The thing that gets me most about the ‘big’ music related publications is that for every article/review of an artist you like, there are 50 more about people you’ve never heard of. Growing up with indie-music listening friends and being taken to gigs by people I hadn’t heard before (nor heard from since), it felt a lot like there was something I just wasn’t getting, and it try as I might I could never conjure the energy to figure out what ‘it’ was all about.
I still get that way whenever I’m on Pitchfork or NME or wherever and see the top stories about people whose music probably hasn’t or will never touch my life. Maybe it’s just a reminder of the vastness of not only the music industry but of the individual experiences being had by all seven billion people and how music plays into each life in a different way. It’s hard sometimes to push through that point of deciding whether or not you’re really missing out on something or just recognising that it’s not for you.
It gives me a lot of comfort in that way writing this sporadic blog about new music. There are still those times where I sit here thinking ‘who cares what I think’ or ‘what authority do I have to say that these songs are good’, but I’m not trying to write for everyone, or even anyone. Most often I’m just writing for myself, to keep me level, taking some time to talk about something I don’t need to convince myself I care about because I can feel it in my bones.
With that in mind, here are the 12 new songs that dropped last week that I *know* are good.
24kGoldn, Justin Bieber, J Balvin, iann dior – Mood (Remix)
I’m aware that Mood has been around since mid summer and has been number one in about 50 different countries, but TikTok trap isn’t exactly top of my listening list. On this remix, however, 24kGoldn ‘got J.B. and J.B.’ (Bieber and Balvin) to lend their voices to some new verses, and feeling that added sense of vocal familiarity from two of the biggest names in music made this stupidly-catchy track feel a whole lot more accessible. Having listened to it 13 times since Friday, it is easy to see why the original racked upwards of 450 million listens on Spotify.
Baby Queen – Want Me
Bella Lantham, AKA Baby Queen, is the best thing to come to pop in ages. Her songs simmer on that line between pop and indie, bringing the best of both – inescapable hooks and lyrical mastery, and Want Me showcases her skills to a fault. It’s not an easy thing to make a song that pushes over the four minute mark and not waste a single second, but between the rushing choruses, verses that cram in a million lyrics that actually stay on rhythm, and the matter-of-fact delivery of lines like “And I stay home ’cause all my friends are getting bored of me/I find a way to fit your name in every sentence that I speak”, not to mention that this song is about Villanelle (Jodie Comer’s psychopathic assassin in Killing Eve), its hard to listen to this and not hit repeat over and over again.
Bree Runway – ATM (feat. Missy Elliott)
If there’s anyone who deserves to be the next person to trace the steps to stardom taken by Nicki, Cardi, and Megan, then it’s Bree Mutherfuckin Runway. Her 90s throwback duet with Yung Baby Tate is a strong contender for the best song of 2020, and this new collaboration is just another example of why she demands to be heard. Huge tune, and an excellent guest spot from a rap icon.
Dotan – There Will Be a Way
For some reason these moody, angsty songs-about-demons by men in their mid thirties are endlessly appealing to me? Maybe I’m just holding on to the idea that it’s never too late for me to become a pop star. Dotan gives it the full gut wrench on this ‘anthemic’ track, complete with a video of him cutting about in a warehouse of socially distanced mannequins, dodgy spot lights and arms thrown wide. Expect this to be in my top 20 song songs of 2020.
ELIO – hurts 2 hate somebody
These PopLite-lite songs with their if-we-don’t-laugh-we’ll-cry depression-coping songs aren’t new and I’m probably not even their demographic anymore, but the lightness to the chorus has me feeling like this one from ELIO is more cathartic than most.
JC Stewart – Rest Of My Life
I’d really love it if there was just a teeny tiny bit more to this song from wannabe pop-boy JC Stewart – I reckon he’s one properly big tune away from breaking through – but at the very least I have to give him the way he delivers the hook here – it hits just right.
Little Mix – Confetti
A whole album came out from Little Mix, and this title-track was by far the most exciting of those unreleased. In many ways it’s Little Mix by-the-numbers (dancy, impeccable-vocal-mixing), but I am feeling that opening riff in my bones. Who would’ve thought the-band-formerly-known as-Rythmix would still be here six albums later cranking out such powerful songs?
Mae Muller – dependent
The sheer number of rhymes and half rhymes here is relentless. Muller has grace us with a new 8-song EP, and much as her aesthetic schtick isn’t up any of the alleys I find myself in, it’s quick and quiet and catchy as all hell.
Patrik Jean – Consequence
I’d like to take a moment to thank Spotify’s release radar function for week in week out bringing me remixes of songs I don’t like by artists I have no interest in, and ignoring new releases by artists, such as Mr Jean here, that I actually listen to? Not sure what this emotionlessly-lipsynced IKEA warehouse video is all about, but I’m big into the moody synth-pop from easy-on-the-eye Swedish men, such as he.
RAYE – Love Of Your Life
I’d really like for RAYE to get that one good solo hit that takes her beyond that featured-vocal status. By no means my favourite of her singles to date [See Natalie Don’t or Please Don’t Touch], but Love Of Your Life is just Dua-Lipa’s-Future-Nostalgia enough that with the right promo it could do the numbers, no?
Rudie Edwards – Young
A moody, soulful ballad from an up and coming pop singer that channels a bit of Adele and Emeli Sande? Yes please!
Tusse – Crash
If you like The Weeknd’s electropop stuff on Blinding Lights and In Your Eyes, then I’d like to present to you, drawn from the same vein, Crash from Congolese-Swedish singer Tusse, to round off this week’s line up of banging new songs.