New Music Friday is now 27 weeks old. We’ve passed the halfway mark. How is 2017 looking for music so far? Well, of the 135 songs currently on my 2017 playlist on Spotify, 66 have made it onto my iTunes playlist of the same name (meaning I’ve paid 99p to keep those tracks forever) which is around half. Not bad going on the singles front, but what about albums? The Charli XCX mixtape, Jay-Z’s 4:44, Kendrick, Khalid, LANY, MUNA, Stormzy, Wiley and Zara Larsson have had me turn over coin to Apple (the Zara album is better than I first thought) and I also bought Katy Perry’s Witness but out of loyalty rather than any urge to listen to the frankly horrible music. What I’m saying, I guess, is that this is not a vintage year, but it’s not a terrible one either. As we move into the second half of the year, what will we find? Honestly, if this week’s releases are any indication, the answer is: not a lot. I’m not losing hope just yet, since there’s still a long way to go, but I’m ready for a really and truly massive game changing pop song now. Anyway, this week’s new tracks are HERE and you can find the supercut playlist by scrolling to the bottom.
ALUNAGEORGE – ‘TURN UP THE LOVE’
Honest question – why do AlunaGeorge continue to exist? The first album was a bloated, samey mess, the Popcaan collaboration which everyone wet themselves over last year failed to impact outside scene-y Londoners and frankly they have one of the worst band names ever. ‘Turn Up The Love’ is as generic as they come, Aluna’s vocal aside, which is far from being pleasant. In my old age, (or perhaps its the financial and economic state of the country?), I find myself increasingly bothered by music industry waste. Why put money into this completely nonviable act? ‘White Noise’ was 4 years ago and they’ve never had an independent hit since! Their albums went in at #11 and #71. AlunaGeorge are not good. PULL THE DAMN PLUG.
BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT – ‘NEW YORK PRETTY’ ☑️
“I hope that everyone there can see me now, now that I feel so much better about myself” opens this lowkey ritzy ode to New York City. BLBL’s recent output has been heavily influenced by movies and it shows on ‘New York Pretty’ which would be the perfect soundtrack to a montage scene of a wide-eyed small town young man or woman twirling round the sights of NYC and gradually becoming more worldly and sophisticated. It’s a little bit cheesy, and a little repetitive – could benefit from a radio edit! – but I love it.
CASH CASH – ‘ALL MY LOVE’ ft. CONOR MAYNARD ☑️
Will I ever get over how wrong we did Conor Maynard? Sure, he’s kinda funny looking and lacking in charisma, but his debut album had bops for days and it wasn’t his fault that his label got sold off and he clearly got lost in the shuffle. ‘All My Love’ sounds like a cheaper version of anything Bieber is putting his voice to lately, but Conor’s voice is stronger and less sounding on the verge of cracking. Way down right at the bottom of New Music Friday this week, clearly Spotify have no faith in this Cash Cash collaboration, but I think with the right exposure it could be a comfortable Top 20.
JENNIFER LOPEZ – ‘NI TÚ NI YO’ ft. GENTE DE ZONA ☑️
After a string of mainstream flops (not helped by that Dr. Luke/Meghan Trainor abortion ‘Ain’t Your Mama’) and perhaps hoping to hop onto some of that ‘Despacito’ goodwill, Jennifer Lopez is pushing this Spanish language single harder than I recall her ever promoting any of her previous Spanish language material outside the Hispanic audience. Will it pay off? ‘Ni Tú Ni Yo’ is definitely fun and energetic but I’m not sure I see it translating in the UK in the same way it will in the US. It’s not even on the NMF playlist for the week. Racists!
KESHA – ‘PRAYING’ ☑️
Wow. You know, out of context, this song is still a worthwhile listen, but when you take into account what it was born from, and consider also that this raw vocalisation is probably the first time a mainstream audience will have heard Kesha’s voice as anything other than the half-rapped tone she used for most of her hits, there is not another song that will be released this year as powerful as this one. In the same way Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert was a catharsis and also a full stop after something terrible and traumatic, ‘Praying’ provides a final word on a horrific period of Kesha’s life allowing her to move on and heal on her terms. Half ballad, half hymn, all promise. Welcome back Kesha. We missed you.
RUDE GRL – ‘THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST)’
Rude GRL come from pedigree, according to Popjustice’s write up of them – signed to Rat Boy’s label and with production provided by the guy behind La Roux and vocals by JayEllDee of knocking-around-forever fame – and this riff on the Run DMC single ‘It’s Like That’, is their first foray into music together. I don’t know who this is for, really, like who the audience would be… perhaps Cher Lloyd fans who are bored of waiting for new material? The thing is, it sounds on the surface like something right up my street, but the whistly instrumental and irritating nursery rhyme style of the chorus is rubbing me the wrong way. Put simply, I don’t like it. And that’s the way it is.
SKEPTA – ‘HYPOCRISY’ ☑️
Skepta opens fire on anyone lacking in integrity, while simultaneously reeling off a laundry list of all the things that prove he himself has it in bucketloads, including refusing an MBE. With no sign of an album upcoming, it’s difficult to work out if these loose ends are a workshop for a full body of work, or just plugs to fill the gaps in between, but either way I’m enjoying the dribs and drabs.
WOLF ALICE – ‘DON’T DELETE THE KISSES’ ☑️
Oh, this is pretty! I like this a lot more than I liked ‘Yuk Foo’, it’s very dreamy and floaty, with practically spoken word verses and a sweet, slightly shouty chorus. It reminds me, bizarrely, of something that might have been on the Katy Rose album from absolute yonks ago, which I loved so I’m heavily into this.