A New Music Friday of… songs we heard on Thursday? It’s all a bit peeping at your presents before Christmas, isn’t it? I’m usually good at holding fire until the morning, but when the whole timeline is talking beef, it’s hard to not get sucked in. Just wanna kick off by saying Drake dropped too late for last week’s New Music Friday and this week… well, he’s not new so he’s not featured now either, but I cannot stop listening to ‘Nice For What’. Flawless sampling of Lauryn Hill and a big mood hook. Just perfection. Can’t wait to be listening to it in NYC in two months time! As for this week, make sure you check out the latest episode of the podcast, I got two of my longest friends on and was reminded of a deeply lame thing I did as a 10-year-old. Pree the best tracks on the main 2018 playlist, send me ur best recs here and let’s all collectively pray for good weekend weather. Happy Friday!
ZAYN – ‘LET ME’ ☑
I cannot overstate how much I love this song. It sounds like a LANY or a joan cut, all romantic 80s instrumentation, but with Zayn’s R&B vocals and a light touch of slick production to kick it up a notch. Lyrically, the opening line is… kinda lame, but as the song progresses it becomes a confidently sweet serenade, almost a perfect first dance wedding song actually. Will beautiful anxious Zayn be more front and centre of his second album campaign? Here’s to hoping. He is such a promising artist, by far the most consistent of his male peers, ex-1D and unaffiliated alike. His live presence is the only thing between him and proper superstardom.
NICKI MINAJ – ‘BARBIE TINGZ’ ☑
It’s a shame that we’re not even 24-hours out of Nicki’s comeback and it’s saturated in drama already. I want her to be able to speak her truth, but honestly, Cardi dropped her album last week into a calm sea and I already feel like my enjoyment of ‘Barbie Tingz’ (and the less sticky, but nonetheless listenable ‘Chun-Li’) has been weighted down somewhat by all the “she said, he said, she said”. She would have been better off letting us be celebratory for a week or so before she went there is all I’m saying. Not everyday “what’s good?” sis. Anyways, the track… Okay so look, it’s just the real that Nicki can spit. You can clown all you want about ‘Monster’ being her peak or whatever but just because she was on some 11/10 shit that day doesn’t mean we can act like she ever really dropped below a 7 or an 8 in the eight years (!) hence. ‘Barbie Tingz’ is a relentless cavalcade of Nicki braggadocio, some airing out of grievances, a G’dup start to the campaign. It kinda reminds me of the way Stormzy opened up Gang Signs & Prayer with ‘First Things First’… Anyways, will I be banging this all the way back to London this afternoon? Yes. And will I be alternating it with Invasion Of Privacy spins? Yes, indeed. Why be spoiled for choice when you can have it all?
BEBE REXHA – ‘FERRARI’
Really just cannot articulate strongly enough how much I dislike this local twitter figurehead. Horrible voice, cheap songs, “don’t be bitter, glitter” level basic bitch lyrics. Like honestly the chorus to this song ends on the line “living in the fastlane is getting kinda lonely”. And then all the shouting! I’m tired, it’s too early. And what is her lane? This is some shoot-for-stadium-rock-and-if-we-only-make-it-to-Lucy-from-HR-on-a-team-building-karaoke-night-that’s-fine-i-guess lowest common denominator blare. It sounds nothing like anything else I’ve had the misfortune of hearing from her so… what? What artist is she? The only thing consistent about her is that one-woman hen night in Butlins vibe she has. Her continued relevance is personally offensive.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – ‘SKY FULL OF SONG’ ☑
Who knew Florence was getting ready to comeback? Certainly not me! I don’t check for her though, so maybe this has been on the cards for a long time. I was tricked into thinking I was a fan on the last campaign because ‘What Kind Of Man’ was so undeniable, but I ended up listening to the album once and never again, so even though I’m feeling this sweeping, mellow ballad, I’m loathe to get too excited about what’s to come. Apparently ‘Sky Full Of Song’ is just a one-off for Record Store Day (is that what we’re calling “buzz” tracks now?) but it’s very pleasant, so I’m leaning towards playing it again and letting it grow.
SIGRID – ‘HIGH FIVE’ ☑
This is more like it, sis! I mean… almost, anyway. Not even close to being as good as anything that dropped so far, but ‘High Five’ is more like what I’ve come to expect from Sigrid – a propulsive takedown of someone or some idea that she’s not here for, with a big, hands-aloft chorus. There’s a weird piano bit towards the end that feels super out of place, and the “high five” metaphor feels flimsy but for the most part this is a perfectly acceptable, if a little sub-par effort from a breaking artist. I feel like at this point I’m looking for maybe a different emotion from Sigrid? Like, does she know any nice people? Tears-on-the-dancefloor pop is of course the best pop you can get, but even Robyn, chief purveyor of the genre and Sigrid’s closest peer stylistically, switches it up a bit. I don’t know… I’m being harsh because I know Sigrid is better than average. I just want her at ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and ‘Strangers’ level at all times.
GAVIN JAMES – ‘ALWAYS’
This is heavily not my thing – I do not like this vocal even a little bit – but in another life, if this was track 9 on an album by a boyband, I could see it being a creeping fave. The song is fine, but the voice is utterly heinous. So whiny! I can’t even finish it, I’m sorry.
JONES – ‘TENDER’
Sitting listening to this slightly jazzy R&B number I really like it. Jones has a really lovely melodic tone to her voice and ‘Tender’ is a perfectly inoffensive song about not knowing whether you’re in true love. The thing is I know I will add it to the playlist and then skip over it every single time it comes on shuffle. I know this about myself. I just don’t care about this type of “nice” music to invest in it long term. I think it’s a good track though, I wish her the best!
KING PRINCESS – ‘TALIA’ ☑
Mark Ronson signing King Princess dropped ‘1950’ and I gave it a cursory listen and felt like there wasn’t enough there for me to decide whether I was interested either way. I quite like this though. It kinda happens without you noticing, there’s no explosive moments or anything to really hook you in, but now that it’s finished I can still sing the chorus in my head and the melody has stuck. Still too early in the game to say if I’m gonna be checking for this project or not, but this is going on the playlist. The 20gayteen agenda won’t let up!
TYREEEEZY – ‘OH NAH’
Is that an interpolation of ‘Wifey’ by Next I can hear? I can’t be bothered to run it back and check, and I won’t ever listen to this again so I guess I’ll never know. Not horrible, but definitely not good enough to rise to the top of the vat full of songs exactly like this.
TAYLOR SWIFT – ‘SEPTEMBER’
As one of the most vocal perpetuators of the myth that artists don’t make money because of streaming platforms or their fans, rather than because their label takes the biggest slice of the pie, it’s interesting that Taylor Swift now seems to be fully embedded at Spotify. Perhaps the lacklustre chart success of the Reputation-era singles has her shook? Anyway, she’s gone from keeping all her music off the platform (until she could get a dig in at Katy Perry, of course) and calling Spotify out to rinse the most out of her Apple Music deal to releasing exclusive videos on the platform and butchering a funk classic as part of their “singles” initiative to curate “original” content. Okay, butchering is harsh. It’s a perfunctory, country-spun cover that suffers from being sterile, but it’s not completely hideous. Does it need to be this far up the New Music Friday playlist though? Instead of say, Janelle Monae’s excellent ‘PYNK’ or that new 5 Seconds Of Summer smash, or anything from the new Poor-Tinashe album, all of which are going to go criminally unnoticed? Absolutely not.