I’m not sure why, but I have this unshakeable feeling that this year is whizzing by at the speed of light because of the routine of these New Music Friday reviews I do. Not to harp on about it but… 35 weeks is a long time for me to keep anything up, much less something that requires me to keep an appointment. And yet, here we are, cruising into the tail end of Q3, gearing up for the rush of Q4, and what do we reckon about this year, for music then? So far anyway? Tentatively I started collating a list of potential end of year albums, but of the 18 I may consider so far, I only truly love 8 of them… Singles-wise it’s been a strong and diverse 8 months – not that the monopolisation of the top 5 would let you know it – but it hasn’t been a heavyweight year, really… at least not in terms of artists I give a shit about (no, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift are not recognised heavyweights in this house). Back to my original point though – it’s already fucking SEPTEMBER. And every Friday I feel like I mark another week closer to death… Oh, that was bleak, huh? Anyways, today’s songs are HERE. Enjoy the weekend.
DJDS – ‘WHY DON’T YOU COME ON’ ft. EMPRESS OF & KHALID ☑️
Fresh from his Best New Artist VMA win, my new fave Khalid jumps on this urgent, skittering DJDS beat and offers up his rich soulful vocal as a bed for Empress Of’s lighter, sweeter lilt to lay on. This isn’t exactly a floorfiller – it’s dance music to listen to – though a remix could fix that up if you wanted something with a bit more move to it. It hits the spot this morning though, being just enough to make me wake up proper without hammering me out of bed. Into it.
FRANK OCEAN – ‘PROVIDER’
Of all the surprise Frank drops we’ve had this year – and it has been bountiful hasn’t it? – this is my least favourite. It’s a little sludgy and a few plays later (I cheated and downloaded it immediately when it was released) I’m still struggling to remember the hook. Still I’m always grateful for more music from Frank, and even at his worst he’s 10x sharper than others at their best.
GALANTIS – ‘GIRLS ON BOYS’ ft. ROZES
I love a Galantis bop as much as the next basic bitch who needs a helium-fix of the exact same happy sounds they throw together on a beat every single time to get through the day, but this isn’t working for me even a little bit. Which is a shame, because I’m usually down for a sloppy, sexually fluid bop, but perhaps the fact that there were no boys on boys at this party is bumming me out a little. Was it a real orgy or nah? Miss me with this half-assed Love Island representation. Also I don’t like ROZES voice. It’s so grating. Bin it.
HURTS – ‘READY TO GO’ ☑️
“Oh wow”, I thought, as this song got going. “It’s finally happening… I like a Hurts song, finally after all this time!” Of course I fucking do, because ‘Ready To Go’ either samples or very heavily draws from a song I already know and enjoy! Can I remember what that song is? Can I fuck. And since the music press seem to be doing what I have all these years, and paying Hurts absolute dust, I can’t even find so much as a c&p’d press release to enlighten me, or a second opinion on what it might just resemble. If it pops into your brain, do please @ me and let me know. I haven’t been this frustrated since I got an early listen of ‘Disco Love’ by The Saturdays and couldn’t figure out what the chorus ripped off (I’m still at a loss!) Anyways, a banger, frankly. If there’s more like this to come, I’m ready to stan.
JASON DERULO – ‘IF I’M LUCKY’ ☑️
Don’t smite me, but the intro to this is very Michael Jackson – there’s even little MJ whoops in the verses – and I feel like beat-wise this isn’t too far off something MJ might put out in 2017. It has shadows of the XSCAPE material, like I could imagine ‘A Place With No Name’ sounding something more akin to this if that restoration project had come in the last 6 months rather than 4 years ago. Anyway, I digress, Jason Derulo doesn’t have a lot in common with MJ artistically other than the fact he’s a pretty decent dancer and consistently brings out absolute bops. This isn’t a ‘Swalla’-level monster jam, but I really like it anyway.
