Music

22nd May, New Music Friday!

Hey, we’re back. Make sure you’re following the Spotify playlist which is always updated weekly so you don’t miss out the highlights! Quarantine life be damned, we’re getting a highlight post out this week because it’s a crazy one. Last week was dominated by ‘Daisies’ really, this one is… well it’s a little spread of excellence.

LADY GAGA, ARIANA GRANDE / RAIN ON ME

It was almost inevitably going to be the big highlight of the week, with two of pops biggest artists coming together in a celebration of letting go of your sorrows and dancing the tears away. Of course, the stakes were high, but this hybrid house-pop dance banger manages to pull it off by bringing in that wistful Ariana vocal with those beloved Born This Way melodies. The result is something that feels exciting and fresh for Gaga, and seeing as the album is out in A WEEK it couldn’t have come a moment too soon.

CALL ME LOOP / STRIKE

Another heavy hitter this week in Call Me Loop, albeit on a different height of popstars like Ariana and Gaga. What we have here though is a contender for the years best of list, a ‘Runaway With Me’ style frothy pop song that feels simultaneously lightweight and melodically packed. Loop’s songwriting skills continue to be painfully underrated, something we still hope ‘React’ will help to rectify, and that’s never more obvious here than the gorgeous middle-8, a lovely intimate moment that recalls the older songs of hers. It’s no secret that there’s a huge Call Me Loop stan here, so there’s bias, but this feels like the closest she has been to breaking through with a song since ‘Give ‘N’ Take’ and ‘Love the Lie’.

ELLIE GOULDING / POWER

It’s been a weird few years for Ellie, hasn’t it? Admittedly we’ve afforded her more space than most, having opened up about the mental damage her last campaign did, but there’s been a real disconnect with her material since (most likely the labels behest). ‘Power’ is the first step to fixing that. Easily her best song in years but also, most importantly, alive with confidence and that typical Goulding heart that’s been strangely absent since ‘Figure 8’. The keen of hearing will notice the ‘Be the One’ interpolation, but the chorus is so fantastic that it really doesn’t matter after a few listens.

ALICE CHATER / TWO OF US

Alice Chater wasn’t built for indie success. In her videos, her production credits, her general appeal, it’s painfully obvious that Chater is one of the greats in waiting. Strangely that can sometimes hold one back, a cry against authenticity, and we’ve seen brief flits with apparent success yet no real fruition of it. ‘Two of Us’, with that in mind, feels like a real curtain-jerking moment of open vulnerability. Though not rocking the boat by any means, there’s something different about this release for her that feels so alive and exciting. Her delicate but gorgeous delivery takes this above and beyond, with a closer dedication to the melody and lyrical content than production, which is usually the case for Chater. It’s gorgeous, and hopefully the start of an album!

DAGNY / PARIS

What a damn week for music. In fact, there’s a potentially damning similarity between the highlights this week. All are dreamlike, whispery synth pop (which is apparently to my taste so…). Dagny is, like Call Me Loop above, a master at this. ‘Paris’ is arguably her best song yet, a real slowdown of that sugar-sweet formula of hers. The result is a gorgeous, sultry slice of pop music that relishes in her typical blueprint while showing us the other side of Dagny. There’s an EP to this too, Strangers/Lovers, which is the best of the week. If you’re looking for perfectly polished pop, there’s your bag.

Remember to keep your eyes on (!) the dedicated New Music playlist, where the highlights always continue. Every week. For you. (Apparently there’s an embedding issue so there won’t be a pretty graphic, but here’s the link)

Music

24th April, New Music Friday!

This week demands an update. Last week might not have been brilliant but god, it more than makes it up here.

PVRIS / GIMME A MINUTE

‘Gimme a Minute’ takes roughly 52 to cross into excellent territory by dropping some Kanye kicks, but the surprises don’t stop there. The way this evolves into their best song minute by minute. The taste, the power, the talent.

