18th September, NMF!

Sam Smith – Diamonds Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

SAM SMITH / DIAMONDS

As though they could ascertain our fears that the label had demanded more MOR balladry despite the bangers we have heard so far, Smith returns with a catastrophic impact in the form of ‘Diamonds’ – a sickly smooth continuation of that classic Sam Smith formula meets the dancefloor. It’s as effortlessly brilliant as Dua Lipa’s recent output.

Ava Max Shows Promise on Debut Album 'Heaven & Hell': Review

AVA MAX / BORN TO THE NIGHT

Evil album artwork choice aside, Ava’s new album is out and it deserves at least one listen. You’ll find in it some pretty sweet and easy pop, which has its place in the world as much as anything else. ‘Born to the Night’ takes The Weeknd’s 80s formula and spins Ava’s lopsided wig all over it and, as regressive as it might be, it’s a blast.

SOFI TUKKER, NOVAK, TAX.X / EMERGENCY

Sofi Tukker’s name on any piece of work almost guarantees a keyboard-mashing-blessed-Madonna mix designed for a dark bedroom confined rave. ‘Emergency’ might be the only time you hear Simon Says incorporated into any song, let alone a dance song, but Sofi Tukker are so fucking good at this that it just… works.

Liverpool's future superstar Pixey unleashes her monster new single "Just  Move" | Best Fit

PIXEY / JUST MOVE

GOD it’s so exciting when new artists come out with something that sounds like they’ve been around for years. ‘Just Move’ has the charisma of a rippling sunset on a field full of sunflowers; the guitar licks, fluctuating melody, the drum beat… it’s all infectious. Hard to see how Pixey doesn’t make a huge surge out of this.

I don't wanna talk about me - Stereo Jane

STEREOJANE / I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT ME (R3HAB REMIX)

A rare occurrence of remix improving the original song without actually doing much here. In fact, it only takes a few listens for your brain to be tricked into thinking this was always how the song sounded. I mean it’s essentially a bootleg remix, but that twangy electronic bass just takes this chorus somewhere much bigger.

HERE ARE THIS WEEKS HIGHLIGHTS, GET INTO THEM:

2nd August, NMF!

August kicks off with a bang as the delightful Alice Chater returns with a dance banger, Carly Rae and Kiesza sign themselves up to features that are actually good and Ava Max double dropped suprisingly adequate pop songs despite a whole new upcoming single campaign. Here’s our best of the best:

Vocally Alice Chater is at that infamous Jessie J level of overwhelmingly competent, though our blonde diva in waiting is somewhat of a triple threat – glorious tunes, impeccable dancing skill and a towering voice. ‘Tonight’ follows in the footsteps of ‘Thief’, a somewhat anonymous megabop that sounds dangerously similar to ‘One Last Time’, in establishing Alice’s pop persona. You’d think talent was enough but we also need the songs.

I’m not quite sure whether ‘Tonight’ is that song just yet, but it’s the first time we’re glimpsing Alice Chater away from the samples and similar sounding sonic palettes. At times it really does sound like a remix, with the verses clearly missing something, but 1. crucially the chorus is huge enough for that not to matter 2. The music video, available here, is a total 10/10 blast (as are all of her music videos for that matter) and 3. the middle-8 is otherworldly. Honestly I almost crashed my car this morning when she came Ooooooooh-ing through the speakers.

Carly Rae has been a bit of an enigma this year, firstly for following one of the greatest and most refined pop albums of all time with a disappointing and a somewhat half-baked return, mostly because it kind of feels like her interest in her own sound has stagnated somewhat. It’s back to square one, and she’s jumped on a feature with the very underrated Gryffin – now you only have to look at the artwork and you know how this is going to go, but it does subvert the drop with a gorgeous horn/synth mix solo that suits Carly’s voice perfectly. It’s a kind of tiny moment of wonder that I hope inspires Carly going forward. Production aside, this is essentially a Carly song – so it’s not too farfetched to imagine a world in which she embraces this a little.

I hear sounds in the hallway, rocking chairs are moving on their own” Ava croons softly in what sounds like a misplaced Halloween reference. Ava Max is fairly easy to understand, her persona has been crafted that way, and thus ‘Freaking Me Out’ isn’t aiming to surprise as much as appease the listener. It does manage to have these small surprising moments of glory throughout though, imbuing it with character, like the ‘du du du’ middle eight section (complete with flutes!) that comes and goes within seconds. As long as she keeps this little surprises up, she’s good.

As a total sucker for emotional dramas and teen-flicks, 13 Reasons Why is the biggest guilty pleasure I’m happy to admit to. ‘fuck, i’m lonely’ sees rising star Lauv team up with Anne-Marie in a stunningly intimate duet about loneliness and the refusal to get over someone. Admittedly a worn topic, particularly when you think about the other party who is receiving these endless calls, but smartly coupling with 13 Reasons Why – which deals with teen angst and suicide, amongst a breadth of other things – gives it the extra dimension it needs. Lauv is doing a storming job right now openly exploring feelings in his music, which is not easy for males in the media right now, and ‘fuck, i’m lonely’ is another string to that bow.

Mabel’s album, High Expectations, is out now and ‘Put Your Name On It’ is easily the best thing from it that hasn’t already been released. Whilst she’s been at the helm of quite a handful of big hits now, most notably the recent ‘Don’t Call Me Up’, it has taken this long to put out a piece of work. ‘Put Your Name On It’ recalls her features (‘Ring Ring’, ‘Fine Line’) but showcasing her charismatic ability to command it by herself. It definitely seems as though she’s being lined up to be the next Dua Lipa, and frankly she has the material to match, so hopefully this is her ‘New Rules’.

There’s plenty more to listen to this month, as always it’s documented in our weekly ‘Eyes On…’ playlist here:

Give it a follow and make sure to tell us what songs you’re enjoying this month!

Eyes On…