Another New Music Friday dawns and usually I would write the intro first and get into the reviews but for some reason I’ve done it backwards today and I can only imagine it’s because the universe needed me to listen to the songs first so I could come back and warn you that it’s an absolute shitshow this week. There are some good songs, but the bad ones are so bad the badness is outweighing the good. Can we also just talk quickly about HAIM? I haven’t reviewed because ‘Right Now’ isn’t streaming and doesn’t appear to be a proper single… but what the fuck are they doing? I’m so tired of digital campaigns that don’t actually service the music or the artist in the best way. This is a soft fart launch for a band that has been gone for a long time. Everything should have been BLAM! rollicking new single! BLAM! sick new video! BLAM! have some fucking tour dates! not this boring muso live nonsense that just pumps the breaks on momentum and excitement. So disappointing. I hate the music industry. Anyways! Listen to everything talked about HERE and have a great fucking Friday, kids. I love you more than Jesus ever could.
AJR – ‘WEAK’ STAY STRONG MIX ft. LOUISA JOHNSON
AJR had one cute little bop four years ago called ‘I’m Ready’ and I had absolutely no idea they were still going. Anyway this song is inoffensive, indie pop genericness. I’m just here to make a joke about Louisa Johnson being in such close proximity to the word “weak”.
ALLIE X – ‘PAPER LOVE’ ☑️
Allie X, my popstar love, delivers another quirky tune built around a whistle riff and some chugging guitars. I know it’s reductive (!) to compare popstars to each other, but Allie X really is where Lady Gaga should have ended up – crafting subtle and slightly twisted love songs that are mainstream enough to be commercial but alternative enough to retain “cred”. I would love someone to pour money into this girl. Like, you maybe? She’s playing in London next week and tickets are still available!
CASHMERE CAT – ‘QUIT’ ft. ARIANA GRANDE ☑️
It took me 32 seconds into the song before I paused to check for a Sia writing credit (yes, she did co-write this track) and if you haven’t already, you will double-take at Ariana’s Sia-a-like vocals. Is it a rule that any female singer with a Sia toplined track has to imitate her style? Anyway, Cashmere Cat and Ariana Grande are always a winning formula, and ‘Quit’ is not an exception to the rule. Yes, the chorus is replaced by an instrumental drop, but the production is so delicate and pretty I can’t find it in myself to get irritated by this like I normally do. Ariana’s vocal is restrained and gentle, aside from her Sia inflections. A gorgeous, mellow slow jam.
FALL OUT BOY – ‘YOUNG AND MENACE’ ☑️
A strange Fall Out Boy offering. For a start off it sounds like it was recorded on mute and had the sound injected afterwards – it’s so quiet compared to everything else on this playlist? Like the volume literally drops? On the surface it’s like any other FOB track: overly-wordy lyrics, guitars, Patrick Stump vocals… but the chorus is a pitched up EDM garble? I’m not sure whether this will grow, or whether I’m just more willing to try because I love Fall Out Boy so much, but I’m confused by this on first listen. I’m tentatively adding it to the main playlist, but I have this niggling feeling that it’s actually a bad song.
FRANK OCEAN – ‘LENS’ ☑️
After those wilderness years, it’s hard to not feel a little bit suspicious of how generous Frank is being with the new releases. What’s the game, Frank? What’s the catch? I just can’t trust you since the staircase thing! Anyway, ‘Lens’ is my favourite of the three Beats 1 drops so far – the production is absolutely lush, and Frank’s introspection about old flames, his sins and feeling under the microscope has burrowed into the part of me that loves a relatable mid-tempo.
HAILEE STEINFELD – ‘MOST GIRLS’
So, when will everyone admit that ‘Love Myself’ was a fluke? This song is so anonymous and cloying and has all the charisma of… well, Hailee Steinfeld. Every time I think of this girl I think of that excruciatingly shady Miley Cyrus quip from the VMAs… “because nothing says ‘turnt’ like Hailee Steinfeld.” Dead.
THE JAPANESE HOUSE – ‘SAW YOU IN A DREAM’ ☑️
This is The Japanese House’s most “accessible” song so far – a proper melody fest. It’s so bittersweet, I can’t get enough of it. If you were into Leighton Meester’s Heartstrings material, you’ll like this. Same hazy-mellow, laser precise lyrics, but with a bit more of an edge. A perfect pop song.
KATY PERRY – ‘BON APPÉTIT’ ft. MIGOS
I would swear I just read an interview with Katy Perry where she said she was leaving innuendo behind? And yet, here we are. A million food related puns, each one more cringe-inducing than the last. This is the ‘Dressing Up’ of this era. When will Katy realise she just doesn’t have a sex song in her? They’re always totally unconvincing, not least because they’re always hung around a clunky, unsexy metaphor. I tuned out for the last minute, so I can’t comment on Migos. And there’s no fucking chorus. Fire the A&R.
KYGO & ELLIE GOULDING – ‘FIRST TIME’
This is the top of the New Music Friday playlist on Spotify but it isn’t very good? It’s almost exceptionally dull. Forgot how much I hate Ellie Goulding’s air-conditioner vocals, it’s been a really nice year without her. I will literally never ever press play on this ever again.
TOVE STYRKE – ‘SAY MY NAME’ ☑️
Here she fucking is! Saving everything with this anthem. The chants of “SAY MY NAME!”, that twangy country flavour riff, the production that sounds current but also a little bit ahead of itself, the overall feeling of this song being written with love and integrity… I’m cleansed. Tove Styrke is the future, ‘Say My Name’ is the best song of the week.
THE VAMPS & MARTIN JENSEN – ‘MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT’
So, The Vamps are EDM now? These desperate, fling shit at the walls, jokers. Maybe it will work out for them though? It’s sat just below Kygo x Ellie on the playlist this morning, so someone somewhere must have faith in it? It’s bad though. I’ve heard this song 50x by 50 different artists already and that was just this week. The drop on the chorus is honestly just copied and pasted from another track. Lazy. I’m sick of it.