New Music Friday #34

There is absolutely no fatigue in the world that compares to how exhausted I am during a new Taylor Swift album era. It doesn’t even boil down to whether I like or dislike new material, it’s the sheer volume of sycophantic commentary that tires me out – journalists might not be eligible for a giftbox emoji in their mentions signalling an imminent “Swiftmas” package, but that doesn’t stop them doing the absolute most anyway just in case they get to do a hi and bye when the tour rolls around. Throw in the fact that as a fan of pop music as a topic and not just certain artists, it’s really not as simple as just muting words on Twitter – something I don’t do anyway – and trying to avoid: I need to know what’s going on! So yeah, this week has been tiring for me, and I’m sincerely hoping I really like this first single because trust me I don’t hate things just to be contrarian – it’s actually very isolating to not enjoy things that everyone else is enjoying. Why do you think I’ve tried so hard to be a Lana Del Rey fan? I just wanna be involved! Anyways, there’s a lot of new releases this week and I have a day off to start packing up my room before move day in 3 WEEKS TIME! So let’s try and get through this as quickly as possible. Listen along HERE and have an excellent Friday.

The last EP from Astrid S has barely gone cold on my playlists and she’s already back with a new single. Sounding a little like a stripped back version of a full pop song, this song about being a bit of a cunt to someone you love is Highly Relatable and kinda sugary sad. I can already tell I’m gonna play this more than anything else released today and I haven’t even heard the other songs yet.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Bridgit Mendler isn’t going to give me another ‘Ready Or Not’ level bop, but I don’t know… I still let myself get my hopes up every time she drops a new one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ‘Diving’, a floaty dreampop love song, it’s just a bit forgettable.

Is this a Busta song… without a Busta verse? I hear Vybz and I hear Tory, but none of that rapid fire Busta? That’s what I came for, fool! A weirdly dark bop, not in the sense that it is thematically dark, but the song sounds poorly-lit, if you know what I mean? I was shuffling my shoulders though, not gonna lie.

God help me, but I can’t help but root for Demi Lovato. Of her Disney class she was far and away the most talented, and also the most “damaged” and like a skeevy abuser, my favourite kind of pop stars are the ones with vulnerabilities. They make the most interesting stars, y’know? Even as I simultaneously wish for them to turn the fuck back, don’t come into music, it’s gonna mess you up, kid! …I crave their art the most. So I’m really hoping for this record to be a turn around in Demi’s fortunes, since she’s taken a couple Ls recently. ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ is knock off Jessie Ware, but I’m supremely not mad about it since the chorus to ‘Midnight’ was basically ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ redone. I’m actually super into this. Come thru, Demetria Devonne!

Built around a sample of ‘It Takes Two’ and featuring a very good verse from Nicki Minaj (in what has been a year for very good Nicki Minaj verses) ‘You Already Know’ is sitting in third place on this week’s New Music Friday playlist, though I can already feel the non-existent promo plot dragging it down into obscurity regardless. Double Dutchess leaked already and got… let’s say “tepid” reviews. I haven’t got around to listening to it myself, but if this track is a sample of what’s to come, I wouldn’t say I was anxious about it.

I love Swae Lee but I don’t love French Montana and I know this has been somewhat of a hit, but I’ve never heard it! No idea how this measures up against the original, but Mariah’s presence on a track is enough to trap me. There’s no signature Mariah runs until the outro, which kind of wastes a legend if you ask me, but the soft acoustic lull is very pleasant to the ear and MC’s honey vocals are a joy even if she’s not showing them off. I liked this a lot.

A house-influenced bop from exciting pop prospect Jorja Smith, a swivel from her usual vocal led R&B, where she seems to just sing and let the beat catch up. With ‘On My Mind’ the beat is the wave, but she rides it well – there’s peaks and dips and something to differentiate the verses and chorus, all those things that make a song catchy instead of background. I suspect this is gonna be a one off rather than a new direction, but I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it nonetheless.

Something about ‘Sky Walker’ is serving me Rae Sremmurd teas – perhaps the stylistic flourish of uptalking the end of each chorus lyric? Whatever it is, the sexiest man in R&B isn’t really trying to seduce you on this lightly energised ode to living in the moment… and yet, still I am seduced? An extremely chill banger tbqh.

This Noah Cyrus song is in the same vein as the Astrid S one – acoustic and bittersweet – but doesn’t seem to pull off the emotion. Lyrically it’s not tight enough, and Noah’s vocal has too harsh a tone to get it right. There’s something very b-side about ‘Almost Famous’, definitely not the one to start connecting Noah to the public. Has anything hit the right spots yet? I’m starting to feel like investing in the youngest Cyrus is a waste of industry money.

Rod Stewart is one of the few old “legends” that I just don’t get. Mick Jagger, Bowie, Simon Le Bon and so on… even if they’re not my taste, I understand why they’re revered. Not Rod though. It goes completely over my head. He creeps me out a little and I’m not sure why. However, like any millennial with a vague interest in pop culture and a MySpace account back in the day, I was introduced to this song as the last track on Paris Hilton’s self-titled debut album and I can recognise it for the banger it is. The addition of my boyfriend Joe Jonas and his band DNCE hasn’t messed with the classic too much, just brought everything up a little so the production doesn’t sound so dated. I have no idea why this collaboration has happened, but I’m not mad about it.

Nah. Honestly I haven’t even got any further than the first verse and already my stomach is turning. There’s something super sinister about Taylor Swift still casting herself as Kanye West’s victim. “I don’t like the role you made me play” – my good sis, who the fuck was pulling your strings when you did things like award him with his VMA Vanguard? Is she the sole architect of her own impressive career as she claimed during her Grammys speech or is she the unwilling protagonist in a narrative she wishes to be excluded from? She can’t have it both ways. Anyway, Jack Antonoff needs to stop producing for other people until he can stop regurgitating the same song over and over again. Haven’t we already heard this bridge all the way through the Lorde album? Part Peaches style ‘Mean Girls’ soundtrack, part Right Said Fred (literally, they have a credit) and part the song in a Disney movie where the villain hypnotises the whole town, I don’t really understand the cluttered mess of this rebrand, and Taylor Allison Swift definitely doesn’t have the sex appeal or the natural attitude to pull off being a bad girl. I do really like “why? oh, because she’s dead!” though. That’s lowkey iconic. I’m never listening to this white devil spell again if I can help it though, it gives the black pain muscle memory in my DNA tremors. PS. only manipulative abusers say things like “look what you made me do”. Enjoy your toxic relationship with the world’s most Machiavellian popstar!

There have been a lot of songs about The State Of The World in 2017, but this one by Thirty Seconds To Mars is somehow the most flimsy. Which is weird, because it’s a super robust song – powerful and charged and spirited, but the message falls flat in the lyrics. Perhaps it’s the fence-sitting “togetherness” bollocks that rubs me the wrong way – you can’t promote unity without condemning the hatred that divides us, and trying to do so puts you in a “may as well have said nothing at all” situation.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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