The day single people dread is coming close, yes, it is indeed time for Valentine’s day. This year it might feel lonelier than ever, even couples might not be able to spend this special day of love together. Which is why we are here, with the best new tunes to keep you company. On the plus side, music won’t let you down and will always be there, a pretty good valentine if you ask me. So, this Sunday, treat yourself, or your partner, with some chocolates, flowers and of course these new releases.
Editor: Megan Hofman
Taylor Swift – Love Story (Taylor’s Version) (Taylor Swift)
American’s sweetheart Taylor Swift has had a busy year, releasing not one, but two albums and rerecording her old material, which she did after her master recordings were sold against her will in 2019. This week she released the rerecorded version of ‘Love Story’ from the 2008 album ‘Fearless’, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
So how different is the 2021 version from the original? If you are a Taylor fan and put the songs next to each other there is a difference, her vocals have matured a lot, there is more depth to the song and the instruments are more prominent in the newer recording, especially the banjo and violin. However, she did manage to keep the sound of a romantic innocent 18 year-old singing about love and I reckon if you didn’t know which song was playing, you wouldn’t notice the little changes. Which is extremely difficult to achieve, especially since Taylor was 18-years-old recording ‘Fearless’, she is currently 31 and has matured in many ways. With her massively loyal fanbase I’m sure everyone will be playing Taylor’s version instead of the original.
Words: Megan Hofman
slowthai – TYRON (Method Records)
Unsubtly divided into two stylistically opposed narratives, slowthai’s sophomore album, TYRON is an effective and powerful project that provokes an entire spectrum of emotional responses from its unsuspecting listeners.As you’re initially assaulted by booming 808 bass, haunting instrumentals and rapid, enraged bars on the all-caps first disc, slowthai devises an equally potent approach to shock you with emotional, contemplative sentiment on disc 2. Disc 1 is best represented by the dark, grimey ‘DEAD’, while disc 2 is embodied by the gentle, dedicated ‘nhs’.
Although an unsubtle divide, there isn’t a simple clean cut, bangers in the first half, slow songs in the second. TYRON utilises the track list structure in a way that’s surprisingly rarely exploited or explored in UK hip-hop. Calculated and thoughtful, the track list unfolds in a way that brings out every potential for emotion, enjoyment and fun to its full fruition. While I didn’t anticipate the unique structuring to this album, slowthai hinted at the juxtaposition he was planning with the album’s singles. Beginning with the stunning James Blake-featured collision of worlds, ‘feel away’ and ending with the horror inspired ‘CANCELLED’, slowthai’s singles offered an abridged TYRON, with the throw away single, ‘Thoughts’ separating the two contrary dispositions.
Disappointments include an underutilised Denzel Curry feature on ‘Terms’ and the occasional feeling of individual tracks not being fleshed out enough for full satisfaction (‘CANCELLED’, ‘45 SMOKE’).
Despite the instrumentals almost contradicting themselves from the two halves, slowthai’s performance is typically rigid in its playfulness, truthfulness and ruthlessness throughout TYRON. For many, slowthai’s debut, Nothing Great About Britain cemented him as a UK hip-hop powerhouse but personally, TYRON is what has confirmed his capabilities and position in the scene for me.
Words: Doug Phillips
Kings of Leon – Echoing (RCA Records)
Kings of Leon are back! Since releasing their last album ‘WALLS’ in 2016, fans were delighted to hear that their new album ‘When You See Yourself’ is to be released on March 5. They have already shared two songs from the album ‘The Bandit’ and ‘100,000 people’ but their latest single ‘Echoing’ an archetypal Kings of Leon track, complete with classic guitar licks, full-sounding drums and lead singer, Caleb’s, unmistakable vocals. For someone who has been a fan since the days of ‘Only By The Night’, this track definitely has a familiar sound to it The twangy, vintage guitar, a thumping guitar beat – a song you want to hear live in a field with tens of thousands of people.
Perhaps, the familiarity and element of nostalgia of this track is something that is needed at the moment with the lyrics “I’m not scared of knowing, If we’re ever getting out, We could be here forever without a doubt” which could potentially be a reference to the feeling hopelessness we are feeling at the moment of ever getting out of constant lockdowns. Either way, I feel that fans of KOL should definitely be excited about this album.
Words: Hollie Sackett
Melina Blanco – Love In The Time Of Corona
Fellow BIMM London student Melina Blanco released her first EP “I Told Myself I Wouldn’t Write Another Sad Song” today, which was entirely recorded in her bedroom and includes a song with the intriguing title “Love In The Time Of Corona” – inspired by the book “Love In The Time Of Cholera” (Spanish: El Amor En Los Tiempos Del Cólera) by Gabriel García Márquez. “Love In The Time Of Corona” is the only upbeat song on this release but even though it’s melody is happy and catchy, not really fitting the EP’s title, the lyrics prove you otherwise. Blanco sings about the struggles of feeling lonely and being left with her own thoughts during COVID-lockdown, desperately wishing for a significant other to keep her company. It is her “most relatable” song, as she claims herself and we agree – just in time to make all the singles cry on Valentine’s Day.
Words: Victoria Madzak