HARLOE / CRUSH ON YOU (LATROIT & PRETTY GARTER REMIX)

Whilst the original isn’t really anything to fawn over, the remix does wonders in pulling out this anthemic, dreamy chorus and whacking the pop production up there to suit it. An absolute charmer of a song.

THE 1975 / IF YOU’RE TOO SHY (LET ME KNOW)

The 1975 are at their best when they drop the pretentiousness and just… make good songs. ‘If You’re Too Shy…’ isn’t reinventing the wheel but that’s exactly what I need. That delightful 80s cheese that only they can bring. It’s fantastic.

EVANESCENCE / WASTED ON YOU

It’s been fourteen years since Evanescence dropped their best album, The Open Door, and finally it looks like they’re revisiting the sonically experimental landscape it occupied. ‘Wasted on You’ is the best culmination of everything Evanescence have done before in years, with Amy Lee sounding better than everything and the stereotypical heavy chorus being accompanied with Lee’s slower moments. This one is an earworm, folks.

YUNGBLUD / WEIRD!

Yungblud is an acquired taste, I know that, but give ‘Weird!’ a chance because it’s a belter. Particularly suited to the 1975 release, ‘Weird!’ is easily Yungblud’s smoothest track yet, giving hints of 5SOS meets Lily Allen meets classic emo-pop. Totally gorgeous.

MARLENE / RUNNING

Marlene is pop musics best kept secret. After taking time out to produce releases for her and Ji Nilsson project Pure Shores, Marlene comes rocketing back with something so quintessentially her for the summer. Something about Marlene screams summer – the wistful production, the delicate melodies, the soft vocal. There’s never a better time for a double Marlene release, so make sure to check out ‘Without You’ too!

Make sure you’re following the Spotify playlist to keep up with weekly highlights away from this blog!

Music

10th April, New Music Friday!

This past week has involved little more than the new Empress Of album. Have you listened to it? You really should, it’s a masterclass in production and quirk. As for this week, god we have some right bangers. Last week is old news, let’s get going.

CHARLOTTE OC / FALLING FOR YOU

You should know by now that Charlotte OC has a fantastic voice, one of my favourites out there right now. But the best thing is she knows exactly when to use that gusto and when to hold back. Her greatest strength are these incredibly subtle hooks that quietly worm their way into the brain. There’s always time for a big ‘Into You’ banger, but ‘Falling for You’ is going to last a lifetime because of that subtlety.

KIESZA / CRAVE

Imagine a world in which Katy Perry snapped this up as the real followup to ‘Never Really Over’? Easily the best thing Kiesza has put out since ‘All of the Feelings’, which actually only came out a few weeks ago… Needless to say, this dreamy 80s euphoria suits her from the ground to the heaven and it deserves all the success ‘Hideaway’ once earned.

CHARLI XCX / FOREVER

First of all, do not listen to this on cheap iPhone earphones if you do not want tinnitus. Secondly, can we accept now that Charli XCX might be the perfect pop star? She certainly is for our quarantining. ‘forever’ was thrown together at light speed, which makes it even more incredible. Truthfully the production is just a sly bit too much at the verses but that chorus might be her best in years.

MOYKA / SPACES

Can’t come to the phone right now, just being transported into outer space because of those opening pads. Zara Larsson meets Lorde meets Robyn brilliance. Name a better inspiration trio, I’ll wait.

ISAAC DUNBAR / BOY

Every now and then a fantastic openly queer love song comes along and I realise how little of them actually find themselves being pushed amidst the endless releases. That actually makes them feel more special for now, because god this hit me as I sit here desperately missing my own boy right now. It feels so good to hear it sometimes.

PLENTY more this week to dive into, get your teeth wet here:

Music

New Music Friday: February 27th!

Ms. Lipa has crash landed her epic dance-pop album a week earlier than expected so I forgive you if you can’t bring yourself to listen to anything else, but for those who might still want the other highlights (Of which there are plenty)… let’s go!

