New Music Friday #49

Last night, as I dragged myself away from Christmas drinks with the members of one of my main Whatsapp groups (v 2017!), I bemoaned the fact that I had to be up early and was then reminded I also had to write this… so I had to be up earlier even than I was preparing myself for. With a lot of confidence I said it was the end of the year so there at least would only be about three songs worth writing about and I could knock it out in no time. Famous last words! There’s actually more of note on this week’s New Music Friday than there has been in peak weeks, but also thankfully this blog no platforms racists so there’s one less song to bother with. I am still due a Christmas song round up, I know, I just haven’t had a moment to get on with it since we hit December last week. It’s coming though, I promise! For now, as usual, the new releases for the week are HERE and the best bits will be on the main playlist which you can subscribe to or whatever at the bottom of the page.

Sometimes, when I hit play on the first song for a new week’s NMF, the Spotify interface loads up something I was already listening to instead and completely disorients me. That’s what happened when I hit play on ‘Go Legend’, which opens with a lovely orchestral intro before a notable “Metro Boomin” tag hits but even then it’s a full half minute before you hear any beat. I’m not keen on the Travis Scott hook or the extremely simple rhyme scheme from Big Sean on the verses, but the project this is taken from (a Big Sean x Metro Boomin collaboration album) is interesting to me on the whole, so I’m still gonna give it a whirl.

Charli XCX is dropping a new mixtape next week, throwing everyone’s end of year list into a tailspin (except mine, because I wait until the very last minute). Of course there’s a chance it might not be worthy of end of year lists, though this lead single suggests otherwise. The kind of track where the production sounds sparse but there’s actually a lot going on, plus great vocal turns from all three artists puts this up there with ‘Boys’ as an actually great Charli XCX song (’cause I swear y’all do the most about her when a lot of times, it’s not even that good) and potentially her first track that has a chance of being a top 10 hit in a long while. A very sophisticated, extremely listenable pop song.

Eminem’s collaboration with Beyoncé was underwhelming and ‘Untouchable’, a satirical screed on race relations (from the perspective of a cop??) is also in that camp. Like his BET cypher, the intention and message were sound but the delivery was just plain bad, and he falls into the trap of thinking that only poor people are racist and the root causes are economic anxiety. Honestly it’s too early for my brain to properly untangle my knee jerk recoil from this song, but in a nutshell, it’s just not even a good rap whatever the content might be.

Grace Carter’s second single is a little “why do I need this, from you” as it retreads so much British R&B ground from the past year or so, but it’s also a slight improvement on her (extremely derivative!) debut and I feel like we’re slowly creeping towards a turning point – maybe two or three more singles down the line she’ll start to have formed her own identity. This is pleasant, anyway, and she has an incredible voice, I’m just not moved.

Thank god for Release Radar showing me the real goods, because I had no idea K. Michelle was putting out new shit today. Eminem should give this track a little listen, as K does racial satire properly here: “wish I could be a Kardashian, so I could be black” as the hook goes. It’s well-articulated, wry and, like all the best K. Michelle tracks, shot through with a little bit of raw sadness, as she sings on the feelings of being a black woman, cutting through to the root of why cultural appropriation is harmful. If you don’t get it, you will after you listen to this.

There are a lot of songs I have liked in the moment over this year, but then never revisited or skipped over once I stopped writing, however ‘I Still Get To You’ by Maiday is one that stuck around. It was in my head the other day in fact. A variation on the theme, ‘Some Hard Feelings’ is almost like the flipside to that last single – if you aren’t the one causing the feelings, you’re the one having them and this song’s bitter “I’m over it… I just think it’s funny how” message is extremely relatable, especially since the chorus is literally just “fuck you” repeated. Well into it.

Netflix are really trying to make the soundtrack to this movie happen, and finally a track I might be arsed about listening to! In fact, not even might, I really like this. Migos are lively, the beat really drives and I feel pumped up. I will never watch Bright, but I’ll listen to this track again for sure. Another smash from Marshmello, who is maybe my producer of the year… maybe.

God, I love The Neighbourhood. Their new single is dark and synthy, much more pop than anything they’ve put out before, but perhaps not as instantly sticky as ‘Sweater Weather’ was. Wiped Out! as much as I enjoyed it, was a bit of a tired listen, but ‘Scary Love’ has me so excited for a new record I could sick. That chorus! Obsessed. Song of the week.

Mabel has now had a proper breakout hit, and Not3s is still in that first flush of ‘Addison Lee’ propelled success so this remix makes absolute sense as a next step for him. It’s cool, and Mabel is obviously the bigger star, but not so much so that she dwarfs him on his own track. Mabel’s vocal really works alongside Not3s and I can see this picking up speed heading into next year. Good work everyone.

I try so hard with SOPHIE but this is too cool for me, I guess. It’s just like… when would I ever need to listen to these noises? “Ponyboy” isn’t even a good catchphrase, y’know? I don’t like house music never mind this deconstructed, terribly clever nonsense. I don’t believe anyone cares about music like this, y’all are Emperor’s New Clothes fake. Give me a proper hook and a melody please, this is just beads rattling round in a soup can.

Follow my 2017 playlist here…


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