Oh man, I can’t wait for this week to be over. I’m in a stage of tired I haven’t been in for a very long time, where I get into bed to read or whatever and wake up the next morning having slept at a weird angle or with my clothes still on or whatever, so as well as being exhausted every part of my contorted body hurts. Tomorrow cannot come quickly enough! As for today, after a couple of lean weeks, there’s some big names back on the release schedule, so I’m looking forward to getting my ears around the Spotify New Music Friday first ten. Anything extra will be discussed in the podcast, the last episode of which discussed the Spice Girls in detail, if that’s your bag. Best bits from today here, anything else you think I should be listening to, follow this playlist and add to it. Smash your Fridays everyone!
JAMES BAY – ‘WILD LOVE’
James Bay is back, sans his stupid fucking hat, and with a brand new haircut. He’s… I mean, like he’s fit, isn’t he? Right? I have had a couple of weird crushes in the past couple weeks so I can’t tell if my taste is off or my palate is just maturing. (Or devolving). Anyway, sorry this is about music. What about this new direction then? Well, it’s fine, comparatively. His voice has never ever been appealing to me, so I’m not gonna listen to this again, plus, in the words of Ms Dynamite: “it takes more to amuse a girl like me” and the fact he’s chucked some synth on what is essentially a tuneless slur don’t impress me much (in the words of Shania Twain). How has he made “wild love” sound like your MCM who doesn’t ever go down has come round and declared he’s gonna leave the lights on this time? Do The Most Over The Least Twitter had already given this accolades it doesn’t deserve, but this miss has decided to miss out on ‘Wild Love’… in the bastardised words of Kelly Clarkson.
MARSHMELLO & ANNE-MARIE – ‘FRIENDS’ ☑️
When this song started I thought it was gonna be a bit cute and coy about being friends and then skip off down the predictable path of “wow! true love!” but oh no. Anne-Marie is at her best when she’s not fucking about – see also: ‘Alarm’, ‘Ciao Adios’ – and on ‘Friends’ she really gets into it with the wasteman she thought she had a good platonic, brotherly relationship with. “F-R-I-E-N-D-S that’s how you fucking spell friends” is a great lyric, and the steady build from the acoustic guitar verses to the smooth float of the chorus makes this song sound like a luxurious hit. Marshmello is very much That Bitch right now. Another 10/10 from him.
CALVIN HARRIS – ‘NUH READY NUH READY’ ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR ☑️
Calvin Harris has abandoned Funk Wav – in fairness he was either 4 years too late or 6 years too early on that sound having a renaissance, so I guess I understand, even though it’s the only decent album he ever released – and he’s back on his bullshit. That same old 90s house beat gets some horns added into the mix – I fucking love horns in pop music – and PARTYNEXTDOOR throws on his island accent to provide vocals. I like ‘Nuh Ready Nuh Ready’, but it’s not a patch on anything from Vol. 1.
KENDRICK LAMAR – ‘BLACK PANTHER’
The playlist just changed before my very eyes! This was literally added just after I started listening to the Calvin track, and I’m glad, because Kendrick goes in on this. A monologue from the perspective of T’Challa – aka Black Panther – I am just constantly in awe of Kendrick’s technical mastery of rap as a artform. So often does he deliver verses that give me whiplash from trying to keep up with the pace. Never a wasted syllable. What a genius. Anyway, not a bop, but I can’t wait to listen to the soundtrack later.
MIST – ‘WISH ME WELL’ ft. JESSIE WARE ☑️
Interpolating ‘Juicy’ by The Notorious B.I.G., ‘Wish Me Well’ is 50% Jessie Ware at her lightest and poppiest delivering the chorus and 50% MIST reminiscing on the journey from where he was to where he is. I’m bobbing my head to this, I can’t lie. The album this track is taken from was released today and this was the smartest cut to spotlight because I will 100% make time to listen to it now.
THE WOMBATS – ‘BLACK FLAMINGO’
Are fans of this type of music not bored of hearing the same song over and over again? I mean, yeah, pop can be homogeneous, but at least the players are different. Google “The Wombats”. How would you know you weren’t looking at The Pigeon Detectives or Walk The Moon or Circa Waves and so on? How would you be able to tell between them all on the radio? Whatever, I don’t have to think about these questions, since the only time I even consider that these bands exist is when Spotify inexplicably confront me with them week on week, to literally zero chart return. I already hated this song before I played it anyway. Flamingos are top 10 animals in the whole entire world for having stupid legs, stupid necks and being bright fucking PINK. Just an insult to sing about black ones, imo.
SAMMY PORTER – ‘WHAT WE STARTED (A BIT PATCHY)’ ft. JESSICA AGOMBAR
Not my vibe at all – though always here for anything sampling ‘Apache’ – but so glad to see Jessica Agombar (off of short-lived girlband Parade) up the top of the New Music playlist. Not much of a display of her impressive vocals, but she is a home talent, it would be nice for this to be her year.
AU/RA – ‘PANIC ROOM’
I guess this is what Lorde would be like without insight or pathos or Jack Antonoff production. Like… it’s fine. It’s okay. It’s not a bad song. It’s not a good song either, though. Maybe you’ll be into it more than me. I just feel like I’ve heard it better before.
JULIA MICHAELS – ‘ARE YOU’ ☑️
Okay, brace yourselves because… like this! I know, I know, will wonders never cease? The chorus is clunky, admittedly – the lyrics don’t fit and the melody loses its way – but it sounds a lot like ‘Bad Liar’ so it’s difficult to resist getting on board. Obviously it would be much better with a Selena Gomez vocal (even a Hailee Steinfeld vocal) but I’m not gonna rag on Julia Michaels today just because I think she is the architect of pop music’s inevitable downfall. Always credit where it’s due. I’m into this.