first of all, thank you to everybody who liked and followed my facebook page and to anyone who signed up to my newsletter. i know this is just a little blog where i post my usually inane thoughts about songs that i more often than not only listen to one time, but it means a lot, so much so that i might actually get this post out on at the fabled five to five on friday timeslot. honestly, i don’t even mind that much if you read my reviews, i just want to do my little part in getting people to listen to music they might have missed or wouldn’t find themselves and support artists because it’s them out there doing the real work.
i’m also writing this after having written all my reviews which is a rarity, especially since there are 31 songs on this week’s music menu. from the most recent triple-post, i’ve not had a lot of time to relisten to much, but the ones that stick out so far are mostly from years & years, whose new album is as great as i was hoping/expecting, and dancing’s not a crime by panic! at the disco.
also, i’ve recently started listening to the popcast, a podcast hosted by pop music critic for the new york times jon carmanica about relevant things going on in the music industry + i highly recommend. But enough about all that, here is the music…
alessia cara – a little more
cara is one of my favourite pop artists, for someone so young (ok she’s 22, but that’s younger than me so it counts) she’s written/sung some of the coolest pop songs of the past few years (here, seventeen, wild things + how far i’ll go from moana), so always excited to hear something new from her. a little more is all kinds of pretty. cara’s voice is so gentle and calming, the guitar is like a warm blanket on a rainy afternoon, and i feel so eased into my friday morning + am stoked for her new album.
amy shark – all loved up
shark is an aussie pop star, a niche which is criminally underappreciated by the rest of the world. i’ve heard a few of her songs before which didn’t really take, so i’m not sure if it’s because this is only the second song i’ve listened to today and all new things sound shiny and pretty, but i’d reckon that this is her best so far (which is good considering her album dropped today). it’s glittery, it’s formulaic in construction which works for me, it’s got some nice layered vocals and you can hear influences from other current pop acts (sigird, muna) in here. it does feel a little like taylor swift 1989 trickle-down, but as a big fan of that album i’m not mad about it.
ariana grande – god is a woman
…and her name is ariana grande. i’ll admit, this is a little out of my grande-comfort zone. i’m much more of an into you fan where this strays closer to the more r&b dangerous woman album tracks that i didn’t love, but there are definitely moments in the chorus that are just all about her vocal which is why i bought my ticket to this show. reckon this will be a grower, and that final chorus is great.
baaeur + aj tracey + jae stephens – 3am
really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this much but the rapping here is so rich in sound and i’m totally loving it. not crazy about the jae stephens part and i could do without those steel drums, so the latter half kinda loses it for me, but i will listen out for more from aj tracey.
benny blanco – eastside feat. (halsey & khalid)
i’m not always here for his music, but khalid has one of my personal favourite voices in music. it’s so rich and deep and it just sounds really authentic. i’m not also usually here for halsey, but her voice is a nice complement to his here. do i like this song? yes, it had a good sound to it made me pay attention. would i play it again? probably not.
brockhampton – 1999 wildfire
the self proclaimed (and fairly so) world’s greatest boyband were relentless in their output last year (three albums!!) and if you don’t know who they are i recommend this very good article for a bit of backstory, and also listening to boogie from their saturation iii album. i really need to find a place for this genre of music in my life, everytime i listen to it i’m struck by how wonderfully cohesive it sounds, there’s so much character to unpack and layers (which maybe makes it a little messy) but i never really find myself in the right state of mind to listen to it.
childish gambino – summertime magic/feels like summer
this is america was a nice marker for donald glover as someone who we should all be paying attention to (even if the sound have been was a little plagiarised…). i’m kinda torn here because some internal biased that really likes glover and wants him to do well is telling me that this has to be good and i just don’t understand it, but i just can’t really get into it? summertime magic feels underproduced and like it was written for bruno mars but didn’t quite make it past the demo stage. feels like summer is a bit more palatable, but again it’s kinda boring? someone please point me to the background reading and listening i need to do to get into this, because right now this is just not for me.
cliq – clap clap
this is the kinda rupaul-esque campy club music that i can get behind, clap clap is just so dumb and fun and lyrically substanceless, and quite neatly produced, and makes you want to dance in spite of yourself. expect this to play at 2am when you want to leave but realise you have one ore song left in you to batter out your feelings via dance.
dan owen – stay awake with me
oh crikey, here is the real dan owen. stay awake with me is a very moody piano ballad that i can kinda do without on this day and all days to come. don’t get me wrong, i like dan, his voice is real nice, but this sounds like the song that you’d hear deep down in the pits of emotional despair that makes you realise that all hope is absolutely gone and the sun will never rise again.
dusky grey – a little bit
if you’re looking for a big pile of self-loving we-think-we’re-exciting-and-different-but-are-absolutley-no-different-than-anyone-else-in-fact-we-are-much-much-worse wank, then go and read the spotify bio for dusky grey. i didn’t like this song, the female vocal is jarring every single note she sings and ruins any semblance of pleasure i could’ve gleaned here.
galantis + max – satisfied
bass guitar and a slick, jonas-brother-ish vocal that draws you in and leads you to a fun, funk filled chorus from the producer that brought you love on me. nice build in the chorus, not overlong that it becomes annoying, the musical equivalent of being on a thrill ride at a theme park.
the howl & the hum – don’t shoot the storm
this begins like an arctic monkeys song, has promising vocals, and is easily the worst song i’ve heard all day.
the hunna – babe, can i call?
