Friday, 19 May 2017

New Music Friday 19/05

There are some big name releases this week that makes up for last week's drought. Still, that means yet another 1D solo single and yet another Katy Perry single amongst some otherwise very good pop.


Liam Payne ft. Quavo - Strip That Down


 Liam Payne & Quavo - Strip That Down

I was listening to a great podcast recently called 'And The Writer Is...' in which Savan Kotecha noted how 1D moaned in the early days about being considered a manufactured band and wanted more control over their musical output. Now they're releasing their solo material, it's clear that Kotecha was right - they need professional help. At least, though, the other members of the band have released music that suits their personalities: weed-fuelled Zayn, striving-for-authenticity Harry, forgettable Niall, basic Louis. The worst thing about Strip That Down is that by the end of listening, I still have no idea who Liam Payne really is.


Katy Perry ft. Nicki Minaj - Swish Swish


 Katy Perry - Swish Swish

What the hell happened to political Perry? That lasted all of... *checks Chained To The Rhythm*... 3:58. After the dire innuendo of Bon App├ętit, we now have a 90s R&B throwback with a "kiss the ring" lyric and a refusal to say the word bitch that's apparently a petty diss attempt at Taylor Swift. Nicki Minaj is the best thing about it.


Plan B - In The Name Of Man


 Plan B - In The Name Of Man

From one political activist singing a diss track to another, Plan B returns with a song clearly aimed at Donald Trump, amongst other world leaders. "Hey man, what are you up to there?" he questions, "there's blood on your hands". Unlike the aggressive hip-hop of 'Ill Manors', this is a hymn-like ballad with a hard-hitting message - one that certainly needs to be spoken, but it's delivery here is a little heavy-handed.


Muse - Dig Down


Muse - Dig Down

Musically this is more 'The 2nd Law' than 'Origin of Symmetry', though its message is very 'The Resistance'. "Dig down," Matt Bellamy implores us over wobbly electronic bass, "you must find a way". There's a healthy dose of Queen here in its grandeur (though the revolutionary message is more We Will Rock You the musical), but the accompanying dystopian video is superb.


Selena Gomez - Bad Liar


 Selena Gomez - Bad Liar

I don't hate this. But I also don't love it. It's all Talking Heads sample bassline and percussion. It's light and fizzy. It's...ok. It's no Sober or Good For You, that's for sure.


Camila Cabello - Crying In The Club


 Camila Cabello - Crying In The Club

Squeaky-voiced ex-girlband member releases generic EDM-pop track that shamelessly copies Christina Aguilera's Genie In A Bottle for its hook. Next.


Royal Blood - Hook, Line & Sinker


Royal Blood - Hook, Line & Sinker

As a two-piece band, Royal Blood strip rock back to the essentials: big riffs, big drums, big vocals. The setup doesn't allow for much versatility, which is probably why their new music for the forthcoming second album doesn't seem to have advanced their sound. This is a decent follow up single to Lights Out's strong return: aggressive and catchy but ultimately limited.


Phoenix - Ti Amo


 Phoenix - Ti Amo

Ti Amo is the title track from the Parisian band's sixth album and it's so many things at once. It's fun, fizzing alt-pop, but with a darker side to its lyrics. It's a celebration of Europe with its chorus line "Love you! Ti amo! Je t'aime! ¡Te quiero!", its perennial question "Champagne or Prosecco?" and its wonderful symbol for sexual frustration "this melted gelato". It's a song about masculine sexual desperation in its refrain "don't tell me no, don't tell me no" and how men will try anything to get in someone else's pants. And its cooing falsetto "open up your legs" is both cheekily delicious and slightly creepy.


RAYE - The Line


 RAYE - The Line

Singer RAYE was named at number three on the BBC's Sound of 2017 list, but so far she's mainly featured on a handful of high profile releases from Jax Jones, Jonas Blue and Charli XCX. With The Line she's delivered a proper solo hit that amusingly and sassily details queueing to get in the club. It's a fun pop track that's bound to be soundtracking Saturday nights for the foreseeable future.


Astrid S - Party's Over


 Astrid S - Party's Over

We end this week's post with some scandi-pop - Astrid S, who's in a fierce battle with Sigrid to become Norway's premier pop act. Party's Over is basically an icy cool version of Miley Cyrus' We Can't Stop, pouring champagne and making it rain to muted synths and sharp offbeats rather than a garish cartoon. The sigh into silence in the middle eight will leave you breathless.