First of all, REGISTER TO VOTE – I’m sure you’re all good and already have BUT YOU NEVER KNOW and the deadline is TOMORROW.
Second of all, I cannot believe we are one week away from December. I had so many plans for my website this since I bought the official Iainsights™ domain that haven’t come to fruition in the slightest, but hey new year new me, right?
I’ve got some solidified and probably manageable new weekly/fortnightly/monthly segments for this solo music writer sitting in the pipeline that I’m hoping to bring to life as we roll into 2020 – there will still be this lovingly curated weekly(ish) blast of new songs, plus some less regular offshoots into genres with which I am less familiar, some other music-adjacent things I want to try, and maybe some non-music related things in their own little subsection because this is my website and nobody can stop me.
I cannot believe that there were new songs out this week from Harry Styles, Little Mix, Kesha, and HAIM and I liked none of them. Not a one. Madness.
Anyway, some actually good new tunes for you this week, just like all weeks. I hope you find something you like.
AWA – Like I Do
I has assumed the best song to come out in 2019 called Like I Do had already dropped, but this lil R&B number from AWA is a giving it a run for its money. The bass that laces this track together is so rich and satisfying, AWA’s vocal is playful and passionate and delivers an unending stream of excellent adlibs, and when her breathy falsetto hits it’s so so satisfying. Get this on repeat.
Best Bit: That bass
Billy Raffoul – Never Be Another Like You
Do I like Billy Raffoul or am I just enamoured by his long luscious hair? He has a voice that’s both gentle and gritty, he’s kinda like Hozier but a bit softer, a bit poppier, and bit less niche when it comes to his lyrics, and this is his most memorable offering yet. Get in the ground floor, kids.
Best Bit: his long beautiful hair
Blossoms – The Keeper
I always assumed Blossoms were one of those Arctic Monkeys adjacent alt-rock bands that just weren’t for me, but The Keeper is actually right up my street – the kind of song that would soundtrack an advert for a bank that’s trying to put family friendly fun back into managing your finances.
Best Bit: The jaunty instrumental
Emily Burns – Hate Me Too
A song by Emily Burns about heartbreak (“Cause it feels so good when you come round/Just to set me up for a breakdown”), heartache (“Two weeks go by/Not a word’s been said, we go back to strangers”) and poor life choices (“Standing at your doorstep/Wondering why I’m here again”)? A woman on the people. Burns is such a compelling lyricist, the way she gets all the words to fit around her excellent pop melodies is just unnaturally good.
Best Bit: another excellent bridge from Emily Burns
Jax Anderson – Heal
There is so much promise in this song, the first 20 seconds are absolutely killer, the sad-disco stylings to it are so well realised, and the hook is probably the best hook you’ll here this week. That said, I think this could use a fuller final act to really push over the edge the high that it creates, I felt set up for a cacophony of sound in the final chorus which did arrive. Nonetheless this is an excellent sadpop heartbreak song from Jax Anderson.
Best Bit: The opening is just phenomenal
JC Stewart – The Wrong Ones
Vocals that are part Jesse McCartney, part Nick Jonas, layered acoustic guitar, clean cut everything – you probably weren’t looking for another tried and tested, straight-from-the-mould high school heartthrob boy with simple catchy pop tunes, but here he is.
Best Bit: the ‘why why whys’
Kate Voegele – French
You do not know how long I have been waiting, how much I have been yearning, for a new song from Kate Voegele, aka Mia Catalano from One Tree Hill, the woman who soundtracked my teenage years, and I am truly and utterly elated that she has taken the step into modern pop music. French hits all the right notes that the 2019 pop landscape commands of it, from the easy-to-remember hook, a lyrically-cutting chorus “I learned how to talk shit about you in French/And I’m a little bit better than I was back then”, and an unexpected bridge section where she sings in – you guessed it – French. Better and then some than I could have dreamed of.
Best Bit: The final chorus
Lewis Capaldi – Before You Go
If you’re not listening to Lewis Capaldi by now I don’t know what I could possibly say to convince you to do so. Impeccable vocals, instantly memorable, truly heartbreaking. Another 10/10.
Best Bit: the “little by little by little” bits
Mabel – Loneliest Time Of Year
I’d like to write a roundup of all the new ‘Christmas’ songs that have come out this year and rank them (no.1 will be going to the Jonas Brothers I can all but guarantee). I can fully appreciate the cash-grab factor but it’s amazing how many of them (Little Mix, Robbie Williams in this week alone) are just not good? It’s so often as if they took a song they’d previously chucked as not being good enough for their album, put some bells in it, changed some lyrics to be more festive, and flung it our way. At least make something that people will play in a year or in five years time. I dunno how Mabel’s attempt will fare in the long run, but Loneliest Time of Year is a sweet lil RnB anti-Christmas Christmas-style that’s actually making me wanna break out the tinsel.
Best Bit: I’m really taken by that first verse, it just draws you in, you know?
Mitch James – Sunday Morning
I am struggling to detach how I think Mitch James should look from the person pointing out at me from this album artwork? Are they one in the same? Is that Mitch James? I cannot connect this man with this song. This is a nice tune tho, it’s all about someone who broke up with you calling you up in the middle of the night for a booty call, presented over bouncy stompy upbeat guitar-driven instrumental.
Best Bit: the bridge is really nice, a good lil pop bridge, I support
Navvy – Scared To Be Happy
I’m sorry for all the sad songs today, but I guess you can’t choose when heartbreak hits can you? Beautiful vocals, v good lyrics that come full circle, a crying good time.
Best Bit: “They say when you break up you break up two times/The first when you leave, the last time you cry/I haven’t cried over you in a while now”