New Music Friday #20

Just want to use this space to remind you that if you haven’t registered to vote then please do so by Monday! Once you’re registered you can join #grime4Corbyn and win tickets to a secret event in London. Don’t vote for Theresa May, please. And back to the subject at hand – click right HERE to listen along to all the songs mentioned and scroll to the bottom for my 2017 playlist which features only the best.

‘Baby Who’ is a funk-tinged midtempo about getting over an ex elevated by the way it bursts into some startling good harmonising about 40 seconds through. I know it’s “reductive” to think about artists – especially female artists – in relation to other artists they sound like but truly, The Aces are HAIM if HAIM had any idea how to write a chorus. I’m highkey obsessed with them and you should be too.

Am I completely in thrall to Norwegian popstars because I’m in too deep with Skam at the moment, or is my love for both genuine and independent? Whatever the reason, Astrid S is rapidly becoming a fave of mine and though I don’t get the same shiver as I do from ‘Bloodstream’ which is still on heavy playlist rotation for me, this aching “don’t let this be over don’t leave” semi-banger is still really fucking great.

I haven’t played the debut single from racist ex-Fifth Harmony member Karla. I won’t play the debut single from racist ex-Fifth Harmony member Karla.

At the beginning of the year I stumbled across a release from Citizen Four called ‘Testify’ which has since become a lowkey fave. ‘Want You Back’ is much more generic than the song that first put them on my radar, and the time really isn’t right for a new boyband right now, but I’m into this nonetheless. The chorus sounds a little bit Zayn, and makes me feel like perhaps he would have enjoyed his time as a boybander more if this was the kind of world One Direction had moved in.

What’s the story with Francis and the Lights? They came to me via Kanye West, obviously, and the free album they put out last year was really fucking excellent, but I still don’t really understand where they came from or where they’re going? Anyway, this ‘May I Have This Dance’ remix, with a brand new verse from Chance The Rapper is sublime, a proper “moment”. Francis sounds more confident and effusive on the chorus, Chance is aurally radiant in his love for his daughter. I’m ascending.

Imagine for a second, a world where this song is Katy Perry’s lead single. It’s lyrically vague but we all do enough reaching to make it about You Know Who, the Fatboy Slim sample is surprising but it works, and sure it’s super meme-y and a bit corny but the context of it being a “diss track” and a bit 90s house plus a quite good verse from Nicki makes it a #1 and this era gets off to a great start. That would have been good wouldn’t it? Sadly, three (rap feature) songs into a campaign, ‘Swish Swish’ just comes off as cringe, the lyrics not just clunky and toothless but also like… inaccurate given how far Katy’s stock has fallen in the last six months. It’s a shame because in any other circumstance this would be the strongest material we’ve heard from this album so far. It is what it is, let’s rush through to American Idol so we can draw a line under this record and start fresh.

Having been completely drowned in Harry Styles discourse all week I am just rinsed on One Direction as solo artists extrapolation. My new policy as regards all 1D alumni is to simply state whether or not a new release is better than Niall Horan’s ‘Slow Hands’, and if not, speak no further on the matter. This song is not better than Niall Horan’s ‘Slow Hands’.

Plan B has been gone so long that when his voice broke through the muted sound of the intro I was a little bit shocked to hear it. This state-of-things mediation is a bit told, but I love all the vocal layering and choral parts and how, with the volume cranked up, this song feels cathartic without screaming your throat hoarse. Grateful for this today, and hearing something that hasn’t been written because it will “stream well” for a change.

If this song wasn’t written by Charli XCX then she needs to go full Natalia Kills on whoever it was written by because this song has so many XCX fingerprints it’s practically a karaoke cover. I ain’t even mad though, because what a bop! Is this the most fun a pop girl has had all year? Raye is a caps lock POPSTAR and this should be her breakout moment. A rowdy whinge about the galdem getting all dressed up for a good time and then having to stand in a queue and partying in the street because the club is full, it just about hits bingo on all the things a song needs to be great – relatable, hooky, a tiny bit of a mess. Very into it.

I can’t decide whether this is genius or awful. That’s it, that’s my only thoughts. I just can’t unpack anything right now. I’m stuck between “is this a jingle for a new probiotic yoghurt?” and “wow this a brilliant way to utilise the vocals of the worst singer in pop music”. I like that though. I like that Selena has disrupted me to this level. Let’s see how it grows and circle back to this later.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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