I know, it’s Tuesday, but August was an unnaturally busy month and I only hit my last deadline for it this morning so here I am, late again, which I will at some point stop apologising for, but I hope that this soiree of new music recommendations will make up for it somewhat.
Coupla things before the new music: there were a lot of songs in last week’s roundup that are so damn good so I just want to reiterate that you should not hesitate to listen to the spooky new 5SOS track, Ben Platt’s unforgivably powerful RAIN, and OPTIMISTIC by X Ambassadors which I slagged a lil bit didn’t actaully deserve it because it’s got such a good, nostalgia-inducing sound. Also, the Iainsight’s August Chart is up, which I know you’ve all been dying to see, so go check that out.
Now, without additional adoing, here are the song that I just know you are going to love*
*if you don’t it’s not my fault and this won’t hold up in a court of law
Alphabeat – I Don’t Know What’s Cool Anymore
This song is so dorky and charming. It’s just quintissential Alphabeat really, a bouncy lil hook that isn’t super serious where you can really tell it’s a pop song by people in their thirties, and the song’s subject makes no attempt to disguise it. The lyrics are really choice and purposefully funny: “Look at the cool kids on their own trip/It’s like we’re salt and pepper, ooh/And all this new shit—might as well admit/I don’t really get it” and y’know I’m not usually down with the ‘don’t understand youth culture’ songs/discussions but the way this presented is so fun and it’s nice on the ears. Oh, and it’s worth noting that the hook melody is pretty similar to Train’s Drive By, if you were listening to it and were, like me, trying to figure out what it sounds like.
Best bit: “I like my hair crew cut/I feel like nothing suits me better” is such a dumb lyrics and i fkn love it
BOI – Sick of Loving You
In this house /\ we love ❤ a pizzicato —- section. It’s pretty standard pop y’know, very straightforward sound, singin about Bacardi, good vocal, a full stop at the end of titular hook, nothing you’ve not heard before but distinctive enough that you might remember it.
Best bit: the string section
G Flip – Lover
In this climate of Spotify Sessions marking the upper reaches of the New Music Friday playlist, I was fully expecting this to be a cover of the new Taylor Swift song of the same name that I wasn’t ready for the pleasant surprise that it wasn’t one of those but instead is a lovely slow-building ballad. It’s kinda giving me early Ellie Goulding, just in the intonation;, the whole thing is full of emotion and I’m really feeling myself with it, like maybe I’ll have a lil cry who knows.
Best bit: the emotionally tumultuous bridge
James Blunt – Cold
Blunt can be so hit and miss, but he’s given me enough things I like that I’ll always give the single releases the time of day. Cold is a solid pop-folk song, it sounds like a lot of the songs he’s put out before: lovely guitar section, uplifting build, cute lyrics, and a really good use of his distinctive vocal. Glittery and warm and cute.
Best bit: the chorus, it’s just a big hug of music y’know?
John Newman + Nina Nesbitt – Without You
Every year there are a couple of these big pop ballad male-female duets that are very clear cut and hit just the right spot, and Without You is one of them. I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of either Newman or Nesbitt, but together they have made something that sounds just right. The hook is really sweet and the lyrics are clichéd to a fine point, and I reckon there’s a good dance remix in here somewhere that will be perfect for the running playlist.
Best bit: The bridge, ticks all the boxes
Lana Del Rey – Norman fucking Rockwell
I’m very late to the Lana Del Rey party, but I know something devestatingly good when I hear it. The piano is such an underused instrument and hearing it so clearly is such a delight, there are a lot of excellent cutting lyrics in here like “You’re poetry’s bad and you blame the news”, and Del Rey sounds truly gorgeous. Also, couldn’t you just imagine Elton John singing this?
Best bit: the lyrical concept is such a burn on whoever it’s about and it gives me life
Montaigne – Complex
The affectations and the theatricality of Montaigne’s vocal is so good, it’s jaunty and quirky and powerful all at the same time and the delivery of Complex just feels so perfect. I like the school-yard sing-song quality to it, it balances almost jarringly against some of the sample sounds, but in a good way. Weird and wonderful.
Best bit: the performance of it all
Pusha T – Coming Home (feat. Ms. Lauryn Hill)
One word: Glorious.
Best bit: Ms. Lauryn freakin Hill
Raye – Love Me Again – Remix (with Jess Glynne)
I had original version of this in a post a few weeks back, I just wanted to see if it were possible that Glynne could add what this song has been missing and y’know what? She does. I think the original is great: feel good, great hook, catchy as hell. But there was just something that made it feel overlong, like it started at 100 and didn’t really break itself up, which Glynne’s verse rectifies. I know she’s not to a lot of people’s tastes, but I actually really like her voice so for me this is a mild, welcome improvement on an already excellent song.
Best bit: how nice they sound together
Tones and I – The Kids Are Coming (EP)
I have a new favourite artist and her name is Toni Watson, AKA Tones and I. When I heard Never Seen The Rain a month or so ago I felt like it was just for me: one of those special songs that when you hear it for the first time you both do and don’t want to share with people because it feels like you’re giving away a secret (a secret that charted at no.21 on the Aussie charts). Watson is such a likeable person, I’ve seen a bunch of live performances from her online and she comes across so genuine and down to earth and it’s such a good thing when the music is actually good. Every single song on her new EP is so good: her distinctive voice is sharp and powerful in all the right places, affected to perfection, and delivered with emotion over some really devastating, catchy songs. The Kids are Coming is a rousing anthem about youth; Dance Monkey is powerfully quirky; Colourblind is just devestating; Johhn Run Away is heartbreaking; Jimmy is heart annihilating; and Never Seen the Rain is very, very special. She clearly knows what she’s doing and she’s one you’re gonna be listening to next year I guarantee it, so get on board now.
Best bit: Just spin the whole EP, it’s 20 mins of your life you won’t regret