JESSIE WARE – ‘SELFISH LOVE’ ☑️
Jessie Ware puts in a constrained performance on ‘Selfish Love’, especially after the room-filling belts of ‘Midnight’. An almost creepy little number with some on-trend Latin flair, this song is giving me staying in a hacienda in the middle of nowhere and I’m feeling a little off about it, but I can’t put my finger on why, then I wake up in the middle of the night to hear an old vinyl player scratching and like a simple white girl in a horror movie I go alone to investigate the source of the sound and there’s two beautiful 1930s ghosts ballroom dancing to this and I watch aghast and then they notice me and rip out my throat so I can’t scream and in the morning my friends find my body and try to escape and call for help but all the doors are suddenly locked and we all die on this beautiful Spanish estate with Jessie Ware still softly crooning in our ears… Um, so yeah. That’s what that song gives me. Issa vibe.
MAROON 5 – ‘WHAT LOVERS DO’ ft. SZA ☑️
Apparently still the only person who likes Maroon 5 without caveat, though I notice the presence of SZA has softened some of the reception – as well she should, she deserves every damn success! – and this song is going to the top. Paced enough to get your hips moving, without breaking out too much of that regrettably linear formula for success that shows no sign of being broken anytime soon, SZA is the most interesting part of ‘What Lovers Do’ just by sheer virtue of having a voice that has light and shade to it, even when melodies don’t.
MATTHEW DEAR – ‘BAD ONES’ ft. TEGAN AND SARA ☑️
This collaboration cuts right to the reasons the fools among us love a bad boy or girl – because winning the love of a dickhead feels much more like a prize than winning the love of someone who gives it easily. Sometimes I marvel at how a perfectly crafted lyric can make a song go from background noise to something your brain snags on. The hook to ‘Bad Ones’ – “if I was one of the good ones/I don’t think you’d like me/I’m one of the bad ones/and that’s why you feel lucky” – is one of those times. It cuts through the forgettable synth arrangement and makes you pay attention. I’m gonna play this a lot.
MOLLIE KING – ‘HAIR DOWN’
This is absolutely horrible. There is 33 seconds worth of intro, in which Mollie King, one of the UK’s worst popstars (yes, even though she likes Britney Spears!) even manages to sing “na na na na” flat. And then, even worse, this part repeats all the way through the song because it’s part of the chorus! Ugh. This sound is dead, right? Like, even if Girls Aloud came back with this in 2017, I think we’d all wince through our elation, wouldn’t we? Even if it was being delivered up by a 17-year-old day-glo brat rather than a Made In Chelsea understudy, we’d think this song was Too Much, surely? Even all the Xenomania nostalgia and goodwill in the world can’t have people seriously with a straight face reporting that this is good music, can it? Gays, I know you love a basic blonde, but the best thing you can do for Mollie King at this point, is meme her. Give her the full Gemma Collins. But please, for the love of pop, don’t stan this shit, even ironically.
MR. PROBZ – ‘GONE’ ft. ANDERSON .PAAK ☑️
I never really fucked with that big Mr Probz hit from a while back, and I’m only paying this any attention because Anderson .Paak is on it.’Gone’ feels like a slick city tune, walking under streetlights on a summer night when the dark is blue rather than black, kinda vibe. It’s funky and highly infectious, plus I feel like I didn’t appreciate what a nice vocal Mr. Probz has before! .Paak isn’t even my favourite bit of the song! A plot twist indeed.
PALOMA FAITH – ‘CRYBABY’ ☑️
Post-pregnancy, Paloma Faith is back on the scene, sounding almost unrecognisable on ‘Crybaby’, when you compare it to her sometimes extremely harsh tone on her big hits like ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’. A song about tears being healing, and letting men cry without shame, I’m kinda surprised by how much I love this? It just sends me, to be honest: it’s pitched perfectly, just the right tempo, Paloma’s voice is soft and sweet… It sits atop the Spotify NMF playlist this week, suggesting that at least at Spotify the sexist age restrictions of Radio 1 don’t apply (‘Crybaby’ premiered on Radio 2), and I hope it’s a hit for her, I really do.