Feb 19th, NMF!

RUPAUL, DRUKS2 CAST / A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE

I doubt you’ve somehow managed to miss the impact of Drag Race UK Season Two, which closed up last night with the usual cast remix of a classic RuPaul song. If you did catch it, don’t worry because the version to stream does not sound as bad as it did on the show. Regardless, the way a 20+ year old song manages to sound so fresh and exciting deserves highlighting. RuPaul may have never set the mainstream charts alight, with obvious reason as to why, but moments like this should go on to prove that certain songs are just packed so full with hooks they’re ready to burst.

AMY SHARK / BABY STEPS

Whilst the first play might have produced a gasp at the possibility of this taking from ‘Barracuda’, it quite quickly does a sharp turn left into familiar Shark territory – that romcom tinged guitar in hand foot-stomping anthem. Recent singles have struggled to push her sound away from the debut and ‘Baby Steps’ isn’t exactly turning her into a modern day Xtina, but it does manage to sound new and exciting for her sonically while the lyrics serve us what we know and love. More of this please, Amy Shark.

THE DISCO FRIES, MOLLY MOORE / DUMB THING

Between this and the recent ‘Careful’ remix, Molly Moore really said you’re going to pay attention to me in 2021. Reminiscent of Jax’s huge DA-DA-DA lite hits (think Wroldsen’s ‘Breathe’ meets Daft Punk), that razor sharp vocal is what carries it into great territory. What would have made this an easy 11/10 would have been one more chorus, but at least it leaves you hovered over the repeat button.

THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE / THE NEVERENDING STORY

Yes, it’s another solid classic from over twenty years ago. Originally recorded at the start of their career but only ever accessible in shoddy MP3 or in 11 year old YouTube clips, Birthday Massacre have finally gone out of their way to release the crisp and inviting cover we deserve. Having already released and dominated a cover of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ in 2008, TBM really showcase again just how polished and recognisable their sound continues to be. The way they infuse what is already an incredible pop song with their own identity, proving it as timeless, is genius. In fact, I’d go as far to call for an entire cover album from them.

CHLOE TANG / GIVE ME THE HIGHS

Easily the most straight-forward and well constructed song of the week, ‘Give Me the Highs’ serves second single from classic Brit pop star energy with it’s stunning infused chorus vocals, the intimate and sharp verses and even the occasional ad-lib choir moment. For some mind boggling reason, this hasn’t been chosen as a single yet? It’s been out for almost 12 hours and it’s not a chart topping single? Ofcom, I want to write a complaint.

March 12th, NMF!

INGRID WITT / DEVIL INSIDE

Channelling the nation’s sweetheart, Supernanny, Ingrid heard what could have been a fairly dull week and swept it, bat-like, to avert the crisis. ‘Devil Inside’ does that subversion thing that all the best pop songs do – it’s candyfloss soft chorus a complete u-turn compared to its verse – but by god does it really work. Flourishes like this in a world of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle8-chorus layouts make music feel so exciting.

STEFANIA / LAST DANCE

For years now, fans of Eurovision here in the UK have had to put up with the BBC’s pandering to an idea of Eurovision that no longer really exists. Whilst this year we have to put up with the abysmal ‘Embers’ and its years-too-late Sigala adoration, Greece have done what fans have been asking for us to do for years – embraced STEPS. ‘Last Dance’ manages to scream Eurovision from its very heart and yet (looking at you BBC) doesn’t tread into the embarrassing territory of chasing a sound from five years ago as if it’s still here, a novelty. Equipped with an enormous chorus and a stadium-filling vocal chant that is to die for… it’s a winner, baby.

MOLLY MOORE, LA FELIX / CAREFUL

Moore’s ‘Careful’ already had one of the best choruses of last year but, not content with letting the song slink away into the night quite yet, she’s brought in La Felix to make the song even bigger. A short and sickly sweet 2 minutes long, it’ll leave you grasping for that replay button if only to hear that chorus again. Seriously it’s enormous.

ROSÉ / ON THE GROUND

Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, K-Pop is making waves across the entire music scene. Solo explorations really aren’t that weird for K-Pop group members, a lot of them act like a vehicle for solo success in ways, but there’s something about Blackpink’s ROSÉ that feels perched for world stardom. Channelling Avril Lavigne, the song threatens to keep that stripped back, pop-punk aesthetic throughout only for that synth to burst through. A touch of wonder!

YONAKA / ORDINARY

Fans of Yonaka will notice immediately the move away from their traditional single art, a move into PVRIS territory that’s supported immediately by the opening to ‘Ordinary’. Of course, Yonaka have their chorus sound nailed down so tight that by the time that swings around, you know exactly who is in the building. This Nirvana inspired power ballad easily shows itself as one of their most instant, could it be a huge hit? Hopefully.