What is Monday but a state of mind in this constrictive construct we call time? (Sorry I’m late).
So it’s the beginning of March and I’ve already wrecked my Spotify year in review list by listening to the new Jonas Brothers song 76 times over the weekend. I put it on loop and it kept rolling into itself so well and I couldn’t stop it, so even though in a month’s time I’ll probably be physically unable to listen to it, it’s almost guaranteed to place in my top 5 most listened to songs of the year even though still don’t know 70 per cent of the lyrics, which feels ludicrous. (My little review of to come below.)
Aside from that, I just finished watching season four of Schitt’s Creek (excellent) and so for the better part of last week I listened to a playlist that consisted solely of two songs: Tina Turner’s simply the best and Noah Reid’s cover of Tina Turner’s simply the best as featured in the show. I am truly living for David and Patrick’s relationship and I died when I heard Annie Murphy’s A Little Bit Alexis which features below. Such a good show.
Also, I’ve been thinking about albums a lot recently, and why I never get around to listening to the 25 or so that are on my ‘to listen to’ list. I use to love finding those non-single cuts from records to fill out my playlists, but of late even though I try and put time aside to listen to a full EP, I’m finding it hard to create the right environment and focus on one artist for an elongated period of time, so I can’t tell if tracks that come at the end of an album are good or not. Is there a good way to listen to an album? Are there bad ways to do it? If you have any suggestions, let me know (via twitter @iainhoey).
OK, I’ll shush now and give you my music recommendations for the week below!
2 Chainz – Rule The World (feat. Ariana Grande)
I thought I was beyond saturation in this truly testing Ari-geddon, but here she is again with a sweet little feature spot on a 2 Chainz track. This was the first new song I spun this week and her silky smooth hook hit me so right I lost myself dancing, much to the confusion of my dog whom I was walking at the time.
Alexander Stewart – Backwards
It must be hard to really break out as a young male pop act. Sure, these well trained pretty boys with pretty voices who have been fed sticky little hooks will undoubtedly have their dedicated instagram legions and devout fan accounts, but it must be frustrating to put out such easily marketable music and never have it deliver a decent chart placement. Backwards could easily be an offcut from Shawn Mendes’ debut album, their voices even sound similar, it doesn’t sound brand new or even original but I’m not in a hurry to skip it.
Alphabeat – Shadows
I have listened to this song approximately ten times in a row and I have felt nothing but pure unadulterated joy because of it. A truly euphoric, dance-inspiring return to music after a six year hiatus.
Annie Murphy- A Little Bit Alexis (From Schitt’s Creek)
Right in this exact moment I honestly wholeheartedly believe this is the song of the year. It is pure pop perfection. It’s Britney Spears meets Paris Hilton meets Drag Queen comedy pop. Expert levels of hilarious as well as being really fucking catchy?Genius. I can’t tell how much of this because of how much I adore Annie Murphy as Alexis on Schitt’s Creek because it reads as a perfect amalgamation of her character and the premise of the show as a whole, which I love. Every time it spins I hear a new immediately iconic lyric, from the gasp inducing “I’m a little bit single/even when I’m not” and “I’m a little bit tipsy/when i drive my car”, to the charmingly stupid and unrhythmic “I’m a cute huge Yacht” and “Everybody’s got a horse [neigh]”, to the gag worthy “Ew David” at the drop, to the final “Broom Broom Bitches.” I live.
SPIN SPIN SPIN
Carly Rae Jepson – Now That I Found You
Somehow Jepson placed herself as one of this decade’s pop stalwarts. She could well have crashed after the great-but-silly Call Me Maybe but instead she has been bringing perfectly formed pop magic for the past few years. I know I’m not up there with the diehard Carly-stans but I like to think I can recognise a well-realised song when I hear it and whilst it’s not my favourite of hers, Now That I Found You is energetic, dancy, and has me excited for what’s to come next.
Emily Burns – Too Cool
I will not stop championing Emily Burns until she has been recognised for the talent that she is. Too Cool is yet another example of how well she knows her way around a pop hook. It’s lyrically unchallenging without seemingly overly predictable and the guitar strumming keeps the verses cool before switching it up perfectly into synthy, incredibly-danceable pop-friendly chorus. It’s easy to imagine this in the hands of a boyband like The Vamps or 5SOS and being a low level hit, but I know that once again this is going to go criminally underlooked, but maybe at least you [yes, you!] will listen to it. Please.
Highlands Worship – Expression
I’m going a little out of my usual reach here with some Christian music. Being, like most of you, religiously indifferent, it’s easy to ignore the worship-inspired musical subsection and dismiss it purely because it’s hallelujah-praise-the-lord subject matter, but there is actually a wealth of very listenable and indeed enjoyable bops being shovelled out under the guide of deity-worshipping. Expression, to me, sound like it could come from any indie-synth-pop bands. It’s pacey, energetic, passionate, and undeniably anthemic. If you gave this to someone like CHVRCHES or Paramore and altered some of the lyrics would you blink? Couldn’t you imagine being in a high energy crowd getting your sweat on to this? I definitely could.
Hozier – To Noise Making (Sing)
Flying the flag this week in the “I have a new album but you probably won’t get around listening to it any time soon” parade is Hozier, who’s sophomore EP Wasteland, Baby! dropped on Friday, with this serving as the final cut. I like the long-haired Irishman, he’s a talent, he’s world-conscious, he’s hot in a grungy kind way, but I’m struggling to find much enthusiasm for his new album. To Make Noise (Sing) is politely cheerful, and the opening line “Remember when you’d to sing/just for the fuck of it” is delivered in with such a smooth delighted inflection that draws you in for the three minute and twenty six second ride, but is probably the peak of the track. This is good, it’s not play-on-repeat-for-hours-and-make-you-want-to-devour-his-album good, but it’s definitely worth a cursory play if you’re a casual fan.
Jonas Brothers – Sucker
As I mentioned above, I listened to this song near eighty times since it’s release on Friday just passed. I’ve never had a particularly large affinity with the brothers Jonas but something about the video, featuring all three of their real-life partners, really warmed me in the right way and suddenly it was 1.30am on Tuesday morning and I’d listened to almost nothing else for days. It’s so simplistic and the lyrics are faux-deep: “You’re the medicine and the pain/the tattoo inside my brain” and I am absolutely, unashamedly here for it.
Josh Gray – Without You
[see my thoughts on Alexander Stewart re: young male popstars]. I can easily see this fitting into the ‘glide’ section of my running playlist which is an automatic thumbs up from me. There was a little bit of rasp to his vocal that kicked in in the second verse I wasn’t expecting which is what really sold me. The kind of song that with repeat plays feels really strong and well realised.
Sigrid – Sight of You
I love Sigrid. I love strings. I love this. It’s not the punchy-pop-hook stuff she’s as well recognised for, but if you’ve ever seen her in interview you can tell this is really authentically her. A cute, cheering song that is inescapably warming.
Thomas Rhett – Look What God Gave Her
And finall, some bro-country/pop to round out this week. A sickeningly lovely, cheesy as hell, cliché-laden, summer-inducing bliss-out track.