New Music Friday #39

This week’s New Music Friday is a lil’ too heavy on random tracks pulled off albums released today and light on singles by anyone I give a shit about or who even vaguely piques my curiosity. There’s just… a lot, nowadays isn’t there? Maybe even too much. How will I ever consume all the content when every day there is more and more and more? More must-see TV, new must-watch movies, endless algorithms and Human Curators pushing me must-listen music… it overwhelms me at times, I have to admit. It used to be that you could put your trust in a critic or two to be your guide, but there was less endless choice then and the positivity economy where no one says anything bad about anything ever was not yet in boom. And I get that traditional forms of media are in struggle mode and access to talent is the only thing that they have that gives them that slight advantage still and no one wants to piss anyone off, plus rabid stans will come for your head if you so much as breathe the wrong way at their fave and in the churn, churn, churn of it all maybe you would lose your fucking mind if you didn’t rate everything three stars and above because it would remind you that we are just slowly fucking drowning in shit all day every day advertising and marketing and PR’d shit at us until we smile through dry bites and say “this is good” like that one hilarious Sarah Paulson gif but you know what? I just need to know, truthfully, should I listen to this? Should I watch? Should I go see? And the worst thing is, I can’t even trust people who aren’t media to tell the truth, so beholden to hidden allegiances and the lure of a numbers tweet to do anything but swing between 10/10 yassss queen-ing or cancelledT. I’m guilty of it too, sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but I pretty much wear my bias on my sleeve. You know I think everything Britney puts out is the pinnacle of human achievement to date and that I am never ever no matter what going to give Taylor Swift anymore than the bare minimum cursory begrudging “well this isn’t terrible” when she does better than average and you can take those reviews with a pinch of salt… Oh and I just realised I’ve ranted for 400 words on something I’m gonna save for another time because I went off on a right tangent when all I wanted to say was, stop serving me album tracks outside the body of work and calling it a promotional strategy. God, I’m tired this morning on so many different levels. Anyways, today’s songs are HERE and the best picks will be added to the main 2017 playlist which you can find a link to at the bottom of the page. Peace.

I haven’t heard of Chris Lane and when I saw in his bio that he has origins in “bro country”before moving into an R&B influenced space I almost aborted, but you know, this doesn’t suck? I’m mostly here for the Tori Kelly feature – an undeniable talent with no personality or songs but I’m still rooting for her (allow it please, I know some of you are here for Hailee Steinfeld who doesn’t even have the range to justify). She is, of course, the highlight here. Chris Lane’s vocal is non-descript and lifeless – I haven’t heard such passionless singing since Louisa Johnson’s series of X Factor – but Tori’s lifts the track. Not a complete waste of time, but I don’t forsee this doing anything for either of their careers, plus I have no desire to listen again.

Representative of a dark dark time for me, I note Era Istrefi’s career with interest mainly because I thought ‘Bon Bon’ – a weird viral moment, but non hit – was clearly nothing more than a flukey aesthetic video riding off the back of the fact that with no visual you might mistake it for a new Rihanna track. Not the way people were losing their shit back then, but this is “onlyfans” tea now so if you want the story you’ll have to donate to my Patreon. (Just kidding, I don’t have a Patreon. Like an idiot, I do this shit for free.) Anyway, this is straight up Rihanna imitation and frankly if Marvin Gaye’s family can rinse Robin Thicke for stealing his “vibe” then Rih needs to get on her fucking Ariel shit and smash this trick’s shell necklace because she has straight up stolen her vocal for her own malicious ends. If this was a new Rihanna track I could fuck with it, but I implore we collectively agree that we’re not here for these new levels of Columbusing and suffocate the money on this one. She’s from Kosovo for sobbing aloud, she didn’t acquire these affectations naturally. Even Iggy Azalea reckons this is out of line.

