THE JAPANESE HOUSE / YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY
“These things don’t happen to anybody like you”
There’s a special place in musical heaven for songs that manage to tread a fine line between soft depression and gentle bliss. There’s a special place for songs that can appeal to you when you’re feeling lost and when you’re feeling on top of the world. ‘You Seemed So Happy’ is one of those songs.
About as lightweight as a song could possibly be, it’s about as heavy as a Dido single but it packs just as much of a punch as half of the incredible MUNA album. It just knows the exact kind of song it wants to be, but also revels in the dreamlike haze it casts over with those cloudlike vocals and guitar strings. It’s like somebody crushed Bleachers and Imogen Heap in one handheld blender and spun the dust out the car window driving down the coast. Positively gorgeous.
KSHMR, YVES V, KREWELLA / NO REGRETS
“I don’t wanna care and I’ll die with no regrets.”
Krewella have been making a living recently picking up where The Veronicas left off, but with their club friendly spin applied each time. Masters of EDM, they’ve dropped enough songs in the past year to fill an entire album – each one better than the last. ‘No Regrets’ continues the tradition.
‘No Regrets’ doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, it’s a cliche every songwriter approaches at some point. There’s a bombastic delivery to their vocals that gives this the edge, as if they truly don’t give a fuck about dying early, and an underlying melody that bursts through from start to finish.
Also the vocal buried beneath it all at the very beginning is a beautiful little touch.
MARINA / SUPERSTAR
“What I like about you is you know who you are, what you like about me is I know who I’m not.”
MARINA has never her aspirations for pop stardom a secret, basing an entire album and persona on the pursuit of the American dream, but ‘Handmade Heaven’ had me worried that she’d let go of that drive and settled into her own niche once more. ‘Superstar’ is the slap around the face I needed.
It’s ‘Power and Control’ dragged kicking and screaming into 2019 and melancholy bathed in love, it’s the sound of falling so hard for someone that you can’t quite catch your breath. Lykke Li taught us not to be afraid of artists embracing modern production, and there’s something about Marina’s voice that soars effortlessly as the production steps back. It’s nice to be excited about Marina again.
JULIE BERGAN / SHUT THE FUCK UP
“The only good thing you can do to me now is shut the fuck up and get the fuck out.”
‘Shut the Fuck Up’ isn’t quite as brash as the title suggests; its production is something you’d have stumbled into in 2016, the chorus actually quite soft in contrast to the sentiment. What is brimming with character though is Bergan herself, with what may actually be the best vocal delivery of the year so far. Is that a thing? I never really considered it a thing until I heard just how good she sounds in the verses.
Sometimes we shouldn’t be afraid to bask in the past a little, so if you need me I’ll be in my room dancing to this 2016 Melodifestivalen Ace Wilder-esque bop.
ELLIE GOULDING / FLUX
“And I’m still in love with the idea of loving you”
NOT A BOP WARNING.
Ask any Ellie Goulding fan and you’ll find that her career has been in an odd sort of crisis since the last album. Originally providing us with witty and naturally British folk-pop, she soon became the next big thing and for better or worse polished down her edges. We’ve been understandably confused about what Ellie Goulding’s sound really is, as she progressively devolved into an Americanised popstar.
That’s not to say the songs weren’t great, it just seemed as though the heart was shielded behind many other layers. ‘Flux’ however approaches you with blood on its sleeve, no layers left. It’s difficult to judge such an emotionally heavy song in such a short time span, but it sure is fascinating to see an artist dedicate themselves to opening up like this.
SIGRID / SIGHT OF YOU
“It’s a lonely feeling waving you goodbye.”
Releasing a debut album isn’t easy in our modern climate. It’s difficult to know what labels want an artist to achieve before they can successfully drop their finished works, and most artists will drop a majority of the album before its release to capitalise on interest. Sigrid has had a rocky delivery, but her album is on the way.
‘Sight of You’ isn’t the career defining single that ‘Strangers’ was, but we have to recognise the graft it has taken to get her to this point. Her prior singles, like ‘Strangers’, ‘Plot Twist’, ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ pointed to somebody fearless with an entirely new sound that was ready to dominate the airwaves. ‘Sight of You’ doesn’t try to keep up with that, but it does put Sigrid back on the map with a brilliantly written and hook-laden chorus.
That’s the top picks of the week! Are there any you found that aren’t on the list? Make sure to comment and follow the Spotify playlist to keep up with the best new tracks every Friday.