Merry Q2 to you and yours! Spring has sprung, and with it, an abundance of new tracks from heavy hitters and newcomers alike. March ended on a reasonable high last week – I counted down my ten best tracks from that month here – and What’s Poppin’ is up to date! There are three new episodes since the last one went live so please do check those out if you’re in the business of supporting ya gurl. There are new albums galore too including debuts from my new favourite band The Aces, queen Kali Uchis, and the formidable Cardi B. Catch up with any good new additions to the main playlist here and chuck your recommendations for the podcast here before 7pm as I’m doing a rare Friday recording with two of my old school pals since I’m back in Cov, on an evening that’s gonna strongly resemble THIS.
CALVIN HARRIS – ‘ONE KISS’ w/ DUA LIPA
I know this is going to be massive, so there’s no point in even having an opinion on it, but I can’t believe Calvin traded in Funk Wav Bounces for this shit. A little while ago I was feeling vexed on Calvin’s behalf – can you believe he has never won a BRIT award? – but after this craven pivot to generic bollocks I don’t think he deserves one.
JOHN LEGEND – ‘A GOOD NIGHT’ ft. BLOODPOP ☑
John Legend’s music is like, boring to me to be honest. If it wasn’t for his wife I would pay him zero mind. But this is a lot of fun! It has an easy groove, uplifting lyrics and a light-touch vocal performance and it sounds expensive, like… a night out I’ve never had but I’ve seen on TV, where everyone is dressed rich and formal and they’re drinking minimum £400 bottles of everything and the weather is that perfect no jacket warm but no sweating when you dance temperature, and everyone ends up back at someone’s fucking mansion, but no one vomits even though they’ve drunk hella, it’s just like… a nice drunk, a happy drunk, ‘A Good Night’ drunk. Nice work, John.
KYLIE MINOGUE – ‘A LIFETIME TO REPAIR’
The reverberations of the twangs from the never-ending Kylie hoedown will finally stop echoing today since the album drops and we can listen to it as a whole and collectively agree that this has been really weird. Not, of course, that there was ever any real comparison, but the sublime Kacey Musgraves record released last week really puts into perspective how cheap and hollow this entire project has been. ‘Dancing’ at least had a cheeky little double meaning to give it a hook, ‘A Lifetime To Repair’ is so banal I can barely put my mind to summoning up words for it. Interestingly, as I check the credits for this album, past the first four tracks it’s the usual line up of British writers and producers, so remember that next time the good sis goes hard on the Nashville authenticity element of the promo for this campaign. Can’t wait to forget this era ever happened.
FENNE LILY – ‘THE HAND YOU DEAL’
Why is this Fenne Lily track so far up the playlist when the last one didn’t even manage to whip up half a million plays? I’m sorry, I have to switch tracks, I just refuse to listen to this frosty lament past the first minute.
WILEY – ‘CERTIFIED’ ft. SHAKKA ☑
You see the names “Wiley” and “Shakka” credited to a song and you don’t wanna get your hopes up, right? How often have we been disappointed by people we had faith in recently? My wounds from the last Katy Perry album are still raw. Thankfully ‘Certified’ delivers in the form of a breezy summer chirpse banger. This song puts me in such a good mood, I might even politely take one of my earbuds out next time a wasteman bothers me on the bus.
TOM MISCH – ‘LOST IN PARIS’ ft. GOLDLINK
Tom Misch has lowkey worked his charms enough for me to be checking out the album later today. If I’m completely honest, every single one of these songs has sounded the same to me (same melody, same tempo, same feature, same brassy little moment) but it’s such a chill Sunday morning vibe it’s difficult to want to ask for more.
MULLALLY – ‘SWEET COFFEE’ ft. BASSETTE
Bassette has been on my radar for a few years now – her voice is absolutely insane, so gorgeous and textured, especially when you put it next to Mullally’s which is like… just fine. The song is absolutely nothing, it makes me cringe a little, in fact – very singer/songwriter desperately looking round the room for inspiration and settling on a half-drunk mug to draw easily the most put to work and dull metaphor from – but if it puts you all onto Bassette I’m not mad about it.
TOVE STYRKE – ‘ON THE LOW’
Am I tripping or did Tove Styrke put this song out already? Why is my memory so warped lately? I swear to god, 2017 did a number on me. The fabric of time is wrinkled for me! Anyway this is a cute little mid-tempo with all the Tove quirks that keep it interesting – bleeps and bloops and clocks ticking and the like. Truly, she has some of the most exciting production in pop right now. Doesn’t have the same smash-all-the-walls-down euphoria of the last two releases – very much a nice album track which in another, better life, would never have been released as a standalone – so I’m not gonna playlist it, but I like it all the same.
FRIENDLY FIRES – ‘LOVE LIKE WAVES’ ☑
Okay wow, it has been seven years since Pala! Admittedly, in that time I did not miss Friendly Fires, who I actually like quite a lot, but now that they’re back I’m really pleased! ‘Love Like Waves’ has a tropical tint, but Friendly Fires were peddling that vibe long before it became the sound du jour, so allow it. A lively return from an under rated band. Best song I’ve heard all morning, actually.
EO – ‘GERMAN’ ☑
I kinda want to hate this on principle, because everything about it, from concept to sound, is tired. But you know what? I can’t. It’s too much ear candy to deny. I can already tell I’m gonna be shuffling around my house mumbling “in a german… in a german…” for the rest of the day. Tracks like these, I know if I try to avoid them, I’ll reach a breaking point and end up snapping and overdosing (it happened with ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber) so it’s best for my health to just accept them into my life and consume in moderation. That chorus just goes, I can’t lie.