So, listen. This is the last New Music Friday before I go back to work. It’s been really easy to crank them out when I’ve had my mornings totally free, but I’m worried this might be the last one I ever write. Y’all know how full time employment drains me of any motivation for extra-curriculars. That said, I’m gonna try my fucking hardest to keep this shit up. I got a good streak going – I don’t wanna give it up now! I’m never sure how many people actually read these because you don’t really get instant feedback like you would on a tweet or something but if you do click the link from time to time, holler at ya girl even if you think I’m chatting shit, just so I know I’m not talking into an empty chasm, y’know? I need a cheer squad right now. And speaking of hollering at me, I received FEEDBACK that these would be better if you could listen along to the songs I mention so you can click HERE for a playlist that will update every Friday, and as always my faves will go onto my 2017 playlist that you should subscribe to at the bottom. And now, on with the reviews…
HEY VIOLET – ‘BREAK MY HEART’
This Hey Violet track didn’t even make the UK Spotify New Music Friday playlist so who knows what that means for its chances of success (me, I know – it may as well not exist). Hey Violet are a pop rock group, like Paramore but without the thrash, and their approach to a current music landscape that doesn’t really allow for such acts to be mainstream visible, is to trade in what should have been an amazing chorus for that old cop out – The Drop. It’s a shame because there’s a lot to love about this track but without a proper hook it falls just short of being a Properly Good Song.
JON BELLION – ‘ALL TIME LOW’ ft. STORMZY ☑️
Tempting to give this song a 10/10 just because it has a Stormzy feature and everything the boy touches turns to gold, but this cutesy indie-pop track is… maybe too cutesy even for my Owl City loving ass? Already a minor hit in the US, this version goes a tiny little bit harder (feels like they kicked the drums up) and Stormzy, of course, is straight fucking fire – it could be a completely different song when he steps up to the mic – but is he going to be enough to get this guy off the ground here? I’m not totally convinced. Still I don’t hate it. I’m adding it to the playlist based on the Stormzy verse.
JORJA SMITH – ‘BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOLS’ ☑️
Feminist pop! Not every day waking up like this, shouting out our exes, paying our own bills and zig-a-zig-ah! Some days, gorgeous slow jams about girls just being beautiful and special and worthy. Jorja Smith nails it on this soulful ballad about women celebrating ourselves and each other.
LOUISA JOHNSON – ‘BEST BEHAVIOUR’
Opened twitter this morning to see my timeline claiming Louisa Johnson has dropped the best pop song of the year so far, and I’m just wondering where I can find it? Send me a link, you guys! In the meantime I’m spinning ‘Best Behaviour’ and once again, so taken aback by just how utterly lacking in character the vocal is on this girl. It wouldn’t be remarkable if I hadn’t spent months hearing about how unique and recognisable it was, but I honestly wouldn’t pick this voice out of a line up of one. The song sounds like something one of the less recognisable Pussycat Dolls might have dropped 8 years ago, and it doesn’t have a chorus.
MiC LOWRY – ‘WHISKEY KISSES’
I saw MiC LOWRY at Koko a couple of weeks ago and it killed me inside to see what could have been an amazing boyband just get everything so wrong. This song is a misfire. So dated, so unsexy, so embarrassing. I’m upset.
NICKI MINAJ – ‘NO FRAUDS’ ft. DRAKE & LIL WAYNE ☑️
Aight, let’s just be real. Nicki is not ended. Nicki is not over. Nicki is about to get spins all summer. Yes, her clapback is mild. Like flicking Remy in the ear after she stabbed her in the throat. But this is a hit. Like, ultimately Remy can’t pay bills with streetcred. Remy can’t book stages without beef. Remy didn’t get plays on ‘shETHER’. And yes, we all know that technically she rapped fucking circles around Onika (who will NEVER be able to step to her on that level) but that’s not really how beef works. Nas bodied Jay on ‘Ether’ but who stays married to Beyoncé, hanging out with Presidents and dropping consecutive #1 albums for two decades? I guess it depends on what kind of win you value. For sure this is going to be an embarrassing niggle for Nicki for a long time. When days went by and she didn’t respond I didn’t think she could recover from it. But she called up her boys and made a banger. You can’t argue with that.
STARGATE – ‘WATERFALL’ ft. P!NK & SIA
Once upon a time Stargate were the dominant production team, scoring huge hits for Rihanna and Beyoncé, which isn’t bad for two guys who started off getting cuts for S Club 7. They’re now an act in their own right or something, because this track is credited to them, with vocals from trapeze artist P!nk and human wig Sia. Of course, like anything Sia does, this just sounds really fucking Sia. I don’t rate it. It’s not exciting. Feels like I’ve heard it a billion times. Give me an ‘S Club Party’ over this droning shite any day.
STEPS – ‘SCARED OF THE DARK’ ☑️
Ahhhh, Steps. I thought I wasn’t bothered about their comeback, and I don’t know… in some ways I’m really just not excited. This song though. What a triumph. You would never think that the songwriter behind this was capable of both this dramatic disco banger and also the suffocatingly trite ‘Little Things’ by One Direction. The first verse sounds like Kylie Minogue, there’s a bit that sounds like ‘Unbreak My Heart’, a little hint of ‘Voulez-Vous’… it’s so fucking gay you guys, oh my god IT’S SO FUCKING GAY. I love it. I’m obsessed. I can’t wait to listen to this as I strut to the train station later, and cry as I drink alone tonight, and dance to it at We Love Pop on the weekend. Amazing return from one of the poppiest pop bands ever.
TALLIA STORM – ‘STILL IN LOVE’
Do you all know about this Talia Storm girl? I would have listened to this and passed it by if it wasn’t for the fact that she has this wild fucking backstory where basically she’s on the Mail Online every week because her mum is a fashion publicist but like… she’s not anyone, you know? I can’t be arsed to rehash it, but you should go look it up for yourself because it’s so ridiculously entertaining. This bore-soul song is a hard pass from me anyway, though I quite like the talky bits that sound like something from Billie Piper’s debut album
2 CHAINZ – ‘IT’S A VIBE’ ft. TY DOLLA $IGN, TREY SONGZ & JHENE AIKO ☑️
It’s a damn vibe, indeed. If you’re not into rappers talking about dripping and gushing then this probably isn’t for you but I’m very into how this grooves. It reminds me of 50 Cent – ’21 Questions’ for some reason – good reasons! – and that’s a stone cold jam, so yeah I’m gonna be bumping this when the sun is out.