A unique time pressure this morning, as we roll into my final week in this house, the shower has just… stopped working? So I need to bash this out and then run round to my new place to use the bathroom before work which is so less than ideal you cannot imagine since this week, for some reason, has completely rinsed me. I have been tired to the very root of every cell in my body since Monday. Ideally every song I listen to this morning will be an absolute banger to wake me up, but listen… we all know I’m not that lucky. Nevertheless, y’all can listen along HERE, and don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter if you’re reading these because I do like to chat about music pretty much all the time. Have a good Friday!
GEORGE MICHAEL – ‘FANTASY’ ft. NILE RODGERS
And so it begins. The premature death of any superstar always without fail – unless they have been morbid enough to think ahead, and sometimes even regardless – leads to their offcut vault being mined for money. Slightly disappointed in Nile Rodgers for being involved in this rework, not the least because it’s not really very good? I love George Michael, but I won’t feel like I’m missing out to not listen to this ever again, especially since it already exists in its original, and in my opinion, superior form.
HAILEE STEINFELD & ALESSO ‘LET ME GO’ ft. FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & WATT ☑️
What on earth is the crediting on this song? Who are all these people? You know what? A digression I don’t have time for. I’m conflicted because I like the verses and I love the pre-chorus but it’s 2017 and people are still thinking ugly production breaks are a substitute for a decent hook. I’m sticking this on the main playlist for now but I reserve my right to remove it if that squelchy “drop” starts to get on my tits.
HOODIE ALLEN – ‘KNOW IT ALL’
Okay, yes, I admit, I kind of enjoy Hoodie Allen even though he is merely a nerdy Jewish version of Macklemore, who I do not enjoy. It’s Friday guys, okay, let the feeling take you and don’t try to judge me. Anyway, I was hyped for this because I didn’t know he had new music out but then I listened and… eh. It’s just kinda meandering and not very clever? So turgid too, like oh my god it felt like I was listening forever. Not the one. I’ve outed myself for nothing.
iLOVEMAKONNEN – ‘LOVE’ ft. RAE SREMMURD ☑️
Mike WiLL Made-It and Travis Barker take on production duties for this iLoveMakonnen collaboration with Rae Sremmurd and since I basically love everyone involved, I fuck with this heavily. I imagine the title should really have been ‘Fuck Love’ but since that isn’t radio and Spotify friendly, the deceptive censorship lures you into thinking this is gonna be a sweet song about cute stuff. The truth is it’s emo rambling about a girl fucking your life up and ruining life for you. The production on this really is the perfect middle ground between Travis Barker’s drum-driven relentlessness and Mike WiLL’s dance-ready rhythms, plus there’s a proper chorus and the greatest songwriting device known to mankind – handclaps, for those who don’t know – and maybe this is my fave release of the day? Very into it.
KELLY CLARKSON – ‘LOVE SO SOFT’ / ‘MOVE YOU’ ☑️
Two releases from Kelly Clarkson! A blessing, truly. ‘Love So Soft’ is a handclap (!) anchored, soulful mid-tempo with just a touch of sass co-written by Priscilla Renea whose return I begged for on Twitter not but three days ago! Meanwhile ‘Move You’ is a little less exciting, more of a standard concert hall ballad, but an astonishing vocal performance regardless. I wasn’t that into the last Kelly Clarkson album, but both of these tracks are promising and it’s absolutely wild that the first Idol winner (2002) is still out making music 15 years later. Gotta give her props for that – a testament to talent, truly.
KYLA – ‘YOU AIN’T MINE’ ft. POPCAAN
I read a great article the other day about how Drake crediting Kyla as a featured artist on ‘One Dance’ instead of just lifting the sample gave new life to her career, so I was keen to hear this just to see what she was doing with her second chance. Nothing groundbreaking here, if I’m honest – it’s got good energy and I love the lyric about not regretting good sex, but I don’t see this filling dance floors or building up a fanbase. It could have come from any of the low tier pop girls. Disappointing.
