This may be my passion project, but I can take Bank Holidays off too, right? Which brings us back with two whole weeks of new music, some of which you’ve probably heard by now, and some of which you probable haven’t.
A little housekeeping-y things just because I’m planning to push this post a little more than usual: if you haven’t already, please sign up to my mailing list. It’s essentially just a short paragraph and a link to this weekly blog, but since I only have eight subscribees, half of which are my direct family, it would be nice to push that number up a little to make it feel worthwhile. Click >HERE< to sign up. And I mean whilst I’m being that guy, follow me on Twitter (click here) and Facebook (now click here) too I guess! And if you’re just coming to my blog for the first time, then check out the about section for a bit of context!
I had a lot of cutting down to do, I think last week was the biggest week for potentially-great new music there’s been this year so I’m sure there are a ton of great songs I’ve missed out, but here are the ones I managed to get my ears around. Happy listening!
AJR – Don’t Throw Out My Legos
Somehow AJR went from being a band with a song that I next-to-loathed to bringing out songs that I can’t get enough of, case and point: Don’t Throw Out My Legos. Lyrically it’s the kind of thing I would’ve rolled my eyes at, but I think I finally get them – it’s like if The McElroy Brothers were an indie electro-pop band writing ‘woke’ satire music (yes that sounds terrible but try this out I swear). There’s a slow synthy anthemia to it that that builds into something really exciting, and is almost enticing me to part with £20 to go and see them later this year. Oh, and this is the last cut from their new album which is also out and you should check out if you like this.
Aly &Aj – Don’t Go Changing
In one word: Glorious. In two words: SadPop Perfection. In three words: I love them. In four words: Listen to this song.
Ben Pearce – Fireproof (feat.Tayla)
A really nice build, but when the chorus comes in and that bass hits I was floored. I felt that in the core of my bones. Can’t get my headphones loud enough.
Better Oblivion Community Centre – Little Trouble
I can’t not here Shang a Lang by the Bay City Rollers when I listen to this song, which might be the reason that this is catchy as hell for me, and if their last single, Dylan Thomas is anything to go by, I’ll be singing this little slice of jaunty indie rock for months. The lyrics capture that idyllic, romanticised dusty-small-town-america shit-broke-but-happy feeling (“For lazy tarot readings on hot June nights/Right next to that bodega’s a neon sign/They’ll tell you you were famous in some past life/But now you’re just a Regular Joe whose cover is blown”) that has me feeling optimistic about the luck of my draw.
Beyoncé – Before I Left Go – Homecoming
I’ve not carved out two hours to fully immerse myself in Homecoming on Netflix, but it speaks so much of Beyoncé that even without that it’s impossible not to hear how good this song is (even after that hideous out-of-tune crowd singing in the opening bars). The growl in her voice has never been so pronounced, and even though there’s not a distinctive chorus to speak of there are so many little moments (my current favourite being when she sings “I would never, never, never, never, never, never, never/Never let you go, before I go”) that she delivers in a way you know only she can. A living legend who keeps going above and beyond.
Billy Raffoul – Running Wild
After a short period of consideration I have come to the firm conclusion that I fancy everything about the husky-voiced, acoustic-guitar-wielding long-haired troubadour that is Billy Raffoul. The whispered vocal here is just gorgeous, the way he weaves his words is like a blanket and I am swooning.
Don Diablo + Jessie J – Brave
Bang bang back into the room: Jessie J. Were you aware she released four concept EP’s last year? Me either. I’m hoping this is the beginning of a renaissance for her because say what you will, the girl can sing, and she sounds really damn good here. Exactly the kind of faux-deep dance anthemia with a satisfying drop and uplifting crescendo that every summer piss-up holiday craves.
Emily Vaughn – Jealous
There are a lot of adequately-nice synth-pop songs about exes and jealousy, but the “It’s really not your/it’s really not your right” bridge really elevates this from being quietly catchy to musically inspired, I only wish it came sooner into the song.
FKA Twigs – Cellophane
This is way slower than anything I’d usually listen to, but after reading about the video – Twigs had a vision for it and spent a year learning to pole dance just to bring it to life – I feel like credit where it’s due because it’s absolutely stunning and you should definitely watch. Phenomenal vocals, phenomenal performance. And if that hadn’t sold me on it, then this Simpsons Hit and Run clip set to it definitely would have.
