New Music Friday #63

As much as the self-imposed rule of listening to the first ten tracks of New Music Friday has been killing my vibe lately, this morning I’m glad for it, since there are, at a glance, TWENTY FOUR tracks I’m interested in hearing this week. I haven’t even done that desperate thing where I scroll my Release Radar yet – the NMF equivalent of opening the fridge, seeing nothing you want to eat, closing it and then immediately opening it again just to check. One for the books, kids! Of course, it could well be that all of these songs are shit, but you know what – we’ll find out in the podcast! For now, let’s get through these ten songs Spotify have decided are the best to highlight so I can tell them they’re wrong. Best picks on the 2018 playlist here, if you hear something you would like me to check out, add to this playlist and we’ll probs podcast it. By the way, can you feel spring in the air? Enjoy your Friday!

It feels kinda mad that Ella Eyre is not only still going in 2018, but that she’s the featured artist topping the NMF playlist for the week, but you know what – I always thought Ella was wasted potential, so I’d be happy for her to get a second go of it. In fairness to her, people have always generally been here for her as a featured artist – she’s had three collaborative top 10s, including a #1 which won a BRIT award – it’s just on her own that people don’t seem to be checking for her. Perhaps this new era will see Ella credit her production outfit on every release? It can’t hurt! Anyway, this song. ‘Answerphone’ is on the better end of the “generic dance single” spectrum, Yxng Bane has a smooth lil’ second verse, the chorus is super catchy and very easy to sing along to. I’ve played it twice and it’s embedded in my head already. I can see myself vibing to this in the sunshine between sets at Lovebox this year.

I am vehemently opposed to Jess Glynne, I think her voice is absolutely horrible, so this track drops a couple points based on her carrying the chorus. There are any number of artists this would have suited better – Mabel, Anne-Marie, Rita off the top of my head – please stop enforcing this chick. It kinda bangs regardless though – “you Cardi bad, but you got Ri-Ri swag”, catch me getting my life to this as it batters my ears through my headphones at full volume in the streets of London – and as much as I know I will be throwing every single track with this Nokia polyphonic ringtone dancehall vibe in the bin by October, it’s still fun and fresh enough right now for me to get down with it.

The third single from The Chainsmokers to hit the top reaches of the NMF playlist… to what avail? ‘Sick Boy’ peaked at #35, ‘You Owe Me’ scraped in at #97… Could it be that this mediocre production outfit has been propped up by the superior female talent carrying their tracks to the top of the charts this whole time? Maybe it’s the “poor wounded bro” act that no one is convinced by – one of these dudes got clocked cheating by his girlfriend at the beginning of the year, like, I’m sure they’re doing just fine. Or perhaps it’s the fact that whichever of them is doing the vocals can’t fucking sing for shit, and has an awful whiney tone to boot. It’s actually stressful to listen to this song, not even the least discerning emo kid could possibly find redeeming qualities in it. Leave that shit to Logic.

A basic bop by a basic Disney teen. The Jonas Blue name attachment will probably earn this track more attention than it deserves, but it sounds dated and the hook isn’t hooky enough to stick. Also odd to call it ‘Alien’ when it literally mentions the word “alien” one time, like… if I were to try recalling this song, there are zero touchpoints to make it easy to google? Forgettable, but fine.

A reminder that even top-end publications like Billboard (“lol”) do less research than lil’ ol’ me writing this from bed on a Friday morning. “Kygo has a brand new tune coming Friday, March 16. It’s called “Remind Me To Forget,” but he tagged Miguel in the photo, which seems to hint at a feature from the sultry singer. You can start fantasizing about what it may sound like, but you’ll have to wait for later in the week to find out.” Hints at a feature? Start fantasizing? This track was literally on the album Kygo released at the end of last year. This is why you can’t trust music news and reviews anymore, it’s bare minimum shit. Miguel’s gorgeous vocals are compressed to indistinguishable dimensions, but it’s actually a cute mid-tempo, torch song. I never ever say this, but I’d love to hear an acoustic/stripped back version.

Sigrid has had a proper big hit now, so we’re now into that territory where we hope it wasn’t a fluke… I’m not sure this would have been my choice for a follow up to something as chest-bursting massive as ‘Strangers’. It’s a bit music-box twee, though admittedly as it plays out, it does get under your skin. Eight tracks into an album and looking for a change of pace? I’d be all over this for its quirky production and the strength of Sigrid’s vocals. But as a fan anxious to see a new pop girl cement her place… I’m concerned.

Yxng Bane is up again and this isn’t as good as ‘Answerphone’, but in the opening 30 seconds he references Rita Ora, Beyoncé and ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin, so job’s a good ‘un, if you ask me. ‘Vroom’ has been out and about since last year, but this release proper primes it, like ‘Answerphone’, for being a proper summer jam. Stick around for the outro too, that guitar riff to close feels like a post-credits Marvel easter egg.

Once again, Charlie Puth has tricked me into enjoying him by making a song sound like something I already like – clock that ‘P.Y.T.’ echo from the intro dripping all the way through the track – but look… I’m trying not to be too mad about it, since I know from experience the more I try to resist it, the more I’m likely to break and play it 90x in a row. It happened before with ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber, it can happen again! Sure, he’s a Dr Luke apologist and liked a disparaging tweet about Kesha from a right-wing conspiracy theorist nut, but dear god, who isn’t trash these days? Look at his face, look at his haircut, of course he’s that kind of guy! Let’s focus on the positive: Kehlani sounds amazing on this – will 2018 be Kehlani’s year? – and the whole vibe is very Michael Jackson. Another “imagine if Justin Timberlake had come back with this” tune.

Echosmith? In the front end of the NMF playlist? What kind of miracle!?! ‘Over My Head’ isn’t as instant as ‘Goodbye’ which was one of last year’s best releases, but I can see the slightly icier production and chanty chorus hitting harder than ‘Goodbye’ which is sugary sweet until you listen carefully enough to hear the bite. I properly love Echosmith, I think they’ve got a knack for big, soaring pop songs, I would be very happy for them to take off.

Like a jigsaw puzzle with no reference photo, I am once again trying to filter through years of heard music to figure out what this track reminds me of. Does it sample something? There’s a touch of George Benson – ‘Give Me The Night’ in the melody maybe, and the vocals sound familiar… God, enough before it drives me mad! A change in direction from Snakehips, one of my favourite production duos, though they’ve been hit and miss since ‘Cruel’ with Zayn. This is amazing, smooth late 80s/early 90s R&B flavour, it makes me wish I lived in a country with a warm climate and also that I could drive a car, because this is pure topdown vibes. Obsessed.


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