August 28th, NMF!

DOWNLOAD ALBUM: Katy Perry – Smile

KATY PERRY / CRY ABOUT IT LATER

Frankly I can’t begin this without addressing the reviews Katy’s new album has been getting across the board. Each seem to have a problem with her mere existence and her insistence on releasing empowering music in a pandemic (something only she seems to deserve the criticism for). Screw the reviews, ignore them, because the album is a total triumph and possibly her best yet. ‘Cry About It Later’ brings masterful songwriters Sasha Sloan and Noonie Bao on board, and the result is a pulsing anthem to letting go of the pain for at least one night. With that sparkling pop-polish that we’ve come to know Katy for, it really is a triumph.

LUNA SHADOWS / THE NINETIES

‘The Nineties’ soars in part because of its dedicated video-game identity and production, which is still relatively fresh with its Allie-X/Terror Jr style melody and slinky synthline, but it’s the earworm of a chorus that takes this up a notch. Some songs just don’t need to explode.

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DISCLOSURE, KELIS / WATCH YOUR STEP

Kelis as a vocalist does not garner the praise she deserves, perhaps because of a career overshadowed at times by the fine gimmickry of ‘Milkshake’. Here she flits from smooth to raspy, a perfect fit for the more subdued production, and really Kelis was built for dance music. Helped too by Disclosure’s evolved touch – there’s an unexpected depth to this that takes you right back to the dirty dance floor.

Download MP3: Sasha Sloan — House with No Mirrors | by Simondominique |  Aug, 2020 | Medium

SASHA SLOAN / HOUSE WITH NO MIRRORS

Not content with having one song on the list with her efforts involved, Sloan surprise dropped the next single from her debut album and it’s that exact kind of introspective and cut-throat mid-tempo we’ve gotten used to with her by now. Inspired by her eating disorder developments and her dysmorphia, it’s a delicate undertaking of how much of an impact our thoughts can have on us. It’s pretty damn easy to see why people are snapping Sloan songs up left and right recently.

Katy Perry - Resilient - 9jaballers.site

KATY PERRY / TEARY EYES

Yes, Perry deserves a second treatment here. ‘Teary Eyes’ is that exact frothy sequel to ‘Hummingbird Heartbeat’ and ‘Walking on Air’ we’ve been calling for. There really isn’t anything quite like it, and it’s hard not to swept up in its relentlessness, especially as that final chorus fires in. As above, there’s completely void criticism that Perry is trying to be overly happy in a dark time but if not now, when? Trust me, get those headphones on and let yourself float away to this sherbet-filled mega banger.

That’s it for our highlights, but remember that you can catch all the rest on our dedicated playlist below!

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)

New Music Friday: 17th January

We’re back. The world is well rested and a whole new year of music is before us, with a few NMF’s under our belt, let me assure you that not much has been missed in the interim. If you don’t have time to check this blog out weekly, make sure to follow the dedicated Spotify playlist for weekly arrangements (Seriously I wake up at like 5AM just to update it).

THIS WEEK:

Gabrielle Aplin is back with the first properly good album of the year. Frankly her songwriting ability continues to astound me and anyone who can write a masterpiece like ‘Miss You’ deserves the world, but here we have proper good pop songs galore with off-kilter ‘Love Back’, the glimmering ‘Invisible’, the terrifyingly sad ‘Dear Happy’. It’s brilliant.

Luna Shadows has dropped the best Allie X song of the last few years. Fizzling production is the first thing you’ll notice, but its the chorus that’ll keep you there.

Rina Sawayama transcends time and space. Sometimes people are born to be popstars, you know? ‘Comme Des Garcons’ is a club-inspired bass-squirming letter to understatement. Following the brash ‘STFU!’, it’s just… keep me on my toes, Rina!

Halsey has a boring new album out that wasn’t always going to be boring but turned boring because she apparently wasn’t angry anymore. ‘Still Learning’ is really great so only continue this sentence if you’ve already listened to it once………………. Okay, so Ed Sheeran wrote this. He’s all over it, and it kind of ruins it, doesn’t it?

Ella Eyre can’t come to the phone right now, why? Because she’s DEAD.

Hayley Kiyoko rounds off her brilliant E.P/Project with the delightfully weird ‘she’. The verses are better than the chorus but they’re really good. So is the bridge.

Tove Lo‘s ‘Bikini Porn’ is the kind of song only she could release, and she’s recruited Finneas (of Billie Eilish family fame) to help. Unfortunately it’s not very good, but maybe it’s a huge grower? Admittedly ‘Disco Tits’ was exactly that.

Lauv is really good but trying to write about his new song is proving to be pre zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

November 29th, NMF!

Compared to recent weeks, we have a weaker effort to sift through this time. Luckily there are a few gems in the rough for our highlights as we head towards the close of the year. Check them out:

ASHS / PARANOID

You may already know ASHS as Alyssa Reid, having had brief success in 2011 with ‘Alone Again’. Initially intended to be somewhat of a side project, Alyssa has decided to put ASHS at the forefront and… well, it’s a good job because quite honestly the songs are brilliant. ‘Paranoid’ is a breath of fresh air, it’s Terror Jr meets So Below with a more grounded touch, an absolutely infectious epic. At the heart of it is a stunning R&B ballad with an equally gorgeous melody, but its the production that builds on that created world. An absolute win from every angle.

