Oh, friends. I can’t tell you how soul-destroying it is to open up New Music Friday and see the top 10, but below, just out of reviewing distance is the new version of the Gaga song, a new DNCE track and the latest from The Aces and Rat Boy. It’s fine, they will all be covered on the podcast which is going much better, by the way, now that I have the mind for it. Last week’s episode featured my girl gang and if you haven’t yet, you can listen to it here. I also recently discovered that it’s on Spotify! All your podcast bases covered, if you’re not subscribing even though I put so much work into it, you’re a monster. Rethink your choices while you peruse my opinions on ten songs Spotify reckons (usually wrongly) are all flames emoji 10/10 tracks. The good ones will be on the main 2018 playlist and if you hear anything over the course of the day you think I shouldn’t be missing out on, add it in here and I’ll make sure I get my ears round it. January is almost over, kids. Have a good last Friday of the month!
CRAIG DAVID – ‘FOCUS’
I think I would like ‘Focus’ if it was led by a powerful female vocal. No, wait, that sounds definitive. I think I would be more likely to like it, if it was led by a powerful female vocal. But in 2018, I don’t think I should be thinking to myself “this reminds me of ‘Walking On Air’ by Katy Perry” when that song fully came out a big five years ago. House piano, still? Now? I was worn out by that sound 6 months ago. I wouldn’t voluntarily play ‘Focus’ again, but I gotta admit though, if this came on during a night out, I’d probably go off to it. There’s a lot of joyous energy here. Still… ‘7 Days’ feels so long ago, huh? And yet, way more fresher than this…
ZEDD – ‘THE MIDDLE’ w/ MAREN MORRIS & GREY ☑️
This is the second time I have ever heard Maren Morris sing – the first being as a feature on the Niall Horan album – and I like her voice a lot, I have decided. I may revisit her back catalogue to tide me over until such a time that Kacey Musgraves decides to release something new. Unusually for this type of collaboration, the melody and lyrics were the strongest part of the song? There’s a sniff of country roots in here, but it’s mostly just a solid pop track with the odd little electronic flourish for Zedd and Grey to earn their credits. Mad that this was written for a Target advert but it’s better than say… the lead tracks from most of your faves new campaigns.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – ‘SAY SOMETHING’ ft. CHRIS STAPLETON
Another almost 5 minute long track from Justin – someone please censor this mf – but unlike ‘Filthy’ which felt like an endless marathon of tedium, ‘Say Something’ puts me more in a “look a radio edit would have been nice, but I’m not mad” frame of mind. The first release from his Bear Grylls album which lives up to the title, this song does sound very woodsy and rolling hills and back to nature, and I actually really like it. It’s got a lovely lilt, Justin and Chris sound gorgeous in harmony with each other, and it’s all so nothing it’s hard to have a strong opinion. As much as it is galling (and tone deaf), in times like these, for two white men to sing that the best way to say something is to say nothing, I’m not roused enough by this track to make a point of it. A 6/10 album cut, from what is playing out as a 4/10 album overall. At this point we should just call Man Of The Woods dead on arrival, enjoy the Super Bowl and forget all of this ever happened.
GEORGE FITZGERALD – ‘ROLL BACK’ ft. LIL SILVA
I don’t know what a George Fitzgerald is, and when I clicked his biog on Spotify, in lieu of explanatory words, there was just a series of six photos of a man, with hair the same beige colour as his skin, aged anywhere between 29-39, in creased clothes, looking expressionless into the camera or away from it, expressionless still and then the song ended and I thought “yes, a picture really does paint a thousand words”.
FENNE LILY – ‘ON HOLD’
I hate everything about this. Who are the people who can listen to wispy cardboard humans breathing into their ears with ice cold breath about maudlin nothingness? I want to meet them. I want to know what their damage is. I actually feel stressed out after listening to this track. It evoked zero feeling, not one cell of my body vibrated with recognition of a shared experience or even with acknowledgement of an attempt to be entertained, because these songs are not about experiences or entertainment. They’re about ideas of experiences, fragmented enough and slowed down to seem poetic, and look! REAL instruments so you know its authentic! But really pay attention. This song is about fuck all.
MIST – ‘GAME CHANGER’
Young T & Bugsey have set this year’s precedent for UK rap and grime – if it doesn’t bang as hard as ‘Greenlight’ I’m really not trying to listen to it. ‘Game Changer’ has the lyric “hot like Nelly” which is to be applauded, but nothing else is hooking me.
M.O, LOTTO BOYZ & MR. EAZI – ‘BAD VIBE’
Girlband M.O return with a new member, plus Lotto Boyz and Mr. Eazi for this afro-beat inspired pop tune, which Someone whatsapped to me earlier in the week saying “lol this is what the new Cheryl Cole music is gonna sound like isn’t it”. I think the chorus on this is super flat, so I won’t be spinning it again, but I could see a sneaky top 20 placement for this if the stars aligned. As for the Cheryl comment… yeah, this is 100% what her next single will sound like… Brace for impact.
JULIA MICHAELS – ‘HEAVEN’
Julia Michaels is still my enemy, and this track continues her malevolent trend of making music with as much movement as a stagnant pond, but in the spirit of being fair and diplomatic, her voice is much less marble-mouthed than usual on this Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack cut.
MIGOS – ‘WALK IT TALK IT’ ft. DRAKE
“Can I still enjoy Migos – and I do enjoy Migos – in 2018, what with their track record of being homophobic on record?” I wonder to myself as I scroll through the praise on my timeline for a woman caught out being racist not once, but twice, and whose fanbase sent racialised abuse including photos of lynched slaves to her black co-worker until she removed herself from Twitter. “Besides, I’m trying to reduce plastic waste by switching to drinking filtered water instead of bottled, so aren’t I being a good person in other ways? Can’t I continue to play Migos regardless?” Tough questions pre-8am on a Friday morning. This Drake feature is thankfully not remarkable enough to test me too hard, but Culture II has landed, and I will, at some point, want to see what it’s about. I guess, what I’m saying is, that I’m gonna feel less guilty than before we let someone call her bandmate “nigger” and get away with it to the tune of #1 singles and albums. But that’s still 100% more guilt than y’all will.
TOM MISCH – ‘WATER BABY’ ft. LOYLE CARNER ☑️
An extremely chill little duet, and maybe it’s lazy to say Sunday mornings about every song with this vibe, but it seeps Sunday morning through every note! Other times this jazzy smooth number would be good for: the first warm day of the year where the sun is hot but you need a jacket still and driving to visit someone you haven’t seen for months but you know when you see them it will be like you never had any time apart.