The Kanye West album listening party took place last night and obviously I am currently estranged from my father so I was not in attendance but… man, I’m just feeling all kinds of frustration about how this year has played out. Especially having listened to the Pusha T album all week with the beats on damn point, like, just why, ‘Ye? Why all this nonsense and fuckery? How did you get here? Part of me can understand wanting to be retaliatory and contrary. Imagine: your mother dies, you spin out, then you find love and have kids and manage to feel happy… and everyone shits on that from a great height, questions the validity of your family, saying you’re in the sunken place all the time, laughs when your best friend doesn’t attend your wedding… You may well start to ask yourself exactly what the fuck you owe these people who don’t even treat you like a human being, never mind the god you think you are. But is now the time for this? Is there not bigger, more important things at stake, bruh? Your kids have gotta grow up in this world, and now is the time to speak like you have always spoken, if not for everyone else, at least for your kids. The money won’t protect them. Their proximity to whiteness won’t protect them. How can you have forgotten that line “even if you in a Benz, you still a nxgga in a coupe”? Man, I don’t know… I’m just upset because the merch is in my signature 2018 colour and I can’t enjoy this new era in peace from my conscience. That’s what was on my mind this morning. Anyways! New music. It actually looks promising this week, you know. Lots of names I am interested in. Best bits will be on the 2018 playlist, which you should really follow if you don’t already. Oh yeah, and the podcast is coming back soon… More on that next week. Have a good weekend, lovely readers!
MAROON 5 – ‘GIRLS LIKE YOU’ ft. CARDI B ☑
I am an unapologetic Maroon 5 stan and always have been. They kinda lost me a little around the last era, the assorted jumble of songwriters and producers they tend to use nowadays is so baffling to me when their best work (first three albums) has always been so streamlined. Anyway, the cheap remake ‘Nice For What’ video does the song a disservice, because it’s actually great. A cool slurp of light funk for summer with a so-so verse from Cardi B and Adam Levine’s extremely distinct vocal just floating on top like ice cream on soda. Why haven’t Maroon 5 toured here in so long? I’d very much like to hear this performed live.
THE 1975 – ‘GIVE YOURSELF A TRY’ ☑
My favourite band in a very long time are back, so prepare for me to get completely intolerable. There are two albums coming over the next year, and if the quality maintains from last year, we’re in for some exceptional listening. ‘Give Yourself A Try’ is a mediation on getting older as the big 3-0 looms around the corner for Matty. After the lush, pastel cinematic sounds of I Like It When You Sleep…, the lead single from the new record is a noisy, scuzz-surf garage band vibe, with an almost angelic topline, sounding more DIY and lo-fi than they ever have outside of their b-sides (this reminds me a little of ‘Milk’, I guess). Not the masturbation anthem I was hoping for based on the title, but you know what, it’s so good I’m touching myself anyway.
GORILLAZ – ‘HUMILITY’ ft. GEORGE BENSON ☑
The legendary George Benson provides the sounds of this Gorillaz track, a cacophony of bright, breezy summer feelings betraying the maudlin subject matter of loneliness and isolation. We’re truly into summer jam season, this is the type of song I would listen to if I ever took up with a desire to ride a bike. The kind of song that makes me miss having long hair because it would be nice to feel the wind blow it back. It will sit very nicely next to that Friendly Fires single when I update my Summer Jams playlist for the year.
MNEK – ‘COLOUR’ ft. HAILEE STEINFELD ☑
MNEK’s usually powerful voice pares back for this sugary love song, featuring human scenery Hailee Steinfeld. A bold move in 20gayteen would have been to enlist a male collaborator for this duet, but a fucking smart one is to get a woman – 2015’s ‘Never Forget You’ was a top 5 for MNEK, and this should hopefully do the same business. Smooth verses, bubbling into an effervescent chorus, ‘Colour’ is much more immediate than ‘Tongue’ and if this isn’t a massive hit for MNEK, I don’t know what the fuck can possibly be done to get him over the line. STREAM THIS.
CHARLI XCX – ‘5 IN THE MORNING’
Charli threatened to release lots of music this year, which okay, but I don’t see why she can’t just give these tracks to people with pleasant vocals and a modicum of stage presence. I can’t settle how I feel about ‘5 In The Morning’, is it making me cringe or am I tapping my toe a lil? It sounds more like an album interlude than a single, I think. Like the part that takes you from the sparky uptempo beginning to the darker, more club ready second half. Which is fine. I guess. I think like most of the world, I just don’t care about Charli XCX, no matter how hard the music press try and make me.
J HUS – ‘DARK VADER’ ☑
Barely a year after he blessed us with his all killer, no filler debut Common Sense, my fave ugly boy J Hus is back with yet another track that absolutely slaps, just in time for me to hit NYC. An extension of his afrobeats influence, if not a full evolution, ‘Dark Vader’ from the new Big Spang EP feels looser and brighter, like it was made for street partying and not the club. All the horns have got me hearing carnival in this, and I’m gassed, I won’t lie.
LILY ALLEN – ‘LOST MY MIND’
Weirdly, coming straight off the back of ‘Dark Vader’, this sounds a lot like something J Hus could have rapped over, but of course it’s a completely different track in Lily’s hands. More focused than anything else we’ve heard so far from the latest Lily era, I finally feel like this is a single, something I can get on board with out of the context of the full album. Conveying both the vacant and the chaos of where your mind goes when you’re stuck on someone, there’s also a glimpse of the lyrical excellence Lily is capable of, which has been strangely missing from her recent releases. My brain snagged on “once or twice I’ve seen your soul, we weren’t always strangers” and now it can’t forget it.
JAMES ARTHUR – ‘YOU DESERVE BETTER’
I said to myself, as I skipped this.
FLYNN – ‘PEACE OF MIND’
There is a white male artist with the exact same “soul” voice releasing this exact same song every other week. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nowt much good about it either. Very open mic night.
BEN HOWARD – ‘THERE’S YOUR MAN’
There’s a brand new William Orbit produced All Saints track and Spotify reckon people will be more interested in hearing this ambient folk bollocks. Sick of it. This playlist really fell off a sheer fucking cliff three tracks back, huh.