hello and welcome to the close of what has been a beautiful week of weather which you can round out nicely with some music recommendations from me, your friendly neighbourhood music blogger. there are no big names that have me excited save maybe for the demi lovato feature spots that i’ll possibly hear when i see her next month. i’m finding it interesting that on the day of his album release, the man of the people james bay hasn’t got a song circling anywhere near the top ten of the new music friday playlist. i’m reserving judgment until i have time to hear his new album in full – i’m quietly hoping for two or three big hitters buried in the topman posterboy’s sophomore attempt because beneath it all i am just a kid who innately and ashamedly likes white-guy-with-guitar music.
re: last weeks double feature, the new bastille, grace carter and years & years track were my standouts but there’s a lot in there worth revisiting. i’ve left that playlist up for a bit longer so it’ll have some breathing room since i only got it out at the beginning of the week. also, there was a lot of good music from eurovision – netta’s toy was obviously a standout whether you liked it or not, fuego was undeniable once i’d spun it a few times and as much as i hate to admit it the czech republic entry was as heinous as the lyrics are lie to me is catchy as hell.
and that’s all i have to say in this preamble, before i get to it i’m going to walk the dog, make myself some breakfast and a coffee and then dig right in. here are the links to the spotify playlists for anyone wanting to listen along:
- the new music reviewed this week
- the new music reviewed last week
- all the music from all the weeks
- all the songs i told you are worth a spin
- the best songs of 2018
alex da kid – go feat. h.e.r. & rhapsody
alex da kid has been behind the scenes on a significant enough number of songs that i love or have loved so he’s always worthy of a listen. go is by no means revolutionary, it’s a very basic r&b track with silky vocals, a smooth hook and a slow and steady rap verse. you can tell the production is slick and well-handled but it’s not enough to make me want to play this again
anis don demina – wasted
once you get past the done-to-death “let’s get trashed” anthem, wasted kind of bangs. the thing about this sub genre of edm is that works is that there is always going to be a generation of 17 year olds grasping for that feel-good it’s time to party and live our best lives song, so whilst it’s very by the numbers, this take on it is gentle enough on my ears without too many overloud beats that i won’t immediately hit skip. take me back to a time when this felt fresh and i was still able to hold my liquor for more than fifteen minutes.
backstreet boys – don’t go breaking my heart
it’s 2018 and backstreet is back, alright? if you subtract their huge career and slide them alongside the kind of artists that are making this falsetto-y r&b dance music like charlie puth then they’re more than a few steps behind. if it weren’t for their huge credentials i doubt i’d have even put this on the playlist in the first place from just a clickthrough but the curiosity will always be there. there are some nice enough parts, but it feels very the wanted circa whenever it was that the wanted were still in existence and is it me or is that bridge is pretty much identical to t-swift’s delicate? i can see what they’re angling at but it’s a little too derivative.
betty who – taste
i like the clicks and the pops and the loop peddle sound it’s got going on, betty who’s vocal is rocky and sexy and there’s something good going on here, but my problem is that as good as this arguably is there are a lot of songs that sound very like this right and i don’t know how much longer i can keep hearing it and telling you that it’s good. whatever.
the black eyed peas – ring the alarm pt.2, pt.2, pt.3
the almost six minute time stamp on this three part song almost made me left it off the list but i’m actually glad i didn’t. the rapping on this is really smooth and it’s giving me that commercial strain of socio-political commentary rap that is so prevalent at the moment that i’m definitely here for which i’m putting in large part to this is america which after a couple of viewings i’d like to back peddle on and declare as fantastic. ring the alarm really is a song in three parts and i think that part three is probably the weakest from a casual-listener perspective but overall i’m surprisingly into it.
