It’s my final full day in Barbados and honestly, I’m not sure how I can be expected to return to the real world. I am acclimatised to my new island life, the thought of waking up in the morning to anything less than 28 degrees and blue sky is filling me with overwhelming dread. Still, there’s nothing like a lacklustre New Music Friday to get you in the mood for returning to a lacklustre country. I pretty much wrapped up my end of year lists last night – I’ve left a space for Miguel’s album potential but unless we’re getting a surprise drop between now and Christmas, this Q4 is pretty much over and done with now that pop’s foremost malevolent wench has released her record. We’re only just halfway through November and there’s nothing left to look forward to for the rest of the year. What a state of affairs. Anyways, you can listen along to this week’s picks HERE, as always, the main best of the best playlist can be found at the bottom of the page and I’ll be back in the UK on Sunday morning. Laters!
DIPLO – ‘GET IT RIGHT’ ft. MØ
Last time Diplo and MØ teamed up it was for 2016’s ‘Cold Water’ with Justin Bieber and the other members of Major Lazer. That was a #1 single despite the fact ‘Lean On’ is objectively a better song (only peaking at #2) so what are chances looking like for this new cut? A sad piano jam, a little bit in the vein of Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s ‘See You Again’, I guess. It’s at the top of the New Music Friday playlist but I’m unmoved by it. Both artists have separately released much better music this year – the surprise! MØ EP from a couple weeks back was particularly great – and there’s just no reason to ever listen to this. It’s not emotive enough to really bed down in your feelings and you can’t dance to it. Playlist filler for radio and playlisting.
EMINEM – ‘WALK ON WATER’ ft. BEYONCÉ
This song was actually new last week but too late for the reviews and I actually haven’t listened to it in the interim period – too put off by everyone’s awful comments! A lot of the ire comes from the fact that people are outraged that Beyoncé would collaborate with Eminem. Like, some perspective, please? Beyoncé, in her long career has collaborated with titans, but there’s also that Destiny’s Child track with Coronation Street star Matthew Marsden and the Naughty Boy feature from a few years ago. Eminem, at least, is a global superstar on her same level. But the song, anyway… The hook is on the lowest low end of Beyoncé balladry – sounds beautiful but terribly boring – and the Eminem verses are just one step up from that BET cypher – I get the message, but shit, the delivery is bad. It gets a little better as the song goes on but… marginally. And it goes on for 5 minutes? You’re telling me you got two of the most notable artists of their time together on a track for the first time and this is the best they could do? Neither of these artists come out of this collaboration well.
FALL OUT BOY – ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’
This beat sounds like ‘Paper Love’ by Allie X and isn’t actually a bad song? If you’ll remember, I was reserving opinion on ‘Young & Menace’ – the first release from FOB’s new album – because I suspected it was a bad song, but I like FOB and wanted to enjoy it. It turns out that song was in fact terrible, but this one I’m confident is very listenable and a lot of fun. Still, as much as I’ve enjoyed the pop transformation of FOB, I feel like this is a little too far? The songs are generic. They’re only just one step up from the new material from The Vamps (which is just Matoma songs fronted by The Vamps if we’re honest). The new album will be interesting for sure. But for the record, this one is good.
JADEN SMITH – ‘FALCON’ ft. RAURY
I don’t think Jaden Smith is a rapper of any talent. His dad, of course, won the first rap Grammy and has carved out a massive A list career where the music is secondary to the acting, but his charismatic style and dedication to never dropping a cuss plus the fact he’s an excellent narrative MC shouldn’t be forgotten. He passed none of that to his son who is oddly clunky in delivery of extremely basic AB rhyme schemes. Raury though… Raury is a talent, and he makes this track pop. It’s a bit of a meaningless jumble – I have no idea what they’re trying to convey – but once you get over the first verse, which is Jaden at his most inept, there’s a good little bounce going.
LUIS FONSI – ‘ÉCHAME LA CULPA’ ft. DEMI LOVATO
Top of my “leave it in 2017” list, alongside Julia Michaels and the continued success of racists like Camilla Cabello, is latin-pop in this vein. Please, it’s NOVEMBER. I beg this trend is over. Admittedly this track has a bit more pep than the others – the endless factory line of ‘Despacito’ rip offs have drained my life force almost to the end – and Demi Lovato as the featured artist at least gives the vocals some personality, but it’s winter now and these bones want cozy songs not blazing ones.
MAGGIE LINDEMANN – ‘OBSESSED’ ☑️
Maggie Lindemann is a name I see on the timeline occasionally, but look we are in an age of constant stimulation and I have to be strict with my attention else I would never enjoy anything fully. This is the first track I’ve heard and it’s very “oh, you’re this year’s Hailee Steinfeld”. Very white girl sassy – “you’re so obsessed with yourself, maybe you should undress with yourself” zing!!! – and that weird kind of slightly babyish, catch-of-breath-in-between-syllables affected style of singing that’s popular in the rising underclass of pop girls right now. I kinda like it, but I’m not gagging to hit repeat.
STEFFLON DON – ‘DING-A-LING’ ft. SKEPTA ☑️
Stefflon’s gamble with ‘Hurtin’ Me’ paid off in the form of a top 10 hit, and now she appears in her true form, with Skepta, on this absolute rattler of a song. When it comes to the verses, Steff outspits Skepta with the way she fires off every round leaves him sounding one step behind, despite the fact he isn’t exactly slacking. The “ding-a-ling” hook is infuriatingly annoying, but it’s gonna get stuck in the head of every single person who hears this. Steff is the UK’s best female popstar right now, I hope this is a smash for her.
STEVE AOKI – ‘ALL NIGHT’ ft. LAUREN JAUREGUI ☑️
Stuck somewhere in the middle/lower third of the New Music Friday playlist, this sultry feature from Lauren Jauregui deserves better, but please ask me about my conspiracy on how and why Fifth Harmony are being shafted by the industry another time. Lauren has the best voice in 5H, maybe not the most technically proficient or powerful, but the nicest to listen to, and I suspect she will do the best of the four that are left once they’re finally squeezed into splitting up. ‘All Night’ is a 1am dancefloor song for when the drinks have settled and you’re a lot more relaxed and loose but not yet tired and sluggish. Most importantly, it is a dance song you can actually dance to WITH YOUR HIPS, it’s a Q4 miracle.