Feb 5th, NMF!

One of the highlights this week is the best song of the year so far. It’s a packed week, but the one diamond… *chefs kiss* Get into it.

THE MIDNIGHT / NEON MEDUSA

Quietly pushing their 80s-Arcade sound to the max, The Midnight take their biggest leap yet. A trance-inducing banger of absolutely epic proportions. Basically every other 80s inspired production can take a bow and leave now this has arrived because it’s peaked. I’m basically frothing at the mouth imagining the wave of pop stars that could take this and run with it… Katy Perry belting over these absolutely frigid synths and wild guitar? Make it happen, Lord.

ZARA LARSSON / NEED SOMEONE

Amongst the wreckage of Larsson’s lost legacy comes one of her best songs yet, ‘Need Someone’. That recognisable blend of frothy piano, curvy bass and melodic chorus… it’s astounding that literally anything else from this stretched out era was released over this. Similar to ‘Ruin My Life’ it sounds exactly like you’d expect Zara Larsson to sound now and yet still doesn’t sound boring? It’s a gorgeous bubbly little cheesecake of wonder.

LIZA OWEN / JOSIE

Any other week would have this as the runaway gold star amongst the highlights – the Weeknd synths and sultry chorus a perfect match for that subtle country sworl of a vocal. It’s always amazing when a song can chug along slowly and still hook as much as a 150bpm banger, and it’s the sea shanty-esque chorus which does most of the work. Simply brilliant.

METTE / PETRIFIED

Debut singles are always a difficult one. As much as first impressions count, it needs to be enough to hit the ground running. Mette hits the ground with a full damn sprint – the video and song both something deep established acts still don’t put out. The ground work has been put in for Mette, that much is clear, and the chorus almost threatens to shift into inspired-by-BANKS territory, but those intimately delivered verses that contrast with it brings it into its own little world. And the video! Lord, the video. A star.

GIRLHOUSE / LOADED GUN

Undoubtedly the warmest song of the entire week here, an extremely MUNA-esque drive through imposter syndrome. If you look a little deeper than the (gorgeous!) sonic palette, you’ll find razor sharp lyricism that contrasts deeply with the warmth at hand.

feelings turned to blisters
turned to callus on a broken thumb
debated getting stitches
but i do this for adrenaline


Just look at that verse. Look at it. It’s poetry.

March 29th, NMF!

P!NK / HUSTLE

“Don’t hussle me, don’t fuck with me.”

Beautiful Trauma showed a more focused, mature P!nk that catered perfectly to her well developed adult contemporary fan base, and it already appears like Hurts 2B Human is making steps to coalesce that with her usual RAH! shtick. In our culturally ageist and sexist landscape, it’s difficult to fault an artist that recognises a commercial peak and decides to follow it with music that caters to the wave, as opposed to breaks with the formula.

‘Hustle’ is a fiesty piece of the same old pie for P!nk, her vocal returning to its characteristic and sharp I’m Not Dead days, with some new doo-whop and Imagine Dragons-esque influences thrown in to keep it fresh. It’s interesting and endearing to see P!nk continue on establishing this punkish attitude as she continues to age, instead of turning to the smaltzy AC half of Beautiful Trauma would suggest.

BILLIE EILISH / BAD GUY

“I’m that bad type / Make your mama sad type
Make your girlfriend mad type / Might seduce your dad type”

You’re either going to get Billie Eilish’s appeal or you’re not, her ASMR mumble-core vocal is going to either force you to throw your phone or it’s going to send shivers through your spine. ‘Bad Guy’ takes Eilish’s spook-tastic appeal and puts a quivering spin on it, contorting a relatively simple hook into an energetic and fun three minutes. Without watering down her appeal at all, it perfectly packages every quirk so far into what is simply… a brilliant song. The way she purrs and coos, her vocal mastered to within an inch of its life, as if she’s right there behind your speaker. It’s spellbinding.

ZARA LARSSON / DON’T WORRY BOUT ME

“Now I been sleeping okay.”

Music labels are often the bane of every pop fans existence, as they stand in the way of common sense single releases and hold their stars to ransom if they do not conform to a particular sense of style. ‘Don’t Worry Bout Me’ was one of those, almost a victim to label boss expectation. Stepping far away from the Euro-pop stylings of ‘Ruin My Life’, ‘Don’t…’ is a far more contemporary Rihanna inspired pop-bop that positively bounces. In fact, it sounds increasingly similar to Mabel, and I wonder whether the label only let it go after seeing the success she has received with this sound…

GABRIELLE APLIN / NOTHING REALLY MATTERS

“I don’t know why I’m scared of forever, but it’s now or it’s never.”

Gabrielle Aplin has been producing world class music for years, and since her incredible sophomore album has moved into producing world class pop music. ‘Nothing Really Matters’ is a showcase of fantastic British pop music, showcasing Aplin’s razor sharp talent at songwriting. A swelling build up of a bridge? Check. A short and sweet chorus that builds and builds before cutting away? Check. A euphoric breakdown following? Check.

FOLLY RAE / FULL STOP

“No subtle meaning between the line.”

Folly Rae up and stole my heart with ‘You Don’t Love Me’ just last year, showing a unique pop mastery and a voice that stands out from the crowd. ‘Full Stop’ recalls Sigrid and Tove Styrke with its jagged production and witty lyricism, but above all there’s a popstar here that is damn well exciting. Full of character from beginning to the end, it’s the exact kind of song you need to blare out from the car all through the summer.

EMILY VAUGHN / PIECES

“Everybody wants a piece of me, and I’m running out of pieces.”

‘Pieces’ might just be my favourite song of the week, but it took a few listens to get me there. Most notably because the song really steps into its own at the last 3 quarters, introducing a pounding kick that elevates the hook to an entirely new level. It’s an interesting addition, and makes you question why the entire song doesn’t maintain that relentless drive, but the slow evolution of vocoder-heavy ballad into Tove Lo-esque banger gives this such a unique bite. Filled with melancholy and a delectable hook, it really would feel at home on a Tove Lo album, which is always a compliment.