Florence + the Machine – Jenny of Oldstones (Game of Thrones)
It’s not quite the acapella version by the suddenly-most-handsome character on Game of Thrones, Podrick Payne AKA Daniel Portman, but it will do. Haunting.
James TW – Incredible
All I wrote down for this track when I was listening through these songs and making notes about how to describe them, all I put down here was ‘Ed Sheeran’. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine the world’s most famous ginger crooning this out to a stadium, would it? An excellent by-the-numbers pop ballad.
KELLA – Wanna Be Bad
There are a few little moments in this song you could potentially pick out that mark it out as more than just pop-fodder, but the one that really carries it for me is the “you’re the naughty to my nice/you’re the devil in disguise/I see danger when I look at you” melody in the pre-pre-chorus(?) that I want to listen to over and over, which I fully intend on doing.
LANY + Julia Michaels – okay
After this song I am definitely anything but okay. From the second they vocals came in I knew this song would end me – how can the basic sound of a voices cripple my emotions so much? A crime! Sweet sweet gorgeous sad-pop misery from two of the industry’s most effective empathy-inspiring heartbroken artists.
SPIN until death becomes you
Lil Dicky – Earth
I knew absolutely nothing of Lil Dicky, I just heard the first ten seconds and was like “this is nice I’ll playlist it to listen to for the blog” and then when I actually listened to it I was shaken by just how many guest vocalists there were, but more so their lyrics?? I don’t know which line is most haunting: Justin Bieber’s “Hi, I’m a baboon/I’m like a man, just less advanced and my anus is huge”, Halsey’s “I’m a common fungus”, or Shawn Mendes’ “We’re just some rhinos, horny as heck”, but 15 plays later I can tell you it works. A dumb but fun song released for Earth day. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure found rotting.
Lizzo – Jerome
I could talk about every single song on the new Lizzo album. It’s honestly perfect from start to finish: it starts at 100mph and doesn’t let up for a single second. You know how even albums you love usually have the one song you’re a bit so-so about? Not this. Cuz I Love You is Pop, it’s Rock, it’s R&B, soul and hip hop curated to perfection and all rolled up into a 33 minute package. The pre-release singles (Juice, Cuz I Love You But and Tempo) I’ve talked about already and as much as I would love to give you the blow by blow on every single song, I’ve run out of time. So for brevity’s sake, I’ll just talk about immediate standout: Jerome. It picks you up with a simple melody, the doo-wop kind that you know you’re about to be given some absolutely killer vocals, and Lizzo does not let you down. She sounds the best she ever has. The lyrics are sheer power: “Jerome, Jerome/Go on, take your ass home/And come back when you’re grown”, “I’m tryna be patient, and patience takes practice/The fact is I’m leaving, so just let me have this,” It’s heartbreaking, empowering and Lizzo’s delivery is masterful. Listen to Jerome. Listen to Cuz I Love You. Listen to Lizzo. This is life changing.
Martin Garrix – Summer Days (feat. Macklemore & Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy)
Looks like someone read my iTunes most played songs from 2014 wrote a song just for me! Garrix has obviously been listening to JUNGLE because I could’ve sworn they were behind the funk-filled backing track. I’m still deciding if Macklemore and Patrick Stump work well together, it’s kind of like school friends meeting uni pals. Either way, it’s very danceable and definitely worth a listen.
PRETTYMUCH – Phases
A sad boyband pop song that I can put in the maybe pile whilst I continue the search for the spiritual successors to One Direction.
Ryan Mack – Want Me Back
The chorus is perfect for the oblivion stretch in my running mix so that’s a thumbs up from me. This slaps.
Sandro Cavazza – Enemy
It’s not difficult to tell that Cavazza has cut his teeth doing EDM features. Enemy is a little bit Avicii, a little bit Westlife-in-2019, a little bit generic lyrically, and a lot delivered by a killer vocalist.
Taylor Swift – ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)
I feel like she’s had so many different iterations of herself and gathered different fans along route that it’s never going to please everyone, but I for one am here for this. Brendan Urie is such a perfect choice for a collaboration – I’ve now made a playlist called Taylor! at the Disco which is pretty much the band’s most recent album + my favourite Taylor Swift songs which on shuffle just sounds so right when put together. Inspired. I’m not looking too deeply into it all because all I really care about is do I like it, and the answer is yes. The one thing I will say to anyone being critical – you have to remember that Swift is a stadium performer now (something she does incredibly well) and every lead single is probably going to play to that, and I reckon ME! paired with confetti cannons and a huge stage production would be a concert highlight.