Kicking off February of 2019 with what might be the best song of the year so far (Yes!) is the fiery tarantula herself, Billie Eilish.
BILLIE EILISH / BURY A FRIEND
“When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”
Whether playing the aspirational doll, scorned lover, mysterious enigma – every pop star needs an image of themselves which sets them apart, sometimes this image is developed themselves and sometimes the wider narrative creates something out of their control, often times it becomes a mix of the two.
If there’s one thing Billie has nailed down, and it’s part of the reason why she’s already racking up hundreds of millions of streams, it’s that otherworldly extra persona that drives people to listen to her above anyone else. It’s positively fascinating just to observe her grow and develop, seeing just how aware they are of her image and how to cultivate it.
‘bury a friend’ feels career defining from the astronomically impressive video to the Kanye West inspired beat, mainly because of how well it positions that fascinating uniqueness of Billie’s. Sound-wise the inspirations are fairly minimal and obvious, but she rides them so well that it really does feel like a true next Lana / Lorde / Marina moment.
BEATRICH / RUNAWAY
“I keep on chasing the sunrise just before I runaway, runaway, runaway, runaway.”
Finding a song so imbued with character like this is a rare and joyous occasion, especially when the song actively toys with your expectations and delivers a left-turn swerve of a chorus. What a chorus we have here.
That reedy synth is pervasive, unexpected and totally brilliant. Reminding me instantly of Elohim’s ‘Half Love’, it’s the very sound of leaving the club at 3AM with your ears buzzing, stumbling home in the faint light.
Basically, and stick with me here, it’s 2019’s answer to Shakira’s She Wolf’.
NINA NESBITT / LOVE LETTER
“When I was your girlfriend, you said it’d be different.”
Nina Nesbitt’s new album, ‘The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change’, is out now and a spectacular showcase of how to subvert expectation and deliver an exciting sophomore album. Give it a stream.
My statement piece for the album is the delightfully 00’s ‘Love Letter’, which sounds like it was torn straight from P!nk’s ‘Can’t Take Me Home’, complete with classic melodies that translate well into 2019.
In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to (and is better than) Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’, and I’m wondering how long it is until more people realise how well the minimal-but-sharp production of twenty years ago works now.
LEON / YOU AND I
“In my head you say you still want it.”
At this point you are probably looking for that classic universal pop song to cleanse your palette. And so, may I present the Swedish wonder who has yet to let us down: Léon.
‘You and I’ is taken from her self-titled debut album which is out next month, following the funky ‘Falling’ and punchy ‘Baby Don’t Talk’, and is possibly her best yet.
Undoubtedly her at her most commercial, it chugs along with enormous folksy swagger and electrifying presence, like a Mumford & Sons chorus colliding with Carly Rae Jepsen’s perfect pop sensibilities. It’s hair raising in how evocative and inclusive it is, with her distinct vocal still powering above everything else. Wonderful.
HIGHASAKITE / URANIUM HEART
“You know it doesn’t add up, you won’t break my uranium heart”
Highasakite have finally dropped their blissful third album, ‘Uranium Heart‘, and the title track is a beautiful representation of their newfound dedication to a more melancholic, subtle sound. It takes an absolute understanding of emotion and minimalism to sound like the perfect credit song for every indie movie ever.
Calmly opening up over four minutes, the song is a stunning ode to strength in yourself. Something we’ve all heard, but rarely believed, until now.
THELMA PLUM / NOT ANGRY ANYMORE
“I’m not angry anymore, just thought that you should know.”
Gabrielle Aplin’s influence continues to puncture my musical discoveries, culminating right here with me actively believing the chorus could have been Gabrielle herself.
Comparisons aside, ‘Not Angry Anymore’ is a relic of a rare emotion: acceptance. Similarly inspiring recent smash hit ‘thank u next’, there’s a powerful energy in letting yourself feel what you feel and taking account of your own actions. It’s a narrative rarely explored, but Thelma has stretched and weaved it perfectly over bouncing chords and synths.
Of course it helps that she can write a bloody fantastic chorus, one so good that it drives the entire song. And the bridge that leads into it is just as brilliant.
ALSO make sure not to miss some of the other amazing songs that dropped today:
GIA WOODS / JUMP THE FENCE
LOVEDAY, PYNGU / BREATHLESS (LIKE THIS)
KLP, KILIAN & JO / UNDER THE INFLUENCE
KELLA / TRAINWRECK
OSTON / GIVE UP
MAGDALENA BAY / MONEY LOVER
CASSIAN, GABRIELLE CURRENT / SAME THINGS
Check out my amazing bespoke playlist updated every week with fresh new pop drops: