I’m on a PLANE, bitches! I have one hour of complimentary wifi so I’m rattling through the New Music Friday today the same way I rattled through this entire week. I have had approximately 5 hours sleep in the past 48 hours (not counting the three I had from the second I sat my ass down on this flight to about an hour ago when I woke up and had missed breakfast). It was worth it to see Beyoncé and JAY Z in Manchester, but I’m pretty sure I could have given Katy Perry a miss… I have so many thoughts about the Witness Tour, and the Witness era, but I think the saddest thing is just feeling like I’ve massively outgrown someone who I was a very big fan of for a very long time. Anyway, no time for moping about that when I will be in NYC in approximately three hours! I couldn’t let y’all go a whole day without my opinions, so without further ado, follow the main 2018 playlist, and keep scrolling for the top ten new releases of the week as curated by Spotify. (Apologies if anything about that order has changed while I’ve been in the air, by the way.)
STEEL BANGLEZ – ‘YOUR LOVIN’ ft. MØ & YXNG BANE
I want Yxng Bane to [redacted] and [redacted] [redacted] on my [redacted] so I [redacted] then [redacted] [redacted] until [redacted], but let me not let thirst cloud my judgement of this song. It’s a fairly run of the mill, optimised for streaming track and although Bane and MØ’S vocals are surprisingly complimentary, this is no ‘Vroom’ on his part, nor ‘Nostalgia’ on hers. It might just be average enough to coast to the upper reaches of the chart though, and since I find both artists highly under rated, I’m happy for that to happen.
TROYE SIVAN – ‘DANCE TO THIS’ ft. ARIANA GRANDE ☑
A propulsive, romantic mid-tempo with Ariana Grande’s signature slur propping up Troye Sivan’s flimsier whisper. It’s got that 80s prom vibe that I can’t help but be a sucker for, and Ariana’s co-sign may be the push needed to tip Troye over the edge of bubbling under and right into the steaming mainstream vat. Another Troye release lacking the arms aloft dancefloor ready energy of My My My! but like ‘Bloom’, this feels more classic somehow.
RUDIMENTAL & MAJOR LAZER – ‘LET ME LIVE’ ft. ANNE-MARIE & MR EAZI
Justice for Anne-Marie! Always two steps forward, two steps back, it feels like her career, though consistent, has been treading water for a long while now. ‘Friends’ with Marshmello, with all its snap and sass, was a massive rush in the right direction, but this Rudimental feature is failing to ignite a spark for me. Even the presence of horns in the mix – usually a surefire way to my heart – has me shrugging. I think Rudimental are so so so tired but the public keep giving them hits so what do I know? If this is another #1 for the good sis Anne-Marie, I shan’t complain.
SIGALA – ‘FEELS LIKE HOME’ ft. FUZE ODG, SEAN PAUL & KENT JONES ☑
This is, for all intents and purposes, the backing track for the opening scene of a Disney movie, in which an adorable animated child rushes through their morning routine, or experiences an accelerated growth period to get them to the age they are required to be for the story to begin. Alternatively it is the closing scene of a Disney movie, in which the animated hero celebrates vanquishing the evil by partying on with all their family and anthropomorphised animal friends. It’s Disney as fuck, is what I’m getting at. And you know what? I’m not mad about it! How can you not enjoy something as good vibes as this. The horns got to me this time. Love it.
TOM ODELL – ‘IF YOU WANNA LOVE SOMEBODY’
Who even knew Tom Odell was a thing still? Not me! Is there time and space for him in 2018? It’s been 5 years or so since he released anything (to fairly muted reception) and precisely no one has missed him. We have George Ezra now. He’s much more effable. Still, this isn’t a horrible song at all. Not a song I personally myself would ever listen to, but not absolute torture to hear just now.
NICKI MINAJ – ‘BED’ ft. ARIANA GRANDE ☑
The only collaborative pairing worth giving a shit about, the Queen Of Rap and Yung Ariana are back together for this sultry seduction that’s about as subtle as ‘Side To Side’, but definitely with more of a gentle caress than a gait-switching pounding. Ariana is at her most light and breathy, floating on the beat. Nicki is precise and concise, as usual: “I’ma be a half an hour but I told him gimme five” is a lyric that resonates with me deeply in my chest. I reckon this might be too classic R&B to trouble the charts in a big way, but A Number One Is Coming for this pair next week anyway.
FOUR OF DIAMONDS – ‘NAME ON IT’ ft. BURNA BOY
Four Of Diamonds are an X Factor girlband absolutely no one was hoping would survive beyond the show, but here they are, Burna Boy in tow, with a song that sounds as if it could have been discarded from Little Mix’s album repack last year. There are allegedly four different voices here, though I’m only hearing one and a half (it might be the same girl just using her head voice). There’s five if we’re counting the Burna Boy feature, but he is inconsequential, why is he there? The best girl bands have debut singles that double as manifestos: Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, Pussycat Dolls – you can tell exactly what those bands are about just from hearing their very first release. What does ‘Name On It’ tell us about Four Of Diamonds? Sweet fuck all.
VILLAGERS – ‘A TRICK OF THE LIGHT’
Perhaps it’s because I am literally on a plane to NYC right now, but this song isn’t making me want to punt my laptop into a river the same way I usually do when these white, guitary nothing acts clog up the top of the playlist. Not for me, but you know, it’s kinda gentle and sweet and inoffensive. I guess I’m feeling generous. Also I skipped it a minute in. That probably helped too.
MARTIN GARRIX – ‘OCEAN’ ft. KHALID ☑
As usual, Khalid’s voice is the best part of this track – he really does just lift everything he lends his talents to. A little bit cinematic, but grey-tinged enough to exclude it from being a summer essential, this is another Khalid loosie establishing him as a name by pairing him up with others – in this instance the already fairly established hitmaker Martin Garrix. While ‘Ocean’ is a pleasant listen, however, Khalid’s ubiquity, once a gift, is now actually starting to grate a little. Where’s the next album, sir? Where is the follow up to American Teen, one of my favourite records of recent years? Give me an album!
CHIP – DARTH VADER
Chip uses his stature as a grime scene constant (and its self-professed saviour) to let off steam on everything from weak, samey MCs, ride or die girls, his own status and more crucially, the wave of knife crime washing across London right now. Not a song so much as an alleviation of pressure, a stream of consciousness designed to skim the top off a clearly overflowing cup of thoughts and frustrations. Every time Chip releases a track we have to ask if he has run out of bars yet, and the answer is still no.