Greetings from my last day in NYC! Not sure what time it is at home, but here it’s a cute 9.30 am, and there’s 12 hours until my flight. I have eaten so much I look pregnant – not a joke, honestly that’s how I look right now – I’ve walked so much my calves burn and I’m coming back ready for home but equally ready to head back here at the drop of a hat. The trip has derailed my schedule somewhat – have I edited the latest podcast ep? No! Have I picked the best 10 tracks of the last month yet? No! Have i even updated the playlist with my fave picks? No! But it’s fine, I’ve got the whole weekend to get back on track. In the meantime, here’s this week’s new releases. Have a good Friday gang, see y’all on the weekend.
JAX JONES – ‘RING RING’ ft. MABEL & RICH THE KID
Jax Jones is probably my favourite of the “why is this producer moving like an artist” acts, Mabel is my second fave of the “light-skinned or mixed race girls signed to Polydor” and Rich The Kid is the least interesting “rapper endorsed by a great” (in this case it’s Kendrick Lemar with the co-sign). This song is only an average 3 and a half minutes long but it feels like it’s been going on forever and a day. Firstly, it’s 2018, who the fuck calls anyone anymore? But if I really wanted to listen to a track about this unrelatable feeling of never getting through, I’d turn to the infinitely more catchy and energetic ‘Answerphone’.
FOLLY RAE – ‘YOU DON’T LOVE ME’ ☑
A sneaky deception of a song! It starts off slow and eye-roll inducing like the “welcome to my kitchin” vine – and admittedly this girl has one of the most annoying vocal affectations I’ve heard in a long time – but then it builds up into a thumping chorus that I’m not entirely upset about. Is it second spot on the playlist good? Absolutely fucking not. But do I like it? Ehhh, I’d play it again.
YEARS & YEARS – ‘PALO SANTO’
The title track to the upcoming Years & Years album sets the scene for an It’s A Small World style ride through a toxic relationship, as flickers of flame illuminate bad, sad and sucio scenes through the gloom of the instrumental. This song – a piano based haunting, kept apace by a vocal on the verge of breaking into frantic at any second – wouldn’t be my choice for a single, but as an opener for a body of work, I can imagine it does the job nicely. PS. has anyone floated the theory that ‘Palo Santo’ is not so much a place, but in fact Olly’s mind?
DEMI LOVATO – ‘SOBER’ ☑
Demi wrestles with a relapse – after a six year bout of sobriety – on this vulnerable ballad in which she berates herself and apologises alternately. Demi is often at her best when she’s exposed to the point of rawness, as on 2011’s ‘Skyscraper’. This is a companion piece to the cracked defiance of ‘Skyscraper’, a more wise and resigned admittance, a pledge to work on the internal rather than a brace against external forces. The truth is that relapses are common, and Demi is an addict in a high-pressure, high-temptation environment. Her tour is due to end in a matter of weeks – let’s hope she gets that help she promised.
KAWALA – ‘MIGHTY RIVER’
Why does this sound like colonisers in a Disney movie teaching Native Americans a song about their own lifestyle as though they know better? Why is there a moment in this track where I can actually hear the singer swallow his own spit? Disgusting twee bollocks.
BEBE REXHA – ‘SELF CONTROL’
This chick has the ugliest voice I have ever heard, I’m sorry, she could release this generation’s ‘…Baby One More Time’ and I would not find a single good word to say about it, I can’t stand her!!!!!!! Bias aside thought, this song is shit, objectively.
YXNG BANE – ‘BOTH SIDES’ ☑
‘Both Sides’ meanders and never really bangs but Yxng Bae *heart eyes emoji* I’m gonna play this song because I’m a fan and not because it’s particularly great, and you know what, I am honest with y’all 99.9% of the time and you will allow me this.
CHEAT CODES X LITTLE MIX – ‘ONLY YOU’
Strategically, this track is a smart decision while Little Mix work on the next album. Artistically it’s… an extremely redundant copy/paste of ‘Anywhere’ by Rita Ora. It’s rare that girlbands do features, since there tends to be too many voices in the mix, but after their turn on the CNCO track didn’t dilute any of their presence, I had high hopes for this. The reality is, Cheat Codes are tired af, like, name one massive tune of theirs…? There isn’t one. They’ve done to Little Mix what they did to Demi, which is take distinct vocals with personality and process them until they sound generic af. Never mind.
ARIANA GRANDE – ‘THE LIGHT IS COMING’ ft. NICKI MINAJ
Did they… upload the wrong mix to Spotify? I don’t remember that irritating vocal sample in the background of the teaser clips? Like… it’s completely ruined??? What in the fuck is Pharrell playing at? Letting Ariana rewrite to the ‘Lemon’ beat is one thing, but this is outright sabotage. We all talked a big game about this song being the bop of the year, which just goes to show you should never judge a song by a snippet – a personal rule I enforced after I was tricked into thinking ‘The Loving Kind’ by Girls Aloud was amazing based on a 30 second teaser, and one I apparently forgot while I was busy getting hype for retweets and clout on the timeline. There is a great song in here, but it’s like someone picked it up and wiped their arse on it. Annoying.
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – ‘DANCING’S NOT A CRIME’ ☑
God I have loved everything off the Panic! album so far – it’s out today – and this track is no exception. A brassy, flamboyant burst of fun and joy – you can practically hear the way Brendon swagger prowls the stage on the verses – and I cannot wait to get the whole record in my ears. A great day for dramatic pop.