CAPULETS / SWEET ENOUGH

It’s going to take a lot to rebuild Xenomania’s lost legacy, and unfortunately their excessive pop touch hasn’t been quite the same since the era of Girls Aloud, but every now and then there’s another snap of genius. ‘Sweet Enough’ is brilliant because it actually focuses in their typically sporadic style, culminating in a classic Eurythmics styled epic dragged into the 21st century. There’s still a lot of air in the system, and it’s crying out for a fuller vocal, but the production deserves the commendation because we need more of this Xenomania.

DEVON BALDWIN / FIRE

Devon should already be on your radar, especially considering I push her at every opportunity. Already delivering an EP worth of masterfully produced mid-tempos in 2019, ‘Fire’ picks up where she left off in a much warmer capacity. Her icy production and ethereal vocal is trademark at this point, and in that regard ‘Fire’ delivers everything you need from a Devon song; atmospheric production that only amplifies the breathtaking delivery in front of it.

MALOU PRYTZ / IF IT AIN’T LOVE

Taking inspiration from The Saturdays, this time with correct grammar, Malou provides the bubblegum you need to get you through the week. Though the delivery gives you a sharpness the likes of Carly Rae usually trade for a genre-trade wisp, the production is exactly as bouncy as you need it to be. Designed to be cranked out of the car window, this is a welcome splash of sugar in a pretty sour week.

PETE TONG, HER-O, ZARA LARSSON / WITH EVERY HEARTBEAT

Well, would you look at this. A cover of one of the greatest songs of all time is a highlight of the week, but just as much for its own reasons. Zara Larsson fits the role of Robyn to a T, delivering a heartbreakingly good vocal, and there’s even a full orchestra version on the album too. This is a song that never ages, never tires and ultimately anyone could toy with and still have a great result, but there really is something to be said about how much emotion this still manages to translate and pull through. Now I’m craving a remix with Zara leading!

We’ve uncovered a massive 28 highlights this week, which can all be found below in our Eyes On NMF Playlist, so do check it out for any that you might have missed and give it a follow. That way you’ll never miss a great song!

May 31st, NMF!

Is this… Is this the greatest New Music Friday of all time? This is the time to grab a coffee, plug your earphones in and dedicate a good hour to this plethora of amazing pop songs. 2019 has never sounded better.

KATY PERRY / NEVER REALLY OVER

Returning with a point to prove, Perry really came back with her best lead single yet. Sampling Dagny’s equally amazing ‘Love You Like That’, there’s no other pop girl that has their finger on the pulse quite like Katy. ‘Never Really Over’ is absolutely exhilarating from start to finish; a total revolution of her Teenage Dream sound with the much-sought Swedish touch and a prechorus that SWELLS like an ocean into a chorus of relentless wordplay, leaving you literally gasping for breath. ‘Never Really Over’ is the sound of Katy Perry laughing at everyone who really though Witness was the nail in her coffin – it really is never over.

SASHA SLOAN / THOUGHTS

‘Thoughts’ is a brutal exercise in trepanation: the sound of Sasha Sloan drilling deep holes into her skull and allowing us to watch the demons that crawl out. She’s been somewhat of a revelation for songwriting over the past year or two: tackling her own mental health and severe self-doubt with a fearless optimism. But even beyond the piercing lyricism, ‘Thoughts’ stews in its stunning and minimal production to create a melancholic mid-tempo masterpiece.

LAUV / SAD FOREVER

‘Sad Forever’ takes similar cues to ‘Thoughts’, and it’s always great to see male artists exploring emotions we are told culturally to repress. Sonically it’s very familiar to ‘i’m so tired’ which is unsurprising considering it was both fantastic and a minor hit. I do wish the high squeak of the guitar string was phased out slightly, but nitpicking aside it’s built to be stuck in your head for days. “I don’t want to be medicated” he sings, exploring the use of antidepressants to keep us happy. It’s a much needed insight into problems so many are facing now, hidden deep inside of a bop. Great!

INGRID MICHAELSON / JEALOUS

You may or may not know Ingrid Michaelson already, but none of that really matters because ‘Jealous’ sounds like the debut of a whole new artist – one of those upcoming Spotify girls that have been in label purgatory for years slowly working on her craft. ‘Jealous’ sounds like the hit Julia Michaels has been searching for since ‘Issues’. A perfect blend of electro-pop and her traditional songwriter self… considering her last album was a collection of Christmas covers, and it has been three years since an original, consider me both surprised and elated.

CHERYL / LET YOU

There are half a dozen versions of this out already; the demo, two remixes and an orchestral version. Luckily the single version is the best of the lot, the highlight being its ecstatic Carly Rae production in contrast to an incredibly sleepy vocal. Cheryl’s real star power comes in her performances, and I can already envision the fantastic dance break she’ll hammer into that middle-8.

XYLO / YES & NO

‘yes & no’ was the big surprise this week, holding its own amongst some real heavy hitters – think Julia Michaels on a depressing acid trip and you’re halfway there. The sultry and sedated vocal giving off a positively creepy vibe alongside phenomenal production that would sound right at home on a horror video game or two.

I could sit and write about these songs all day, it really is the best New Music Friday you’ll find in a long time. Make sure to check out the rest or you’ll be missing out on some huge bangers.