Wow, my New Music Friday blog turns 40 today! The Big 4-0! 40 consecutive Friday mornings cherry-picking through new releases and committing some thoughts about them to the page. I know I harp on and on about it, but honestly… I’m never this reliable! This blog is so totemic, a symbol of personal growth. I’ll never stick at anything else so long in my entire life. And yet I honestly came so close to not fucking bothering this morning. I mean, I scanned the new release schedule, I opened up the Spotify playlist, I even checked my personal “release radar”… and there is absolutely shit all to get excited about this week. It’s Q-fucking-4 and the best to be offered is a couple of instant grats from P!nk and Maroon 5, and a Liam Gallagher album track? State of it. Anyways, the selection I’m checking out this morning is HERE as always and you can just scroll on down to the bottom to see what was added to the main playlist this week – if any at all!
AJ TRACEY – ‘QUARTERBACK (SECURE THE BAG!)’
Something about this AJ Tracey track is vaguely boyband… I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it reminds me of, but there’s a sugary pop tone to it which I enjoy. That clean sheen is offset by the bars, though the first verse comes in hard but the flow loses direction in verse two and snags the ear for the wrong reasons. I’m not feeling this as much as I was feeling ‘Blacked Out’ but it’s a better mainstream entry point and introduction to AJ.
CHARLIE PUTH – ‘HOW LONG’
Halfway between a Blue song from back in the day and a DNCE song from right now, it’s weird to think that the male Meghan Trainor is the artist behind this smooth R&B number. The *NSYNC style falsetto harmonies and the funky little guitar riffs are ever so slightly pastiche but not enough to date the track, and I can’t help but feel this song is the mark new boyband PRETTYMUCH have been aiming for (and missed). Oddly enough, I can’t actually see myself listening to this again, even though it’s right up my street. Something about that husky tone ya boi Puth is adopting sets me on edge.
CHRIS & KEM – ‘LITTLE BIT LEAVE IT’
Right, okay. Well. I didn’t watch Love Island so this isn’t “for me” anyway. Plus I rate the Kardashians and lots of other trash so I’m hardly well poised to comment on the kind of trash other people enjoy but jesus fucking christ. Please just collect your sponsored instagram post money and go.
GIGGS – ‘LINGUO’ ft. DONAE’O ☑️
This is like sinking your teeth into a perfectly cooked steak after chewing through that stale bread roll from “Chris & Kem”. Donae’o puts in a slick vocal on the chorus, Giggs does his lowkey menacing thing on the verses, and maybe it’s that turn on the Drake mixtape, but there’s an “international” vibe to this. It wouldn’t sound at all out of place on US radio, but the “Britishness” isn’t so diluted that it becomes inauthentic. I’m excited to get my ears around the rest of the mixtape later.
HUNTER HAYES – ‘YOU SHOULD BE LOVED’ ft. THE SHADOWBOXERS
The first Hunter Hayes album was a lot of fun and the subsequent releases less so. Unfortunately this track lands him in the latter camp – it’s overblown and cheesy, and if I’d had to blind match artists to songs this week, I’d maybe have put this down as a Charlie Puth number. Also I’d swear his voice wasn’t always so wide and whining? The whole song sounds like a complaint. Which it is! A proper “I don’t understand why you won’t leave your terrible boyfriend for me, a Nice Guy” whinge. Ugh.
KAMILLE – ‘BODY’ ft. AVELINO ☑️
Another above average release from Kamille – I’ve sat up for this in a way that no other song I’ve listened to so far has managed to make me do, so there must be something about it. The Avelino feature is honestly a blight, like please I am so tired of pointless rap features, but otherwise this is the best track to come out of New Music Friday so far. If I heard this during Insecure, I’d definitely shazam, y’know? Also I can totally hear this playing over an ep of Insecure, that’s a sync that should happen.
KOJO FUNDS & CHIP – ‘CALLING’ ☑️
Presented by GRM Daily, ‘Calling’ is a Kojo Funds banger that would have gone off even without Chip, who drops a typically top quality verse regardless. The Kojo/J Hus beef that has been running for time probably won’t be ending anywhere near soon since this is extremely J Hus-esque, but I’m not exceptionally mad about it. Give me all the afrobeats any time any place any artist tbh.
OFF BLOOM – ‘HEY BAE’ ☑️
Don’t let the title – the painful, eye-roll inducing title – put you off. I almost didn’t bother with this track because of the title and it’s only the fact that Off Bloom are peripherally on my radar that made me give this a go. Up there with the best of scandipop from this year, ‘Hey Bae’ sits really nicely alongside Astrid S, Tove Styrke and Sigrid, plus any other artist this year who delivered up a track where the verses and chorus are structurally varied (slim pickings I know). Gonna go ahead and state emphatically that this is A Bop.
PHOEBE RYAN – ‘JAMES HAS CHANGED’ ☑️
It’s all been a bit hit and miss from Phoebe Ryan this year… I enjoyed ‘Dark Side’ but the two follow ups fell a bit flat and honestly nothing has been as good as ‘Chronic’ which set a reasonably high bar, admittedly, but I thought there was gonna be more go before the engine ran out. Still, ‘James Has Changed’ swings closer to a hit than a miss – a deceptively upbeat tune about a crushing break up, I’m a sucker for those kind of contrasts. It’s not amazing, but it’s worth a spin.
SHAKKA – ‘HEART THE WEEKEND’ ☑️
This is the longest I have ever taken to write a New Music Friday, I’m drained of spirit and maybe a little delirious, I can’t tell whether this song is actually a banger or if it’s stockholm syndrome that got me closing my eyes and waving my arms around my head when this started. Shakka has a pretty good track record, so I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt. A little more generic than I’m used to from him, but in the same way I understood ‘Hurtin’ Me’ was necessary for Stefflon Don (currently top 20), I can see where this is going for Shakka. Looking forward to catching him live later this month.
TOUGH LOVE – ‘CLOSER TO LOVE’ ft. A*M*E
I completely lost track of A*M*E so I was excited to see her name on the release schedule for this week. She sounds great, but this song is the kind of house garbage I’ve heard a million times before. A*M*E deserves better than this.
THE 1975 – ‘MILK’ ☑️
Not new from The 1975, this hidden track from the Sex EP is a fan favourite deep cut. It’s weird to release it as a standalone now, since it’s so much like their old sound, but with the upcoming third album being named after another of the old EPs (Music For Cars), perhaps it’s actually quite prescient? Anyway, I’d completely forgotten how much I enjoy this, so I’m glad it’s getting a new lease of life.