MANDY MOORE – ‘WILLIN’
New Mandy Moore in the year 2017 of our lord Jesus Christ? It’s off a soundtrack, and a bit of a boring country slow jam cover, so I won’t get too gassed but it really is nice to hear her voice again (on something that isn’t Disney) and I can’t really knock something so soft and inoffensive. ‘Candy’ is probably due a 20th anniversary remix soon though, right?
NADINE – ‘GO TO WORK’
Xenomania have got their dated little fingers all over this ex-girlband member revival too and in some ways it’s almost worse than the mess that was the Mollie King single last week? It sounds about a year or two too late, for a start, and makes absolutely no use of Nadine’s powerful vocal – she’s reduced to being a faceless session singer on her own song. I… just don’t know who these songs are for, honestly. Like, I feel like I keep talking about music industry waste but seriously who is spending money on this and thinking “a solid investment this, gonna make all that back and more!” I like Nadine a lot, and I wanted to like this song – certainly had far more goodwill towards it than the Mollie one – but it’s not even as good as ‘Insatiable’ which wasn’t even that great. What’s the point?
NEON HITCH – ‘I KNOW YOU WANNIT’
Neon Hitch had some bangers back in the day, and I always rooted for her, but ‘I Know You Wannit’ is clustered and frustrating to my ears and her unusual vocal has ceased to be an interesting quirk and is now more of an irritating affectation. Kitchen-sink production was so hot 10 years ago and in some ways I do prefer it to the minimalist nothing of pop music today, but a middle ground would be better. ‘I Know You Wannit’ is like a relic, and not a good one.
PHOEBE RYAN – ‘BE REAL’
A breathy, sugar sweet tune from Phoebe Ryan that isn’t moving me any type of way. I like Phoebe Ryan when she’s being a little more twisty with her lyrics – ‘Chronic’ as an example – but this is a pretty straight-down-the-line plea for some hot ‘n’ cold fuckboy to stop playing games. Relatable, but played out.
SAM SMITH – ‘TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES’
Wow, this is boring. I honestly thought a Sam Smith return would sit in that ‘Omen’ territory and I was ready to lowkey stan (FOR THE SONG ONLY!) but this is just ‘Like I Can’ the reprise. Without the choir dropping in to pick it up a little, there is absolutely nothing to this song at all. The lyrics are trite, the melody is forgettable and honestly, I’ve never liked the tone of his voice. It will probably be #1 for a million years because it sounds like “emotional resonance for the type of basic Little Englander who voted Brexit”.
TIEKS – ‘SAY A PRAYER’ ft. CHAKA KHAN & POPCAAN ☑️
Oh. My. Good. God. A BANGER! Weirdly, this is what I was expecting from Sam Smith? Thank god Tieks and Chaka delivered, goddamn. It sounds like church, it sounds like nature and the wild, it sounds like 3am completely licked and loving everyone in the club. I know I said up post that iLoveMakonnen was my fave song of the day, but it’s not. It’s this one.
TOVE LO – ‘DISCO TITS’ ☑️
I actually cheated by listening to this song when it leaked last week, but how could I resist taking a peek at a song by one of my absolute faves Tove Lo called ‘DISCO TITS’, I mean, please I am just a woman. A perfectly formed, highly intelligent, deeply charming woman but flesh and blood like you nonetheless. Anyway, I love this, obviously. The dead-pan, spoken-word chorus – “fully charged, nipples are hard”!!! – halfway between a glittering disco groove and vocodered electroclash absurdity, it’s so nice to have this and not another trop-pop nothing burger, y’know. Thank god for Tove Lo. Now lemme take my top off.
ZAYN – ‘DUSK TILL DAWN’ ft. SIA ☑️
The ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ video is a real triumph – please someone talk to me in detail about the way Zayn bites his lip when the gangsters accost him and he has to raise his hands – but does the song measure up? Well, I like it, which is half the battle. The chorus is great (again, if this had come from Sam Smith I could have been down with it) but oddly strips Zayn of the personality he had built up on Mind Of Mine and even with the PARTYNEXTDOOR track from earlier this year. It does sound like a big fucking hit though – “not tryna be indie, not tryna be cool” – and Zayn truly does ooze star quality with or without the video. It’s no ‘Pillowtalk’ but I’m here for it anyway.