christina aguilera + demi lovato – fall in line
what is christina doing? asks my inner voice that expects every commercial artist to produce music that appeals to me absolutely a hundred per cent of the time. i’m here for this collaboration, i can practically taste a live duet sometime in the future where these two powerhouse vocalists can come together and show all these thinly voiced pop vocalists what god given talent they can only ever dream of is, especially at that key change on the three minute mark. a vocal masterclass, but for me it’s that kind of song which needs to rest on an actual memorable chorus which from a first listen i couldn’t pick out, and the way that i felt like it was building to something at the end before it just tapered out was disappointing.
christine and the queen – girlfriend feat. dam funk
i really wanted to get into christina and the queens first time around because tilted was such a good earworm and there’s something really satisfying about french lyrics but the songs just weren’t there and christine’s vocal is similar enough to those from muna who was delivering hit after hit around the same time so why would i need a pale shadow of that? this is kinda funky, i enjoyed a couple of moments in this like the “fu-fuck is you” lyric, but honestly this is the equivalent of elevator music to me. don’t get it.
clara mae + jake miller – better me better you
female and male pop songs by a couple of pedestrians need a good hook and a stand-out, never been done before chorus to work which this song lacks in both parts. i’m hoping this is just part of the back end of the avicii / julia michaels / kygo edm pop that’s been around since the early 2010s which by this point i’m zoning out to because i’ve heard it so many times. no harm to the vocalists, they’re actually pretty pleasant sounding but i’m just tired of this.
clean bandit – solo feat. demi lovato
i was very much hoping to like this but nope. doesn’t demi deserve a big chorus? at least kygo had the decency to capitalise on her strengths a little on no promises. i think that people are going to be losing their minds over the stuttering chorus here, it’s a frustratingly popular pop trend right now and i’m not trying to be overtly hateful of it because it has absolutely worked in some songs, i’m just saying that i’m sick of it. we also need some new lyricists in the writers room because a primary school child with a basic rhyming dictionary could have put this together. if they’d just put it in a less melancholy-tinged key then i could have gotten on board but it’s not the summer hit it had all the potential to be.
dan sultan – my kingdom feat a.b. original
eek at the very obvious white australian attempt at rap, very shouty and it sounds like me that time i jokingly recorded an eminem ft. kendrick lamar song for a friend’s mix cd which is absolutely not a compliment to sultan. pushing off that appropriation-based prejudice that i’ve latched on to for a sec i will say that this is very moody and full of authentic sounding rage vocal with a strong piano backing but nope i’m really struggling to take it seriously. guaranteed that in a month i’ll be all over this and booking flights to australia to see him in concert.
guvna b + rude kid – aight boom
when i grew this appreciation for fast rapping grime i’m not sure but aight boom is the explosive song that it proffers to be. to know if this is this actually good i think you’ll need to look at someone better versed in this chaotic genre, this could be a joke track for all i know, but as far as i’m concerned it goes off and i’d happily lose my sh*t to it.
james bay – in my head
if he didn’t have such a nice voice i’d be super opposed to the talk singing that bay does here but it absolutely works and i’m super pleased that there is finally a track that i’m so instantly on board with. it’s gospely, upbeat, authentic sounding and is drawing lots of elements from lots of different places that i like but cannot pin point and for the first time in this album campaign i am absolutely here for it. oh boy, this is the new song i’ll be playing on repeat i can already feel it.
SPIN SPIN SPIN
jennifer lopez, dj khaled + cardi b – dinero
shocked and disgusted this was shunted so far down the nmf playlist, why do spotify hate jennifer lopez? i’ve said it enough times that i was very, very over this latin pop explosion for the past year and i stand by that gun, but when a song goes off it goes off and you can’t shut that down. dinero bangs and bangs and bangs and has me shaking, cardi sounds excellent, jlo is killing it and that “me and benjamin franco” line will be reverberating around my skull for weeks.
