i was reading an article earlier about the importance of a headline when it comes to getting people to read an article, and i had a little moment of “nobody who i haven’t directly explained what this is to will be unlikely to engage in what i’m writing from title alone”. the name and concept for the friday 5 at 5 to 5 came from a number of different reasons. it initially took it from the the concept that i built this music review blog around in that i’d pick my five favourite sings released on new music friday and write a little blog about them so that anybody reading would know why i liked it, and also that it would be released at a consistent time every week, and be small and digestible, and overall positive about music because i didn’t want to be someone who was dragging the people chasing after their dreams. when i tried it the first couple of times the title quickly became satire.
when it comes to my passion projects, i’m awful at deadlines, so hitting that five to five on a friday mark hasn’t been easy (particularly because most of my fridays have been spent learning to drive). second, there are too many songs out every week, the music scene is brimming over with people trying to catch your ear so narrowing it down to five is practically impossible, and why should i ignore good music when it’s out there? i’m here to love everybody [that makes good music]. basically, when it comes to artistry i think that there should be no boundaries to time, you should never limit yourself and who cares if you hit a deadline if you’re making something great, right? so the name stays. i’m going to continue with my quiet self promotions and hope that the people come to the stadium i’m building.
per last week, the best songs were the 5sos track and the new janelle monae, the latter of which has got me excited for her newest track on the playlist this week pending the dirty computer album dropping next friday (27 april). this week, i’m of course most stoked about the new ariana grande track and in the spirit of giving it my undivided attention i’m breaking my little rule of listening to things in alphabetical order to remain a little impartial, it’s going to be played first and i’m going to watch the video for it to get the full effect because she is the headliner and lets not forget that.
post listening note: there were a string of non-noteworthy pop songs by unknowns in my listen through that i couldn’t think of anything to say about so took them out making this the shortest but most qualitative post yet.
and finally, before i get started, here are the links to the spotify playlists:
- the new music reviewed this week
- all the music from all the weeks
- all the songs i told you are worth a spin
- the best songs of 2018
ariana grande – no tears left to cry
absolutely immaculate. take note all female pop vocalists: when the production of a song is this careful and there’s not a single moment that feels out of place that is when you reach perfection and no tears left to cry is that song. for grande, it feels like a crowning moment after the events of past year and now that previously well respected but regularly overlooked pop princess is here to tell you that she is one of the greatest talents of the 21st century. ntltc is pop perfection. her vocal is glorious, the hook is the right level of hooky, and it takes every element of all of my favourite ariana grande songs and rolls them into an infallible little package. and that video. she has come a long way since playing cat valentine and i feel so happy to see her stepping into the sun. bravo.
alex & echoes – weeping ink
the sophmore single from the newly emerging dublin duo is serving a standout sound in an oversaturated edm music scene. it shouldn’t seem like praise but the vocal is distinguishable from it’s peers, the chorus really goes off and rather than touching on generic, it takes all the best elements of the genre and turns it into a soaring dance number. also loving the artwork.
alice – girls x boys
alice is a bold moniker to adopt given it’s pedestrian level of memorability, so there had better be some music attached to it. i don’t necessarily think that girls x boys quite launches her to the beyoncé-gag-madonna levels her spotify bio say she’s aiming for. it’s a nice enough track but in a week of ariana grande’s return to music the female pop artist bar is a little too high for me to care.
anne-marie – 2002
ed sheeran penned one of my favourite songs of last year (your song by rita ora) so whatever my bias tells me i’ll never ignore him. 2002 is clearly something he’s written: it’s guitar driven, it follows his vocal patterns and the only catch it that it’s anna marie singing it. i can almost hear it as a cousin of galway girl in terms of sound albeit i can stomach it a bit more, and lyrically it fits with everything i heard on divide. it’s a little cheesy, marie isn’t her usual gung ho self (which i’m a fan of because full blown marie grates a little) but i’m inclined towards it because it’s an easy listen and summer is here.
ben howard – towing the line
i don’t have anything to say about this other than it’s perfect ben howard. he’s just such a sweet sounding artist, right? not a bad word to say. it’s not groundbreaking and i won’t listen to it but i have a lot of time for his efforts.
blossoms – there’s a reason why (i never returned your calls)
i had pegged blossoms as a very hideous arctic monkey wannabe rock band that wasn’t for me, but this is far more matt healy than alex turner so colour me pleasantly surprised. i’m feeling very appreciative of bands at the moment and the obvious camradre that is involved rather than singers with backing bands being sold under the singer’s name, there’s just something so sweet about it. anyway, this is like a tepid 1975 song that is very 80s high school dance and i’d listen to if that was the mood i was trying to build, but such a rare occasion.