I picked this track out because Fletcher’s name was in capital letters and I vaguely remembered her from some Ones To Watch lists. ‘You Should Talk’ is kinda like a Selena Gomez song if Selena could sing, and if you liked anything from Astrid S this year, or fancy a Sigrid track without the cleverness, this will be right up your street. This isn’t stellar, but I’m actually quite here for it. I like Fletcher’s voice, generic as it is, and the while it isn’t as hooky as it really should be, it’s a perfectly serviceable pop song in the vein of lots of other pop songs I enjoy. There’s potential.

#ReleaseASpanishSong2017 continues even though we’re coming into the winter months now and I swear I’m not being racist but also I loathe this trend with my whole heart. It’s not so much the music, it’s the shark-eyed cynicism of it all. It’s the equivalent of sticking a half-arsed 16 bars rap feature into a pop song instead of a middle 8 – they’re not even writing new songs, they’re just hopping on ones that already exist! All that being said, Beyoncé does bring a certain charisma to these “remixes” that artists like Biebs and Little Mix haven’t been able to, plus the proceeds will be donated to hurricane relief charities, so I’m gonna fuck with this for a week then take myself out back and commit.

In double album shenanigans that give me Gareth Gates teas, Krept & Konan’s next project is a Day vs Night style collection of tracks. ‘For Me’ is from the Night side and is a dancehall groove that doesn’t break new ground but still hits your hips the same way all these slow grind inspired jams do. ‘Wo Wo Wo’ is taken from the Day side and I’m much more into the vibe of it – I’m mentally adding “wo wo wo” onto the end of all my sentences already (wo wo wo).

I liked the last The Naked & Famous album as the kind of record I could put on when I actually needed to get shit done, because there was nothing too snaggy or ear-pricking to distract me but it provided pretty, calming ambiance while I did boring stuff. ‘A Still Heart’ is very in that same lane – I would never listen to it as a standalone, but as a preview of what could be to come from the album, I can’t wait to do life admin to this.

The boys of PRETTYMUCH are obviously very talented – their vocals sound great – but there’s a veneer that misses the mark. Too glossy, too polished, too cheesy – ‘Teacher’ is dated, and not in a nostalgic throwback way, it just sounds uncool. I like when people talk in the beginning of songs, I think it’s kinda rad, but here it reminds me of those creepy Weekly Chris vines which in fairness, teenage girls shit their pants for so hey, what do I know. There is a next big boyband on the horizon, for sure. I’m just not convinced it’s these guys. BTS are coming. In fact, BTS are already fucking here. And they make PRETTYMUCH look like amateurs.

Okay, the Kendrick assist helps, but Rich The Kid could have made this go off on his own. Tight flow with enough elastic to keep it feeling relaxed, it’s a pretty standard money, cash, hoes flex (the kind of hip hop which drove Miley away!) but when it bangs like this, who cares? Plus I like to hear Kendrick on some dumb shit, occasionally. Not every day sit down be humble, some days brag about the lifestyle you more than earned.

This is apparently taken from the new FIFA 18 soundtrack and suddenly I’m bothered about playing it? A proper chest-thumping, bouncing on the balls of your feet hype song, I am abruptly way more energised than I was 3 minutes ago, and way more energised than I have any right being on a Friday morning after a long week of staring down the barrel of the next 40 years wondering if there’s more to life than this. Now I feel unstoppable. What kind of magic voodoo? Get into it.

I don’t even know what to say or do about Tinashe anymore. I don’t hate this song – it’s a confusing mix of R&B, pop and festival grade EDM – but it’s not unlistenable. The lack of a clear vision or plan or strategy, however, means it’s difficult to get excited about Tinashe in any type of way. ‘Flame’ was a generic pop song for sure, but it had charm and I still play it regularly. The last 6 months have yielded nothing but some cute instagram pics and some live dates so this track comes completely out of left-field, and this “throw shit at the wall and hope it sticks” approach isn’t good enough. I don’t know how it’s possible to have an artist like Tinashe and fuck it all up so badly, but I’m tired again. My Run The Jewels buzz died off real quick.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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