the kooks – no pressure
this breed of beatles influenced indie-rock i’ve never been overly taken by, it’s very soundtrack-to-those-late-nineties-twee-feel-good-richard-curtis-and-hugh-grant-movies, so i know that i’ll never listen to this of my own volition outside of spinning it inside this music round up, but if this summer’s big british rom com hits the cinema with this serving the backing to the honeymoon period montage then i’ll bop my head along like everybody else.
leon else – my kind of love
there were a couple of cuts from the new 13 reasons why season 2 soundtrack on the list this week so i can definitely see this as the backing to some boy-was-wronged-by-girl-but-realised-he-loves-her-and-is-running-across-town-in-the-rain-to-show-up-at-her-door-and-sweep-her-off-her-feet moments at the close of an episode. the right amount of aesthetic, like it was written for tv, giving me some alex cameron/killers-esque feelings, the kind of song that i would pan if it had been provided by onerepublic or x-ambassadors but with a more unknown to me artist label i can get behind it.
lykke li – utopia
electronic melancholic dream pop with a country-ish vocal and the imaginings of one of those big echoey cresecendoing choruses that takes a few too many tries to deliver something that never quite arrives. come the bridge, any momentum that was building has crashed and fades to black leaving me cold.
one republic + logic – start again
the time when onerepublic had it is a long, long distant memory that is now reflected in their lack of a good chorus and a lazy rap feature.
pale waves – kiss
if you know anything about pale waves then you’ve pretty much heard this song already, and if you haven’t then think of it like a female led 1975: very dreamy synthy indie-rock. i think their album if it ever decides to materialise in full form will be a pretty well rounded experience, i could definitely see 14 year old me sitting in my bedroom with my headphones on blissing out even though that’s something 14 year old me never actually did. pretty but more of the same.
parquet courts – tenderness
tenderness is a fun little song, it’s very cheesy brit-rock and it’s giving me good vibes, it’s the kind of thing you’d expect your cool uncle’s band to come out with, the vocalists tone is very much someone who can’t sing but just wants to make music for the hell of it which, y’know, respect, but there’s something so basic and dated about the production and this just isn’t for me.
passenger – hell or high water
passenger is one of those artists that always does the same thing but it just seems to be consistently standing on the bar he’s set for himself. there’s no frills, no gimmick, it’s just smooth guy with guitar folk rock and his distinctive voice makes him stand out thanks to that one big hitter he had. i don’t think he’ll ever reach those commercial heights again and i know he won’t care. hell or high is a moody passenger style ballad for the fans of passenger that my mum, a big passenger fan, will probably love.
pharell williams + camilla cabello – sangria wine
this is just objectively bad.
sam hunt – downtown’s dead
hunt is and artist that treads the line between country and pop that i’m happy enough to get into for maybe one song per year but make me glad i don’t live in a country where country is celebrated so much. i’m sure this will appeal to the basic country fan, it ticks enough of the boxes, but i’m only really here for those feel good summer hits from the country music industry and this leans a little too far down the woe-is-me lane and i don’t listen to enough of the genre to find a place for it in my playlists.
shawn mendes – where were you in the morning?
every young male popstar is allowed their finding themselves experimental album after giving us two albums of quote unquote hits without us pushing them from grace and this is mendes’ time. where were you in the morning? is a quiet bop, it works on that sultry r&b justin timberlake strain of music that i can get into in the right mood, but as a standalone it’s just a bit too forgettable.
steve aoki – pretender feat. lil yachty & ajr
i don’t have enough energy to explain why this is something that has been done to death. listen to this and tell me you haven’t heard it before.
tcts + parcs – bang!
does a song titled bang and goes on for close to five minutes actually bang? well, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall if that counts.
tom grennan – barbed wire
there’s something undenialbly charming about a song that just oozes happiness. i know that there a are strings and strings of husky male vocalists trying to serve you commercial pop rock but it’s rare that someone gives you something that actually sticks and barbed wire does the job it proffers and catches you when you least expect it. a perfect summery feel good sing along clap along hit that i wouldn’t be surprised to see doing well in the charts.