folly rae – sniper
sniper is giving me instant sigrid. the vocal inflections are so similar and the way the hook is put together i can’t help but assume that rae has been spinning a lot of our sound of 2018, with a touch of paper planes by m.i.a. which is a lovely combination in execution. i wouldn’t say it’s don’t kill my vibe or even strangers calibre, maybe more ep track, but i’m into it for sure.
jalen n’gonda – we fell out of love
soulful, old school and maybe one to watch for the future, we fell out of love isn’t the track that will propel him to my playlists but decent enough .
janelle monáe – i like that
“i like that/i don’t give a fuck i was the only one” is a good lyric and one that makes me applaud monáe as up until that point in the song i was very “i like it but i’ll leave this as filler for the album”. it’s reminder that music should first and foremost be for the person who is creating it which is something i overlook a lot in the face of terrible/unmemorable music. this is by no means bad, i’m not living for it like i have been with some of her recent efforts, but i’ll rest easy knowing that she won’t lose any sleep over me not being here for it.
james bay – pink lemonade (acoustic)
i shuddered most of the way through the studio version of pink lemonade but on the good faith of us and wild love (which both took a while to grow on me but definitely were worth the slow build) i’m hearing bay out on the acoustic version because him and his guitar are what he does best. i can’t help but feel that this album is a stepping stone for him realising what genre is his because i’m mostly getting high-school-indie-band from this track which is not where someone who will most likely sell out tours in decent sized venues he should be doing consistently better. acoustic is better than the original, but still not great.
johnny swim + drew holcomb & the neighbours – ring the bells
my release radar always tricks me into thinking songs came out today when really they’re from weeks ago, but when it’s good i’m not mad and i’m not going to overlook it on a technicality. ring the bells is an upbeat folksy number with husky vocals used in the best way possible that has got me bobbing my head on this glorious summers afternoon and will have me delving back into both artists in the near future.
leon bridges – beyond
soft and breezy r&b soul music that’ll put a little smile on your face. the kind of thing that you’d expect to hear on a lazy sunday morning playlist. a bit john legend. a bit cheesy. forgettable but ultimately nice.
liam payne + j balvin – familiar
i’m not a payne fan for whatever reason i can’t put into words. i’ve tried, i watched the video of him with puppies but until he personally tries to be my friend i’ll never soften to him. he’s had some undeniable hits inside and out of 1d, though, so it’s always worth a taste. familiar is and appropriate title because it’s basically every latin-pop despacito inspired track that assaulted us last year which is a good indication of how much payne’s finger is on the button. a half hearted swing and a huge miss. give us strip that down or get out of here.
a perfect circle – so long, and thanks for all the fish
i threw this in here as a wildcard because the artwork is very goth and the title is referential to the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and it wanted to break up my listening and it’s friday goddamn it i’m doing what i like. what we have here is something i would’ve expected to love during the emo phase i never had back in about 2004, which i don’t mean as a criticism because all in all this is a genuinely surprisingly good song in terms of orchestral/instrumental value. the lyrics are intelligent and apocalyptic, it’s giving me some subtle journey (as in the band) vibes and there’s just something that has endeared me to it. a pleasant surprise.
roo panes – my sweet refuge
i’ll never forgive roo panes for distracting me with his beautiful music enough that i went to see him perform in edinburgh, leaving my bike chained up at the train station and it being stolen never to be recovered. but i suppose that’s not *technically* his fault, so he’s still a low key fav. panes is very english sounding in a properly-spoken way, but his voice spreads like room temperature butter and there is no rasp or roughness to it. i’ll grant that all his songs sound pretty similar because they include very similar elements (guitar, strong backing band, and ethereal wispy vocal echoes) but it’s just so pretty. my sweet refuge isn’t the song i think that’d get you on the roo panes train (that would be indigo home) but a lovely song that i doubt i’ll listen to unless im spinning the album but i’d happily experience live, albeit if it means i have to walk to the train station.
sugarland + taylor swift – babe
an alright country song ruined by a breathy taylor swift feature/backup vocal.
the vamps – hair too long
and to round it out for the week, the 300th most played artist in the world as according to spotify. i’ve liked the vamps in the past, they give me good cheesy hooks which is what i need sometimes, and i don’t think too much about the fact that people are paying so much to hear they’re live vocals. always happy to entertain what they’re serving, this not their boppiest bop but i’ll be here waiting for the next one.