I’m so tired lately that I fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Last night I fell asleep and I don’t even remember doing it. I had weird dreams about a boy I honestly wish would drop off the face of the earth so I would forget he existed and woke up feeling completely unrested and fractious and in my feelings, my favourite mood to listen to new music in!!!!!!!! No bonus round this week, because I looked down the playlist and couldn’t be arsed with any of them. I have that thing at the moment, where I scroll through an endless library of music and don’t fancy pressing play on any of it. All the choice in the world and I’m out here listening to the Backstreet Boys greatest hits again. Anyway, the last podcast episode before the hiatus finally went up at the beginning of the week and I really loved recording this one, so do give it a listen if you can! Hit the 2018 playlist for the best picks according to moi and scroll down just a lil for my thoughts on the top ten best new releases according to Spotify. Happy Friday!
RITA ORA – ‘GIRLS’ ft. CARDI B, BEBE REXHA & CHARLI XCX ☑
The fact that this track is topping the New Music Friday playlist this week, ahead of a new Arctic Monkeys single? New fucking world order, bitches. I couldn’t be more delighted. Rita fans have been waiting for ‘Girls’ since it debuted live and the line up featured Raye and MØ alongside Charli XCX. Has it been worth the year? Well… yes and no. Rita and Charli sort of meld into one voice, and Bebe is utterly forgettable, so only Cardi stands out (her verse is so fun). For a feather light, candy floss bop about kissing girls it’s perfectly acceptable, and in 20GAYTEEN this may be the only “representation” track to actually attain chart success – go figure. In terms of the Rita trajectory though, it feels like a massive mis-step? It’s not as cool as ‘Your Song’ or as brilliantly well-written and produced as ‘Anywhere’ and for the most part she cedes control of the song to a US rapper. It’s extremely summer ready though, and that may work in her favour. Not sure what to think about this one in the grand scheme of things.
ARCTIC MONKEYS – ‘FOUR OUT OF FIVE’
It’s been five years since AM, an album that is still as brilliantly listenable from start to finish now, as it was when it was first released. This Arctic Monkeys campaign has sort of passed me by, though as far as I know, there wasn’t much of a campaign as such – the whole album has dropped today, and this is the first taste. With all due respect… this is absolute fucking garbage. Turgid, rambling, tuneless… it clocks in at over five minutes! Over five minutes of this drivel! It sounds exactly like an old drunk who engages you in conversation and you don’t dare to extricate yourself from it because he might explode violently, so you just let him talk himself out to fade… When I tell you I can smell this song, I know you know what I mean. Five years for this? And this is the best cut from the record? I’m anxious.
YEARS & YEARS – ‘IF YOU’RE OVER ME’ ☑
The bloopy instrumental reminds me so much of ‘1 Night’ by Mura Masa & Charli XCX, which is an outstanding pop track, so I’m immediately inclined to liking this. A complete mood switch up from ‘Sanctify’, the white sand, piña colada vibe knocks against plaintive lyrics, and I love a sad song that sounds sugary sweet. This would sit very nicely alongside the Jack Antonoff & MØ cut from the Love, Simon soundtrack – they share that same false brightness. I have to say, as much as it doesn’t seem everyone else is on board, I was massively digging the moodier R&B vibe this album seemed to be setting up for and I hope this track is the anomaly rather than the other way around.
SKEPTA – ‘PURE WATER’ ☑
There is a quality of standard you come to expect with Skepta, and he is yet to fail on delivering. On ‘Pure Water’ the beat is understated and the rhymes are sharp. The most important thing you need to know about this track is that it references the “you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” line from the children’s story and it’s game over for your faves. Wavey.
MAISIE PETERS – ‘WORST OF YOU’
I had a little PTSD style flashback when this song started playing and had to do a quick google to figure out why I was so triggered. Turns out I’ve played a Maisie Peters song before. I did not enjoy it. This one is admittedly better than the one I heard previously, but not by much. It kinda sounds like a Sigrid demo – all these young dull pop girls tryna be Sigrid you know! we love an impactful queen – but like, with none of the production flourishes or brimming confidence in the performance that Sigrid has. Why does this chick keep getting pushed under my nose like this? I didn’t order this tofu, and I don’t want it. Send it back.
CHILDISH GAMBINO – ‘THIS IS AMERICA’ ☑
Donald Glover has previously stated that this next album, of which this is the first single, I assume, will be his final Childish Gambino project. If that is indeed the case, it looks like he’ll be retiring the persona in a blaze of glory. Much of ‘This Is America’ is contextualised by the video, of course, but musically too, it works if you know what you’re listening for. A lazy take on this track is how ‘This Is America’ does what Kanye thinks he’s doing, but as a broad sweeping statement it’s not far wrong. The observation on a country in decline is what makes this track relevant, but the moral wrestling of being a successful black person in that country is what makes it interesting. More surface level, that “don’t catch you slippin’ up” refrain is so fucking catchy, I’ve been singing it all week.
KARA MARNI – ‘LOVE JUST AIN’T ENOUGH’
Music trends are cyclical but do we really need this Jessie J / Eliza Doolittle hybrid ushering in another period of overly affected stage school performance style? This song is not a bad song, it’s got lots of elements I enjoy – a little bit gospel, strong percussion – but the vocal is the weak link. How you just gonna shout instead of like, I don’t know, find some richness and depth in your voice to offer? I had the abject misfortune of watching this girl open for Madison Beer a couple months ago, a deeply boring experience I’m not willing to repeat any time soon. If you’re heading to any of the Rita Ora shows over this month, do yourself a favour and stay in the bar until this is over.
BASTILLE – ‘QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT’
This is fine, I don’t mind it. Not arsed about hearing it again, mind. But not offended by it either. I always think I like Bastille, but I don’t actually, I like that VS. EP he did with loads of featured artists so whenever I hear new stuff I’m disappointed it doesn’t sound like ‘Bite Down’ or ‘Your Voice Is A Weapon’. Much prefer the more rhythmic pop side of him to this by-numbers festival rock.
SELENA GOMEZ – ‘BACK TO YOU’
Oh, this show is still a thing? Well, this is a song worthy of its source material. Now that Selena Gomez has given us ‘Bad Liar’ it’s actually insulting for her to continue to release these basic throwaways, when we know she’s capable of being so much more interesting.
CHASING ABBEY – ‘CHOICES’
This song isn’t good enough for me to listen again, but it’s just enough to get me intrigued as to who and what a Chasing Abbey is. As far as I can tell they’re a boyband, which in pre-BROCKHAMPTON years may have excited me, but having been spoiled by my beautiful diverse queer sons, these three capital “L” Lads need to be bringing something more to the table than this 2015 dance-pop sound.