New Music Friday #54

We’re only twelve days into the year and I already feel like I’ve lived a thousand fucking lifetimes… honestly, my body is a mere fraction of a moment away from giving up. Too much to do, too little time to do it in. Can you believe it’s 2018 and we don’t have three day weekends yet? And why did I decide to do a fucking podcast? It’s finally live, by the way. It’s like, a short and sweet intro, I guess. The litmus test of whether you can stand listening to my voice! First episode is HERE and I’m recording the next one on Sunday with Conor and Julian so please do subscribe before then! If my body hasn’t completely shutdown on me by then, of course. As for today, the top ten tracks on the Spotify New Music Friday UK playlist isn’t as packed with heavy hitters as it was last week, but play along from there anyway (skip track 3 – I’m tired of trying to tell y’all about That so I’m simply no platforming in 2018). Subscribe to the 2018 playlist for all the best bits from today, and this playlist to chuck me some recommendations we may discuss on the podcast this week – it’s collaborative, the only rule is that the track has to have been released this year. Finally, BRITs nominations are announced on Saturday. Send me your predictions, and pray that I don’t die in my sleep tonight! Have a beautiful weekend.

Okay… I won’t lie, I thought this would be like… a banger, y’know? I mean, obviously Jorja isn’t a banger machine, but ‘On My Mind’ really went off and a Stormzy team up had me expecting, y’know? I don’t want to say I’m disappointed, because it’s a beautiful, emotive ballad, but by the same token, I both wanted and needed more energy. I’m also jarred by Stormzy’s verse on this – after a whole big 2017 where from his own material to his two massive guest verses on ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Power’ he painted himself as basically the most caring, attentive, uplifting boyfriend on the planet, to hear him in this role as distant and closed-off doesn’t really scan. I do love both artists though, so this might be one where I wait around for a remix.

I have loved precisely two (2) Troye Sivan tracks – ‘Happy Little Pill’ and ‘Wild’ – and I find the hype around him bemusing at best and hilarious at its most hyperbolic and fervent. If this was a release by any one of the lower tier female artists that released this song last year (Astrid S, Hayley Kiyoko, Aly & AJ… just off the top of my head) it would pass with barely any acknowledgement, but I understand it’s been heralded as the saviour of pop, the most incredible, game changing, never-heard-anything-like-it innovation in music since the electric guitar was invented and the best release of the year as though ‘Finesse’ with Cardi B didn’t drop just last week. Okay, fine. I mean, I can get down with that really very good chorus, and I’ve been listening to songs exactly like this for a whole year, so I’m gonna listen to this too, but… I swear y’all do the most about this artist.

Obviously we as a society did a serious disservice to Craig David, one of the most talented male vocalists this country has ever seen, and allowing his career to atrophy was an error on our collective parts. We have, I think, paid our dues with respect to that massive oversight, and now that we have delivered a top ten hit and some cultural cachet, we can get everything back into perspective and recognise that the new music just is not good. I would even go so far as to say I hated this track. Boring, uninspired, forgettable. Kaytranada produced this track! He probably did it in his sleep.

I do not enjoy British artists singing country music. Not that I’m a huge country music fan, but I do partake from time to time, and half of the “magic” is in the history of the scene. Admittedly it’s a deeply conservative scene and it speaks mainly to white people, but there’s an authenticity in US artists that just isn’t present in any single act from the UK that tries to emulate the genre. This is extremely “watches Nashville once’, and it’s not unpleasant, it’s just hollow.

Marshmello has been a real “came from nowhere” success story of 2017. Hovering in the US dance charts for a couple of years, suddenly he’s properly having hits with the likes of Khalid and Selena Gomez? Both of those songs are great, so it’s not like it’s a mystery, I’m just surprised that people can still do a real zero to a hundred nowadays. There’s no decontextualising ‘Spotlight’ from Lil Peep’s posthumous appearance – it feels heavy to hear him on it in the same way it’s heavy to watch movies starring Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy – and this is the kind of song I don’t mind hearing but probably wouldn’t choose to listen to. The momentum of Lil Peep’s fledgling career hasn’t yet been halted by his tragic death at the end of last year, but it’s such a shame he won’t be around to experience it.

I am so confused by what Nina Nesbitt’s career is now. She’s definitely from the UK, right? Why is her vocal, and indeed her whole vibe,  so “17-year-old YouTuber with half a million subscribers on their covers channel that just got signed even though that type of fan doesn’t buy music and the talent isn’t unique or charismatic enough to sing anything other than songs that people already enjoy”? You know exactly what I’m talking about when you hear this, right? Like, that’s exactly what the song is! I can’t believe it’s not Madison Beer. A good little pop song, nevertheless. I could stand to play it again.

I opened Twitter and scrolled my timeline and started reading an article about ten seconds into this track and didn’t check back in to what I should actually have been doing until it had been playing for around two minutes, which should tell you everything you need to know about this song.

I can’t believe Skott hasn’t been on my radar before today, when she literally has a song called ‘Mermaid’, but here we are. We’ve all heard this before, the scandipop sound has been so ubiquitous for so long that of course it’s starting to become homogenous, but there’s a warmth in this usually absent from the production. Sweet, melodic, whistle-pop. I am going to revisit the rest of her music today since I may be a new fan.

I’m annoyed that I’m listening to a remix of a song from last year so high up on the playlist for 2018, but whatever. ‘Decline’ is still a bop, this remix replaces Mr. Eazi with Ramz and it’s all a much of a muchness. ‘Decline’ has stalled on the charts somewhat so maybe this will give it a boost. Maybe it won’t. You can’t see me, but I’m shrugging.

Is there a little nod to ‘Thong Song’ on this track? If so, it’s the most exciting part. What I learned last year was that every time I heard a new afrobeats-influenced track, I would decide I liked it because so little of the music released last year could genuinely be danced to, but all the songs in this lane would get my shoulders winding as I typed. Then, after I added them to the main playlist I would just never listen to them again. So, ‘Bim Bam’ is a groove, but I need to be honest about its replay value. I won’t listen to this again by choice.


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