New Music Friday #41

A much more promising week for new releases, which is a relief after last Friday’s shitshow and a double relief coming at the end of this mentally exhausting Weinstein rollercoaster of revelations. My hope is that the music industry is next for a shake up – #FREEKESHA – there’s a lot of people I can think of who are probably feeling pretty anxious right now… or not! since I doubt they’re even cognizant of the fact that they’re disgusting. God, doesn’t it just suck to be a woman? Anyway, on the bright side of things, let me just use this moment to urge you with everything in me to start watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend if you haven’t already. Season 3 starts today (it will be on Netflix tomorrow morning) and it is easily the best show on TV right now by a million miles. I honestly don’t get excited like this for anything other than Britney albums. It’s super clever, super relatable, super funny, has a diverse cast, original songs and pop culture references up to the eyeballs. If there is anything released today as good as ‘I Think I Like You’, the Carly Rae Jepsen bop that ‘Cut To The Feeling’ only wishes it was, I’ll consider this New Music Friday the most successful of the year. Listen along to this week’s picks HERE and the best bits will be on the main playlist that you can find at the end of the post. Do subscribe, and have an excellent Friday (the 13th…)

PRETTYMUCH have had a big glossy boyband launch, and on paper they should work, but Citizen Four, chugging along in the background, are the far more interesting prospect in my opinion. ‘My Name (Say It)’ interpolates the Destiny’s Child banger ‘Say My Name’, which is cheating a little bit because how could I not get hooked? But it’s a goer regardless, all strings and harmonies, in that classic boyband R&B way. Mostly this has got me nostalgic for that ‘You Make Me Wanna’ sampling Zara Larsson track that never made it to the album. We’re now in an era where the jams of our youth are ripe for being revamped by the stars of tomorrow. You can’t stop time, we old af.

Earlier in the week I saw Dagny’s fellow Norwegian Astrid S at a live music concert in London. Astrid S has bops for days and not much else, and I have a sneaking suspicion Dagny falls into the same category. ‘Love You Like That’ is another solidly listenable, spaciously synthy scandipop tune that could have been released by anybody, and while the consistency is admirable – Dagny is one of the few artists this year to repeatedly deliver up music I’ve wanted to listen to – at some point I need to have my mind blown, y’know?

There was a study released this week that said grime was as disruptive and powerful as punk and then Dave dropped ‘Question Time’ like he just wanted to underline the point. A blistering Fraser T Smith produced screed on the state of the country, addressed directly to the craven worms that got us here, with more finesse than say… Eminem’s BET cypher, it’s one of the most powerful songs to be released this year. It doesn’t bang, and it’s not the kind of thing you’re gonna wanna put on repeat, but it’s essential listening nonetheless. What I like about both ‘Question Time’ and ‘The Storm’ is how they pull absolutely no punches – the time for metaphors and vague platitudes is over. It’s time to tell people who you are, and what you stand for and who you stand with. Play them both to people you don’t trust and I guarantee you’ll find out their true heart just by how uncomfortable it makes them.

At the beginning of the year I caught Kehlani live at Koko and was absolutely shook by how accomplished she was a performer. Her SweetSexySavage album has held up all year too, and now it seems she’s gearing up for a new cycle. On it’s own merits ‘Touch’ is a decent song, but in the context of Kehlani I’m not sure how much I enjoy it… It’s generic? Her voice, even, sounds like any number of faceless singer/songwriters. If it was played to me blind I wouldn’t guess this track was by Kehlani even if you gave me 10 chances. That said, if you loved the new Demi Lovato record, you’ll be heavily into this, since it could slot into the tracklisting easily.

Lost Kings are my second favourite of the “male production duo releasing the same song with different female guest artists” genre (after Snakehips), but this is my least favourite of their releases this year. I am not familiar with Sabrina Carpenter but her vocal is irritatingly affected in that way which is no longer unusual but instead incredibly pedestrian, and the way the production moves like one of those plastic tubes you swing round your head to make weird sounds is making me nauseous.

Louis Tomlinson is sad about being famous and I’m sad about this song. Easily the least self-aware white whine since Rachel Platten stubbed her toe or whatever the incident was that inspired ‘Fight Song’ (and I’m using the word “inspired” very loosely, here). What’s stopping him from having a pub lunch every Sunday and drinking cheap beer? Go away, please.

Alright, I’m ready to accept the fact that Mabel can be relied upon. Three excellent tunes in a row? In 2017, that’s practically the equivalent of a 12-track all killer no filler LP! ‘Begging’ has a little touch of dancehall, and a huge spoon of “take no fucking shit”, it’s probably the weakest of the three crown jewels (‘Bedroom’ > ‘Finders Keepers’ > this, if you’re asking me to rank) but I’m gonna be bopping to it over the weekend for sure.

God, five seconds in I can already tell this is gonna be a pile of wank. That cheap, horrible intro! You can just listen to Charlie Puth if you’re gagging for this kind of song.

I don’t hate this – it sounds like ‘She Bangs’ by Ricky Martin in the same way that Taylor Swift song sounded like Right Said Fred – but I absolutely cannot stand that scuzzy thing where the vocals sound like the radio hasn’t been tuned properly (only 90s kids will understand!). I actually feel kind of itchy from listening to it. Very stressful.

Rex OC is one of my absolute faves of the year and this soft, sweet love song is the perfectly autumnal soundtrack to cuffing season you were waiting on. This song makes me want a boyfriend and I want that boyfriend to be Michael from Jane The Virgin who I think would probably look great in a thin-knit sweater and joggers relaxed on my sofa and only moving to make me some kind of special blend secret family recipe hot chocolate as this song plays very quietly in the background. Sorry, I know you’re all Rafael fans but I just don’t rate him!

Take me to house church! If you’re partying this weekend, as I am, you’ll want this on your pre’s-playlist and you’ll also need it again at maybe 12.37am, just at the point where you might start to be flagging very slightly and the course of the night pivots on whether the DJ delivers something to induce a second wind or to send you on a sobering spiral of “how stupid is it that we get drunk and dance just for the hell of it, aren’t humans ridiculous? I’m so hungry and tired and I want this make up off my face and for this guy to shut his boring chat up and for my inevitable hangover to not hit too hard tomorrow morning”. ‘Deeper’ is a euphoric second wind song, proper arms in the air, hips swinging shit. Into it.

This is an incredibly restrained Sleigh Bells track. Where’s the bit where it sounds like they’ve emptied a crate of pots and pans down an iron staircase? A little bit Carly Rae Jepsen, if you stripped out all the bubblegum and installed an atmospheric smoke machine, but I like it a lot, though there’s no real chorus to speak of.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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