26th March, NMF!

BEABADOOBEE / LAST DAY ON EARTH

Historically the best part of all songs is the last minute, when every hook and melody comes to a crescendo with an emotional blitz of ad-libs and general kitchen sink amazingness. Quite smartly then, Beabadoobee’s new song sounds like that last minute for a healthy four minutes instead. It’s so great when an Artist clearly knows who they are and what they should sound like.

LIL NAS X / MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)

The art of the music video collides with the art of being gay. With a song that’s been teased for months on end, Lil Nas knew that something else needed to happen for this to hit the way it should… that it is the giant stripper pole to Hell and bottoming for Satan. It’s really quite something, and luckily the song is best-of-the-year kind of good too. It’s a delicious melody, and it plays twice in a row, so what’s not to love?

LOREEN / SOTVATTENTARAR

Firstly if you’ve never dabbled in non-English music, your life hasn’t been lived. SötvattentĂ„rar marks something of another relaunch for Loreen, who has been at odds with her spellbinding potential for years now, with a soft return to the smooth-Swede-pop of her debut and initial Eurovision appeal. Loreen is the greatest pop star on Earth, let’s get that out of the way, and whatever she needs to do to get back on top needs to be accepted. This is melodic bliss, stunning delivery and sultry smooth delicateness. Get into it.

BECKY HILL / LAST TIME

Hill holds what might be Britain’s most curious popstar narrative, her voice a figurehead to a multitude of enormous dance bangers and nothing for her own solo attempts – which would be understandable if we didn’t regularly champion the blandest of personalities and voices at any given time… and Becky Hill is as bland as a restaurant grade Korma. ‘Last Time’ is everything you’d expect from a Becky Hill feature but it’s her name alone this time, let’s see what the radio and public does here. It’s over to them, don’t fuck it up.

THE KNOCKS, MALLRAT / R U HIGH

Katy Perry certainly didn’t invent the anthemic 80s power-chord fuelled chorus, but she sure did define it. ‘R U HIGH’ is, in simplest terms, a dreamy Teenage Dream Cash-Cash remix torn right from the early 10s. Whilst it maybe could have done with a few extra words here and there (what is with that trend right now?) that chorus really is undeniable, and that pulsing line beneath it keeps everything thick, creamy and warm.

EVANESCENCE / BLIND BELIEF

Admittedly Evanescence has found themselves as somewhat of a divisive band, so I questioned whether to include it here at all due to my clear bias… however ‘Blind Belief’ really is not only the strongest Evanescence song in years, but also the melodic highlight of this weeks NMF. You’ll either be into poprock or not, but that chorus made me post…

Blind belief, are you afraid to see
That our fathers were wrong?
We hold the key to redemption
Let icons fall

September 20th, NMF!

SASHA SLOAN / SMILING WHEN I DIE

Understated intimacy is so hard to do well, especially concerning songwriting. It’s ever too easy to create something that hits like a sledgehammer but there’s a real talent in balancing on the line between it, knowing when to hold back and when to let the words and melody do the talking. ‘smiling when i die’ might just be Sloan’s best work yet because not only is it immaculately produced but it is also poised to obliterate with powerful lyricism. Sloan’s secret weapon may be exposed to all now, her adaptive skill in refining depression and anxiety into relatable couplets, and with big artists like P!nk recruiting her for their own design but ‘smiling…’ helps showcase a whole new side to that songwriting style – one of delicate contrast amongst the honesty.

TOVE LO / STAY OVER

Vagina Queen Tove Lo has dropped her understated latest album, Sunshine Kitty, and despite not really feeling most of the promo tracks it really only takes one listen to understand what she’s trying to achieve and one more to realise she pulls it off perfectly. ‘Stay Over’ is the most instant of them all, with her wistfully persuading a broken lover that staying in her arms for the night is the best decision he could make. As usual with Lo’s immaculate storytelling, she isn’t afraid to play the bad guy. Disregarding his actual need to repair for the sake of her own whim is a questionable feeling, but we’ve all been there. We all believe we could be the saviour, or that our love will be all-encapsulating enough to repair any present damage, and ‘Stay Over’ captures that perfectly with its dark and melancholic bedroom-pop style.

GEORGIA / NEVER LET YOU GO

Already making waves with the wild and nostalgic 80s banger, ‘About Work the Dancefloor’, Georgia seems perfectly poised to take the mantle as next big rising UK starlet. Though taking a different path to ‘About…’, ‘Never Let You Go’ still revels in its influences, sounding like an artist that has spent years building the confidence to release these epic reminiscent bangers. The greatest asset to them all so far is how well the production plays alongside the melody, the voice as important as the instrument, but there’s a real driving force in the middle of it that sounds so palatable and ready for any radio station to pick up right now.

CAROLINE POLACHEK / SO HOT YOU’RE HURTING MY FEELINGS

  1. Take Sara Bareilles, Imogen Heap and HAIM and place them in the blender, spice appropriately.
  2. Sprinkle with a slight pinch of sexual confidence and a hefty amount of mutual attraction.
  3. Toss in razor sharp lyrics and a tongue planted firmly in cheek.
  4. Blend, though not enough to make it too serious.
  5. Pour into two bowls, serve alone in a quiet room lit by candlelight alone with the sound of your cats in the window.

What a fucking song.

Stick with me every week, around this time, for the very best of the week. Also this week look out for:

Cyn is back with her new EP Mood Swing and ‘I Can’t Believe’ is wonderfully weird and certifiably incredible… after thirty seconds.

Lauv has released the same song again but if you like him, you’ll love it. Quiet and lovely, it’s called ‘Feelings’.

The new Sofi Tukker EP contains one of their most subtly brilliant songs yet, ‘Ringless’.

Bebe Rhexa has repurposed Xtina’s ‘Beautiful’ into a feminist power anthem for Maleficent 2 called ‘You Can’t Stop the Girl’.

Mabel and Tiesto have a hit in their hands (SURELY) with the bizarrely structured ‘God is a Dancer’ which is great but not as good as ‘God is a Woman’ or ‘God is a DJ’.