New Music Friday #28

I fear I am flying a little blind this week, since the place I would normally get a release schedule doesn’t seem to have one? So anything that isn’t on the New Music Friday playlist or my “release radar” is going to completely pass me by this week. I’m also rushing slightly because I have the day off for Frank & Solange Fest (known on the streets as Lovebox) and I need to get some life admin out the way so I can pre-game with the gang. Speaking of the gang (my old work gang that is) the Soundcloud situation sounds dire, I was very triggered from reading about it. I’m mostly worried about all the fun mash ups hosted on there that I’ve discovered throughout the years – mash up creators, save yo shit! On the other hand, this may well be the death of Soundcloud R&B for which I will rejoice and give thanks. Anyway, enough bullshit small talk – listen along HERE, scroll to the bottom and hit to follow my streamlined 2017 playlist and have a lovely Friday, you deserve it.

This week I discovered that Billie Eilish is a mere fifteen years old, just like the original and best Billie (Piper) was when she started her pop career. This menacing little slice of sparse-pop isn’t as enjoyable as ‘watch’ from a couple weeks back, and if we’re gonna run with this Billie comparison – it’s definitely not as catchy as Billie Piper’s second single, ‘Girlfriend’ either. If you like the twistier parts of Allie X’s oeuvre, however – which I do! – you will like this. I’m excited to see where this artist is going.

Chase & Status, like Nero, feel very “of a time” to me. Who is listening to this “man running across slate cliffs to advertise a sports car” music in 2017? Clearly someone at Spotify thinks there’s an audience for this as ‘Love Me More’ is riding high up on the NMF playlist this week, though how much that has to do with the Emeli Sandé guest vocal is anyone’s guess. There’s nothing wrong with this track except that it’s exceptionally played out, done to death and dated to an era where I still wore neon eyeshadow for daytime. A stringy male vocalist or a large older lady is going to do an orchestral or acoustic version of this on The X Factor this year, bet on it.

I don’t like Coldplay, that’s common knowledge, I’ve just never got it. I’m only listening to this because I’m interested to hear the Big Sean feature, but a minute and a half in and Chris Martin’s turgid plod vocal is making me sui. It’s so wild to me that Madonna could release this exact song and not find herself third on the NMF playlist, or even on the NMF playlist at all. And rightfully so, because it’s absolute bilge, but what hold does this nerdy old white man have over people? Sean’s verse wasn’t even worth it. What a load of old shit.

I actually don’t really care for proper-pop Demi, since I think she’s a Kelly Clarkson at heart, not a Britney Spears. There’s no whiff of pop-rock guitar here and that makes me sad, BUT! In place of pop-rock guitars there’s sassy verses, a half-rapped piano and handclap bridge and a shouty chorus which amount to what is essentially a fucking bop, and as the most talented Disney grad of her class, I’d love for Demi to have the golden era she deserves on this album campaign.

A few years ago, Echosmith – a more gentle Hey Violet – released a lovely beachy album that made little to no impact whatsoever. They’re back with a new, slightly less shimmery single, but one that feels like it might be more likely to get them on people’s radar. Or… it would if this had appeared on the NMF playlist as opposed to just my own personal Release Radar. ‘Goodbye’ is a little bit trop-pop (no, wait come back!), a little bit soft-club vibes, a little bit R&B guitar and the chorus really lifts the whole song – a rarity in 2017! Love this tbh.

If ‘Praying’ seemed like a departure, or a reinvention, Kesha reassures on ‘Woman’ that she’s still the same fun-loving party girl she was before, just this time, it’s on her terms. Thematically, ‘Woman’ and debut single ‘TiK ToK’ are blood relatives – cheap, trashy fun with friends – but while ‘TiK ToK’ had a prescriptive engineered feel, ‘Woman’ is steadfastly independent and self-assured. The live band recording vibe of the production which makes this song feel like a one-take jam session makes it more authentic than any of Kesha’s party anthems of yesteryear, and “I’m a motherfucking woman!” is a hook for all seasons.

I’ve been trying to be a Lana fan for the longest time, you can’t even imagine. Every album cycle I try it again, where with any other artist I would have given up first time round. I cam close with Ultraviolence because I LOVED ‘West Coast’ but found the full record a real slog. I think Lust For Life might hook me though. I’ve liked everything I’ve heard from it so far, and ‘Summer Bummer’ is another massive thumbs up. It’s absolutely drenched in suffocating sunshine-noir, to the point I feel like I’m being murdered. If a song could choke you…

Honestly, why did I get so emotional the first time I heard this song? Even now I feel a little shadow of an ache in my whole torso. It’s just gorgeous. The Ultra Nate sample, MNEK’s sweet falsetto, the momentum of the drums… In singing of escapism, MNEK has created a bubble of it all of his own. Lush song.

Nina Nesbitt had that one off bop at the beginning of last year that didn’t seem anything like her as an artist but was fun nonetheless. I guess that little glitter eyeshadow electropop sojourn is over, and now we have Nina Nesbitt straddling the line between the modern pop she moved towards and the twee bollocks she started out with. Did she always sing with an American accent? Why is this song so fringed Boohoo range of Coachella-inspired clothing? I can almost see the rainbow wash motivational quote in that Baron Von Fancy style font. Someone find this girl an identity.

I can’t believe Ryan Tedder wrote that heartfelt letter about feeling burnt out and how he was trying to revolutionise the way artists release music and got me actually excited for OneRepublic for the first time since they were working with Timbaland about a decade ago… only to drop gash like this. Even The Vamps, who love this sound, would think this song was derivative. “We’re broke as a bottle of wine”!?! This your boy who wrote lyrics like “you cut me open and I keep bleeding love”? Wow. Okay.

‘Fetish’ doesn’t have the same charm as ‘Bad Liar’, and in this instance, Selena’s voice (so well utilised on other songs) doesn’t have the versatility in tone to pull of the darker vibes. In contrast against the Lana Del Rey track out this week, ‘Fetish’ is clumsy, Gucci’s verse feels like an after the fact add-on, rather than part of the fabric of the song, and the chorus drones rather than haunts. I’m not feeling it.

I don’t know anything about Suzi Wu, and I’m too close to the end and eager to finish to bother googling her. I added this to the playlist based on the title alone, and while it wasn’t a waste of time, I’m not entirely grabbed. ‘Teenage Witch’ is a punky-pop, misanthropic meandering that sounds like Lorde by-way-of Camden, I guess. Maybe one to watch…

Scum Fuck Flower Boy has already leaked two weeks out and I’ve already listened to it – something I haven’t done for the longest time! – so I already knew ‘Boredom’ was an incredible track on a great album, but I’m putting it down here for posterity too. The uncredited but very present Rex Orange County, Anna of the North and Corinne Bailey Rae provide the mood establishing harmonies, while Tyler cuts through abruptly with ADD-verses about staring at walls and wanting friends to reach out and provide some amusement. Tyler at a very accessible point, if you’ve never gotten into him before, this record might be the one.

A Spanish-flavoured cut from new EDM The Vamps, featuring Latin Disney star TINI, and it’s hard to believe this is the same band who released the absolute banger ‘Can We Dance’. There’s no personality in The Vamps anymore, and while you could argue there was never any to begin with, frontman Brad always had a little spark about him which has been extinguished with every attempt to chase the same chart success they enjoyed when they could game the system by releasing 300 different versions of the same song. I don’t hate this, but I don’t love it either. It just makes me sad.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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