an actual real life commercial rock band with a vocalist that doesn’t sound like he spent his teenage years swigging buckfast and getting in fights and thinking he was the absolute shit. the hunna have an album out today which i’ve just stuck on my ever growing, never shrinking playlist of albums i would listen to if i ever find the time and patience to listen to a whole album. babe, can i call you? is fodder, it’s not breathtakingly good but the sound is the beautiful kind of together that only really comes from a band who know eachother inside and out.
jacob banks – in the name of love
what a gorgeous voice. relentlessly husky and full of the genuine soul that so many artists reach for but fall miles short of. in the name of love isn’t the best song in the world, but it is vocally strong and creates a very intense, empowering listening experience, it’s very of it’s aloe blacc, jamie n commons genre, and i am excited about banks’ upcoming album.
joan – stop and stare
for fans of: the 1975. this isn’t my field of music at all, i get the sound and i like how it’s put together, but i’m all for songs that put me in a good mood rather than perpetuate my moodiness which i know listening to this would. still, flagging it up because i think joan are v talented, their look is kinda hilarious, and i’m sure there is a big potential fan base out there waiting for them.
kodaline – shed a tear
my forever feelings for kodaline are that they fall into that block of music that is well put together, works in a large music venue, taps into your emotions in a very simple way, but is for the most part wildly uninteresting (see also: snow patrol, x-ambassadors, westlife). i think the vocal here is really good, i think that i would thoroughly enjoy how much this soars if i were to see kodaline in a concert, much as i would any large anthemic encore song by any artist ever, but i will never listen to this.
leah nobel – coffee sunday nyt
perfect. i love this. it’s sounds like so many other songs i love right now (groceries by mallrat), and so having slightly different takes on that exact same simple, “little piece of paradise” song that this song and it’s genre mates claim to be is always welcome. it simple, repetitive hook that isn’t too annoying and i know will click around my head for days.
lily moore – i will never be
lily moore has a very strong voice, which i can attest to having seen her as a support act twice in under a week. she is somewhere between adele, duffy and amy winehouse in vocal ability, and in the right hands she’s going to go somewhere, but then the same could be said for so many other singers out there and nothing about i will never be is telling me that she’s on the right path to finding her way commercially. yeah, it’s well sung, but who cares when the song is boring? lyrics are blah, chorus is forgettable, very frustrating to hear for someone with potential.
the lumineers – scotland/for fra/visions of china
always here for new lumineers, so three songs feels like a gift, so i’m just going to sit back and soak it in. scotland i have actually heard before, it’s on the soundtrack i think for some period drama, but i think this is the first proper studio recording i’ve heard and has me feeling very patriotic. for fra is a target-exclusive bonus track from their cleopatra album, is a short and sweet instrumental track with some cheerful “yeeeeoohhs” in the background, is light, playful and would work as a bridge between songs. visions of china is a song for the walking dead and i can see why it didn’t make the cut for the album – not bad, just a bit blah.
SPIN – scotland
mø + diplo – sun in our eyes
i’m annoyed that i didn’t put nostalgia by mø on my h1 roundup, my eyes must have glazed over it when i was scanning through my playlists, so if you haven’t heard it go check it out. sun in our eyes is a little moody, a little breezy and a little fun. mø sounds great, i could see myself dancing to this a bit, i was hoping for a more interesting chorus but on the whole i’d listen to it again.
needtobreathe + johnnyswim – forever on your side
please listen to needtobreathe, they’re so so so great, they have a lot of really good songs and are in the top three best bands i’ve ever seen live. i get that forever on your side might not get you to stan them like i do since it’s a bit mumford on sons with the husky vocal and prominent inclusion of banjos, but i feel genuinely uplifted right now and you can’t take that away from me. get it round your ears.
sigrid – schedules
sigrid is at that point where she’s done enough to have made it and anything she puts out doesn’t need to be a ten out of ten off the bat for it to find some traction, which i think is probably a good thing for schedules. it’s fun and has a cute little hook to it, it’s probably her pop-iest track to date and where i’d probably have written this off as a miss before i’m fairly sure that repeat plays of this will only make it stronger.
tash sultana – harvest love
maybe you don’t think you have six minutes to spare to listen one single song, but please hear me out here because i’m not one to listen to six minute songs either and i need you to put this on. sultana is one of the coolest and most talented solo artists putting out music right now. her voice is incredible, her melodies are musical poetry, everything is so refined and cohesive and she’s like nothing else out there (that i’m listening to). the slow builds and the ripping vocals on harvest love will have you literally aching. i feel broken.
thelma plum – clumsy love
pretty aussie folk-indie dream pop. it’ll eventually go on that playlist i lie to myself that i will make.
twenty one pilots – jumpsuit/nico and the niners
i told myself, after coming around eventually to 21 pilots, that if i liked their new music then i’d consider getting tickets to see them at the hydro next year. wish i had something positive to feel about it right now but sorry, nico and the niners is nothing and jumpsuit is even less.
the vamps – cheap wine feat. kriss kross amsterdam/talk later
the vamps have made a confusing-to-anyone-who-isn’t-paying-them-attention move to release multiple versions of the same album? is it any wonder i’ve not playlisted anything from this campaign? anyway, the ‘day edition’ of their night & day album is out today and here is what nmf spit up. cheap wine is such a lazy concept and sound i won’t tolerate it from anyone, especially a band who are asking such high prices to see them in concert. talk later is like an offcut from and charlie puth’s deplorable debut album (his new one is better though just fyi). where are the wild hearts, somebody to yous and can we dances? if they’re on this new album, someone let me know because i won’t be listening to it.