DUA LIPA / COOL

The Dua album is brilliant. It’s brilliant smushed together and it’s brilliant picked apart. ‘Cool’ is one of the best, it’s dreamy production a perfect match for her. Also if we’re being honest it’s that opening that makes this so masterful.

LITTLE MIX / BREAK UP SONG

Little Mix’s performance ability has often been at odds with their musical output, veering from fantastic pop to doo-wop nots. ‘Break Up Song’ couldn’t have dropped at a better time considering how similar it is to Dua’s sleek retro leanings. Time will tell whether that will be this singles detriment, but as it is this is one of their absolute best bangers.

GABRIELLE APLIN / MY MISTAKE (REWORK)

The world continues to sleep on Gabrielle Aplin, one of our strongest songwriters. ‘My Mistake’ is originally a heartbreaking sledgehammer of a ballad but god damn, it has one hell of a chorus. Aplin has smartly took it and put a proper donk on it and… it slaps.

ISA / GRAVITY

Here’s another one that really slaps. I couldn’t really tell you what Isa’s shtick is anymore but this is the kind of song Selena Gomez would pick up and turn in to hit with relatively little effort.

GLOWE / OVERWHELMED

One way to get yourself into these musical highlights is to surprise. Is there anything better than a good pop surprise? ‘Overwhelmed’ starts as a Julia Michaels song and switches gears pretty instantly into a brooding epic. The two actually work really well together, really showcasing that feeling of sudden overwhelming emotion. Synths are God’s work.

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New Music Friday: February 13th!

AVA MAX / KINGS & QUEENS

What year is it again? RedOne alone takes me back at least ten years, but Desmond Child having a hand in this and resident classic-pop-girl Max as well? Luckily this is an absolute blast. Tinged with Abba, this is everything Ava Max should have been doing following the sudden success of ‘Sweet but Psycho’.

ELLIE GOULDING, BLACKBEAR / WORRY ABOUT ME

Ellie’s upcoming album, if it ever sees the light of day, will apparently balance the trap leaning collaborations with her authentic songwriting self by splitting the album directly in two and showcasing both. ‘Worry About Me’ is more of what you’d come to expect from Ellie and doesn’t even attempt to spin the wheel, but it’s a solid affair filled with some nice little Ellie touches (operatic cooing, the gritty THIS and THAT hidden away, cahoo-ha-hool) and a pretty great feature from blackbear.

CAMDEN COX / HEALING (REDFIELD REMIX)

‘Healing’ was already one of the best songs of the year, so I wasn’t exactly expecting a remix to have much to add. Sometimes I love being wrong. Redfield manages to keep that wistful emotion throughout but suddenly it’s instilled with such a brooding and addictive energy that I might never play the original again!

KOVEN / WORLDS COLLIDE

Well, the new Koven album is currently encapsulating my entire life. A proper collision of pop music and dance, which is one of the best couplings ever really, with an absolutely faultless opening in ‘Worlds Collide’. If you’re into this D&B meets Dubstep meets pop banger, be sure to check out the entire album asap.

FLETCHER / FOREVER

I suppose sometimes an artist not breaking through keeps them hungry for it, knowing each release is important to their entire career prospects. Fletcher still feels hungry, despite having quite a few songs under her name now. ‘Forever’ might just be her best yet – a gorgeous and intimate mid-tempo with a total sugar rush of a chorus. And the best part? She clearly has even better to come still.

Do make sure to check out the playlist, updating every Friday! There’s plenty of songs that didn’t quite make it into the highlights but might have done in any other week. At least check out that Koven album!

Music

New Music Friday: 7th February!

Well it’s gay christmas because one look at the playlist and you will see Agnes, Dagny, The Pussycat Dolls, Tove Lo, Aly & AJ, Halsey, Marina… all in one week! Let’s dive right in.

