Another week, another string of good tunes to wrap your ears around! I’m making a conceited effort to keep this list down to a manageable number of new songs going forward, because that week where there were 24 almost killed me. So I’m setting the limit at 12 songs from now on, unless there is an exceptional week for new music in the future.
I actually made the effort to listen to a few albums this week – Meghan Trainor, Louis Tomlinson, Kesha – to pick out my favourite rather than just talking about (or ignoring) the one that got stuck in the Spotify new music Friday playlist.
Here they are – 12 new songs for you. Notable omissions include the zzz-inducing Justin Bieber song and the one from Taylor Swift’s Netflix documentary because I’d like to experience that in context and I’ve yet to see it.
Allie X – Devil I Know
Allie X is one of those names that I know I’ve heard her songs but I couldn’t tell you one of them. It is truly a difficult thing to be a woman in pop music. Devil I Know is a bit of a tune that could possibly benefit from a little more musical backing. Don’t get me wrong, I think the hook is excellent and contains probably my favourite melodic pattern of the week, it just verges on the Billie-Eilish vocal-samples-are-the-music acoustic plane when I think that a rush of noise for the chorus could take this from a 7 to a 9.
For Fans Of: Billie Eilish, Sky Ferreira, pop music in general
Blossoms – If You Think This Is Real Life
There was a whole Blossoms album out this week, for which IYTTIRL plays marker on the New Music Friday playlist, and whilst I enjoyed this upbeat indie-pop tune as much as the other couple of pre-album-release songs I heard, the prospect of listening to 10 songs in a row of this ilk is more than I can handle. Still, I think this is a fun tune, and has moved Blossoms from an Arctic Monkeys echo band to something a bit more palatable.
For Fans Of: Alex Cameron, Vistas, Gerry Cinnamon
Celina Sharma – CHALO
We’ve had the reggaeton/latin-pop wave, we’ve got Kpop coming out of our ears, and I think it’s time that Indi-pop took its shot. CHALO, which translates from Indian as ‘Let’s Go’ is a club-pop banger that utilises the repeat-this-word-over-and-over formula that has embedded many non-english songs in the global pop scene and help make a genre more accessible to everyone. Sharma’s vocals are powerful (as shown also on this Blinkie song) and the long and the short of it is that CHALO goes off.
For Fans Of: Little Mix, MØ, CNCO
Demi Lovato – Anyone
I always welcome a massive Demi Lovato ballad and I hope she doesn’t throw herself back into music again before she’s ready. She wrote Anyone four days before she overdosed in 2018 and performed it a the Grammys last weekend. The lyrics are heartbreaking to reflect on: “A hundred million stories/And a hundred million songs/I feel stupid when I sing/Nobody’s listening to me/Nobody’s listening” knowing the context – a cry for help which she delivers with breathtaking vocals.
For Fans Of: Lady Gaga, Ben Platt
Dua Lipa – Physical
I’d like to shake the hand of Dua Lipa and her team for being the most exciting thing about pop music right now. Physical sounds like a million different songs, and yet it sounds like nothing that is popular right now. It hits you in both that ‘this feels familiar’ [David Guetta’s Turn Me On from 2011 among other things] and ‘this is really incredible isn’t it’ both at once, which is how you win at music really. So high octane I feel excited just thinking about listening to it.
For Fans Of: Nicki Minaj, Bonnie Tyler
F3M – Bananas
This slightly silly girlband pop tune is one of six up for selection as this year’s entry from Finland for Eurovision. You feel like they’re trying to keep it as PG and family friendly as possible, which makes sense given its intended use, and actually makes it about 50x more ridiculous and fun. Sound a bit like Little Mix’s Salute and contains the best use of the word ‘Bananas’ in a song since Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl.
For Fans Of: Little Mix, Eurovision
Kesha – Chasing Thunder
I skimmed the new Kesha album, it was an uneven mix of troubadour Kesha and risque pop Kesha, both of which I rate but they feel so disconnected when presented in tandem on a single project. Of the new tracks, Chasing Thunder felt like the strongest standalone, and pedestrian-accessible. It’s rousing clap-along guitar guitar driven folk-pop anthem, and her vocals are killer.
For Fans Of: Vance Joy, Of Monsters and Men, Philip Phillips
Louis Tomlinson – Always You
The fifth and final debut solo album from the 1D boys is here, and it’s Louis Tomlinson who remains closest in sound to the band from which he came. Always You is the other song from the album that will fill that One Direction shaped hole in your heart [the first one being Don’t Let It Break Your Heart]. It’s got a soft pop-rock vibe, some gentle lyrics, and a soaring chorus – the only thing that’s missing are the four other vocalists.
For Fans Of: One Direction
Luna Pine – You’ll Miss It All
Not sure what grabbed me so intensely about this slow synth-rock song, it’s sending me to the verge of tears and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Those glittery spacey sounds, the slow heartbreaking vocals, the backing drums – it’s all just so beautiful.
For Fans Of: 30 Seconds to Mars, The 1975, Beebadoobee
Madison Beer – Good in Goodbyes
The instrumental for this sounds like one of those 50$ trap beats you can buy online, which I guess is very of the moment. Good in Goodbye isn’t the most original lyrical concept, but it does have a cool melody and Beer’s delivery of the vocal is killer.
For Fans Of: Ariana Grande, NF
Meghan Trainor – Nice To Meet Ya (feat. Nicki Minaj)
I wonder sometimes how much thought Nicki Minaj puts into deciding she’ll provide a guest verse. No disrespect, I actually really rate Meghan Trainor in 2020 and I was very excited to hear her album following the stellar promotional releases. Nice To Meet Ya is a whispery R&B inspired pop tune that sounds a bit like a lite version of Ariana Grande’s Problem, Minaj is exactly as you’d expect, and it’s all just quite good.
For Fans Of: Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony
Salem – Roses to His Ex
A pop banger that’s about shadily thanking the girl that came before you for training this boy so well: “I should send roses to his ex/The one I’m making him forget/Right with a note that tells her, “thanks for that”/I think her and I should have a chat”. Positive in concept, messy in practice.
For Fans Of: Little Mix, Cher Lloyd, Jojo