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…

May 17th, the best of NMF!

Here are our top five of this weeks NEW MUSIC FRIDAY:

SOFI DE LA TORRE / ESTAMOS MAL

Sofi has often spoke about the influence her Spanish origin has had on her music, though this will be her first official release not in English, but that isn’t to the detriment to the song. ‘Estamos Mal’ showcases Sofi’s unrivalled ability to craft melancholic and introspective songs with an urban edge, the sheer pain and heartbreak drifts through even before you translate the lyrics. ‘We are not well, we are wrong’ she chants again and again from the heart. It’s the most open and exciting she has felt in years.

ISA / CONVERSATION

Spotify is a crowded place for the pop girls of today, each one seemingly drawing from the same pool of inspiration; most are blonde, have artwork that slightly covers their face and don’t stretch too far from the synth-pop template. ‘Conversation’ doesn’t break the wheel, its verses are pretty standard fare, but it does do the smart thing where it matters – the chorus is a gorgeous nugget of a hook. If you’re going to give us something, give us a good chorus.

GRACEY / IF YOU LOVED ME

Gracey’s ‘Different Things’ made a fair few waves with its minimalist vocoder-heavy approach, in hindsight the track was the perfect introduction to a new artist. ‘If You Loved Me’ dials the pop-song knobs up considerably, with a chorus as instant as anything on either of Lorde’s albums. Cut from a similar cloth but much more accessible, it’s so refreshing to see smart decisions like this.

KAT DELUNA / LAST NIGHT IN MIAMI

Listen this deserves to be here because it’s an enormous bop that segues really well with ‘If You Loved Me’ (If you don’t believe me, try it and get back to me). ‘Last Night in Miami’ isn’t going to rocket Kat Deluna back into the charts any time soon, it’s basically the lead single J-Lo has been trying to secure for the last few years, but I’m not going to turn my nose up at a 2010’s club bop like this and neither should you.+

CHARLI XCX, LIZZO / BLAME IT ON YOUR LOVE

Admittedly this took a few listens for me to get over the fact we’d already heard this in the form of ‘Track 10’, but it’s a great change of pace for Charli while also sounding perfect to her sound. Outside of the mixtapes, her music hasn’t necessarily lent itself to their PC-Music inspired standard. ‘Blame It On Your Love’ sounds like the best chance for Charli to get a hit as ever, especially considering she’s added the current big thing Lizzo to the track. Her verse exists to give us respite before the last thirty seconds obliterate our skulls.

This week, make sure you also check out:

Mark Ronson, YEBBA with ‘Don’t Leave Me Lonely’. His album really is going to be one of the most exciting of the year isn’t it?

Janice ‘Hearts Will Bleed’ introduces a new sound for her, the chorus is as big as ever.

Four of Diamonds ‘Walk Away’ is the best girl band single I’ve heard in years. More All Saints than Little Mix, it’s a fantastic ballad.

Hatchie ‘Obsessed’ is her best song yet and should soundtrack every Netflix teen drama from now on please. Absolutely stunning.

Carly Rae Jepsen ‘Real Love’ is the best thing from her new album, but it’s all very similar. If you like it, check out the album!