DAGNY / COME OVER

Dagny is a songwriting genius, it’s why Katy Perry looked to her to create the greatest song of all time, ‘Never Really Over’. ‘Come Over’ picks up where she left off – that sublime sugar sweet pop music and relentlessness that she just seems to excel at. I really, really, really need her in the studio with Perry right now.

AGNES / GOODLIFE

There aren’t many artists around that have had as interesting careers as Agnes, who already dropped an amazing EP out of the blue last year. Ditching the experimental 80s vibe of the EP, ‘Goodlife’ turns to STRINGS, and god she sounds gorgeous on it.

THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS / REACT

It’s finally here. Though the wait was certainly worth it for that saucy music video, wow. Penned by the shining talent Call Me Loop, ‘React’ finds PCD crash landing into 2020 with a contemporary ‘Buttons’ of sorts. It’s sexy, it’s smooth, it’s a total rush.

CYN / LONELY GUN

Admittedly Cyn’s output has veered between sounds so much that I never know what she’s going to do with each release, but even with that I couldn’t have expected ‘Lonely Gun’. Taken from the Birds of Prey soundtrack, it is a total RACKET and is all the better for it. A KT Tunstall-style banger with horns, Cyn certainly couldn’t make herself any louder.

INA WROLDSEN / PALE HORSES

Ina is another artist that continuously surprises with the breadth of her releases. Whilst a respected songwriter already, she has had little success on her own terms, and though she’s dropped a few casual appeals to success, for the most part she’s able to experiment and play her own games because of it. ‘Pale Horses’ is one of her best yet; an initially bonkers drum beat soon gives way to an enormous chorus bolstered with strings.

SO there were our highlights of the week but as always more can be found in our dedicated New Music Friday playlist below!

Music

New Music Friday: 24th January!

Well, it’s one or the other this week; ballads or bops. Bangers or bores. A distinct 70-bpm difference. At what point do we think the year starts to evolve its own taste? Does it take a world-shifting popstar like Eilish, or is it a more subtle move? Well, right now it’s a depressing January and if that’s anything to go by, 2020 will be a difficult one. With that in mind, let’s crash into the good ones;

Hey, check it out. Not a complete shadow of a band coming out of nowhere to drop a Calvin Harris song that’s better than the actual Calvin Harris song that dropped this week. COY‘s ‘Promises’ is an absolute riot. Nostalgic synths, thumping bass, siren-esque female vocals, check, check, check.

Emmi Elliott certainly isn’t going to win points for artwork. One look at that and I’m expecting Irish Folk akin to Una Healy, consider my surprise when a glittery banger comes through the speakers instead. It’s basically that huge anonymous Spotify generated pop song that we all know with a fabulous chorus.

Zara Larsson just needs to get into buying these kind of bops, doesn’t she? Well, Dua Lipa started with songs as huge as this and she’s now a world conquering popstar so there’s always time for Clara. ‘Thank Me Later’ is a trip back a few years to the simpler pop of ‘Last Dance’ and ‘Teenage Dream’, and there’s always room for that.

Every now and then an artist comes along with such an individual character and so much promise that it gets so frustrating to see it not translating to mainstream success. L Devine is one of those artists. Positively brimming with potential, she already has a strong as hell discography and the imagery down too. ‘Boring People’, like ‘Peachy Keen’ before it, appears to be trying to rectify that. Palatable without sacrificing her resolve, it’s how samples are supposed to work. Shine through them!

WELL. SHE’S HERE. Arguably one of the strongest vocalists of our generation, Hayley Williams has been in the public eye for a number of years as part of Paramore. Now she’s going alone, as many have wished for a long time, and it’s not too far from what we’ve come to expect of the band. Clearly influenced by Eilish, it’s surprisingly succinct and delicate, which makes her whole solo move MORE exciting because god damn, that voice can do wonders, which peaks through for just a moment with the fabulous “Nothing cuts like a Mother.”

More, more, more below. Check them out: