’t as fun as the title would suggest, it suffers a little from being repetitive and there’s not enough in the mix to truly excite but it’s always a thrill to hear Debbie Harry’s voice, reminding you of her effortless cool. Overall, it’s a nice little refresher on their 80s sound and has grower potential.
BROOKE CANDY – ‘LIVING OUT LOUD’ ft. SIA
When did Brooke Candy stop being ratchet and turn into Bonnie McKee? Like, this song could be a Bonnie McKee song no? This is ripped straight out of 2013, and the fact it’s kinda dated means I don’t envision it troubling the charts any time soon. I also don’t care very hard about it.
DNCE – ‘FOREVER’
DNCE’s USP is how irreverent and bouncy they are, but this track, for the LEGO Batman Movie, is sludgy and humourless. Strangely the soundtrack also includes a Justin Tranter version of this song, which sounds lighter and more rousing, and as there’s no obvious differences in the mix, it must be Joe Jonas’s voice which is the problem here. Disappointing, but at least he’s still really fit.
FETTY WAP – ‘WAY YOU ARE’ ft. MONTY ☑️
It’s so hard to keep track of “newness” nowadays, this Fetty track was bouncing around the internet at the beginning of the year but it’s on the New Music playlist today? Anyway, I’m into it. It’s got that easy in the park bbq vibe that Fetty excels at crafting. Can’t wait to play this when the sun is out.
GRIM SICKERS – ‘KANE’ ft. JME ☑️
The main conceit of ‘Kane’ – it’s basically that Michael Jackson/Jordan/Tyson trope taken to it’s inevitable conclusion – should make it ridiculous, but it works in a major way. Jme shows up on this remix to list all of the Jamies, plus some Steves and some Kings (Tekken King and Armour King!) and it just bangs. And also makes me laugh. Heavily into it.
IMAGINE DRAGONS – ‘BELIEVER’ ☑️
First thing’s first, let’s get a ban going on songs opening with the lyric “first thing’s first” because I spent my entire first listen of this song feeling lowkey irritated at having been reminded of the existence of Iggy Azalea. I can’t be expected to have an objective view on something if it triggers my worst memories. Anyway on second listen this was a pretty by-the-numbers Imagine Dragons track, but while it’s nowhere near as epic as a ‘Radioactive’ or a ‘Demons’, I love the pacey verses over the casually rhythmic beat, and it’s instantly more memorable than anything I’ve completely forgotten from their last album.
JEREMIH – ‘I THINK OF YOU’ ft. CHRIS BROWN & BIG SEAN ☑️
Look if Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams can get collared for ‘Blurred Lines’ lifting the spirit of Marvin Gaye, the Jackson Estate have got a good case for shaking down Jeremih on this Montell Jordan sampling jam. And it is a jam, though Big Sean’s verse kinda fucks up the flow a little. It can have you feeling a little like an amnesiac every time a particularly Jackson-esque melodic moment occurs and fries your brain as you strain to think of which specific song it reminds you of, but once you get past that, and past the fact that you’re having to suffer through yet another Chris Brown feature you didn’t ask for, it’s just straight vibing.
MARIAH CAREY – ‘I DON’T’ ft. YG ☑️
Everything Mariah has been messy lately, and while ‘I Don’t’ isn’t the type of single that will do the job of reminding those who forgot who the fuck this 200 million record sales worldwide legend is, it won’t upset her loyal fanbase either. YG is an unnecessary feature, but at its core this is a standard R&B ballad, the type Mariah writes in her sleep, and if that’s your bag you’re gonna love it.
PHOEBE RYAN – ‘DARK SIDE’ ☑️
Phoebe Ryan’s ‘Chronic’ was one of my fave songs from last year and she also co-wrote the best song on Britney’s Glory album (‘Man On The Moon’) so I would describe myself as a casual fan. ‘Dark Side’ is a sweet little pop song about loving someone through their bad and there’s a guitar riff that makes me think of S Club ‘Show Me Your Colours’, making this probably my fave new release of the week.
SOLO45 – ‘HIGHER’ ft. JME & VIDA SUNSHYNE ☑️
There’s nothing more to be said about this song other than it’s hype af and loads of fun. I was bouncing while I was listening to it. A bop.
STORMZY – ‘BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS’ ☑️
There is nothing more exciting, as a music fan, than when a talented artist finds a team of intelligent people, and they get everything so right. This week saw Stormzy announce the tracklisting for his debut album (the artwork for which is perfection), premiere the lead single on Beats1 and follow it up with a video that is such CULTURE it’s breathtaking. ‘Big For Your Boots’ absolutely bangs, the hook is as catchphrase friendly as 2015’s surprise Top 10 ‘Shut Up’ and the flow on the verses is completely relentless. This is the tipping point for Stormzy, like… this is absolutely his big breakout moment. My body is ready.