Thank god it’s Friday! Even though most of us are focused on the future, where everything is possible. We should not forget to be conscious of the present, especially when it’s filled with brand new music. Our picks for this week include, Beabadoobee, Taylor Swift, LIL NAS X and more!
Editor: Megan Hofman
Beabadoobee – Last Day On Earth (Dirty Hit)
We all know many artists take inspiration to write music from what’s going on in the world, which is why it’s no surprise we will end up with lots of songs written about the pandemic. However, everyone has their own view on the current situation. With ‘Last Day On Earth’ Bea or better known as Beabadoobee contemplates what she would have done if she knew the entire world was going into lockdown or as she describes it the ‘Last Day On Earth’.
It’s no secret the artists signed to independent label Dirty Hit like to collaborate. Last week No Rome released the single ‘Spinning’ with Charli XCX and The 1975. On ‘Last Day On Earth’ Bea worked together with both Matty Healy and George Daniel, from The 1975. This is probably why it sounds very much like their 2020 release ‘Me & You Together Song’
Looking at her previous releases ‘Last Day On Earth’ seems very innocent, nostalgic and fun. Her vocals are soft and more on the background, which is why it’s difficult to understand what she is actually singing about. But with a very catchy chorus, is it really important we hear what she is saying? We’ll just make up our own lyrics, like most of us do anyway.
Words: Megan Hofman
Brockhampton (feat. Danny Brown) – BUZZCUT (RCA Records)
It is just typical of the legendary rap collective, Brockhampton to reinvent their sound and make such a powerful creative statement with one comeback single, and after their emotionally pained and beautiful album from 2019, ‘Ginger’ LDN would expect nothing less from the self-declared “best boyband since one-direction”.
With the exception of a Dua Lipa remix and a slowthai centered interlude, the modern-day Wu-Tang Clan has purely relied on their local talent to create colourful, excitable and vibrant alternative hip-hop bangers, but premiering at one in the morning (GMT) on Thursday, Brockhampton made history with their first track with featured talent. The artist to have such an honour is one of alternative hip-hop’s most recognisable and unique voices, Danny Brown.
Although receiving generally decent critical and fan reception for their last project, ‘Ginger’, many were crossing their fingers for a kind of return to form from the Texas-formed boyband, ideally, a banger, reminiscent of their beloved 2017 ‘Saturation’ album trilogy. And I can’t imagine any fan being disappointed with BUZZCUT. Even the title, one word, all caps possibly hints at a creative format that’s not been exercised consistently since the aforementioned 2017 album trio.
The energy contained in this single is unbound, wild and what Brockhampton does best. Front man Kevin Abstract delivers the first passionate, shouty, breathless verse over an equally crude, bombastic beat. After an anthemic chorus, Danny enters through a roaring guitar impact with his staple crazed, garbled delivery, perfect for the manic, strobe-like instrumental. The psychedelia snowballs after Danny’s verse as Joba sings and Merlin yells out the outro for a calmer, more meaningful close to such a tireless single.
Words: Doug Phillips
Taylor Swift ft Maren Morris – You All Over Me (Taylor’s Version)
Ahead of the release of the re-recorded version of her 2008 album ‘Fearless’, Taylor Swift dropped ‘You All Over Me’ which features country singer Maren Morris. This track is an unreleased single that never made it onto the album and fans will be delighted to know this is just one of 6 never heard before songs that were intended for the album. Being over a decade old, there’s a huge sense of nostalgia that comes flooding back with the opening verse which takes you back to a time of ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong To Me’ with her signature country-pop acoustic guitar, heartfelt harmonicas, twinkling pianos, and poetic lyrics that reflect the feelings of still having feelings for a former partner. Maren Morris lends her vocals in the chorus and later verses which really adds to the country element to the song, once again bringing back memories and nostalgia to the fans who have been there since the early days. It’s been 13 years since the release of ‘Fearless’, the album which helped turn Taylor into a pop icon, but judging from what we’ve heard so far, the excitement and innocence that was vital to this record will still be there.
Words: Hollie Sackett
Lil Nas X – MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) (Columbia)
After his dominating 2019 hit collab with Billy Ray Cyrus, ‘Old Town Road’ and maintaining his own hype with hits like ‘Rodeo’, ‘Panini’ and ‘Holiday’, pop/hiphop artist, Lil Nas X is likely on track for a new hit with his newest effort, ‘MONTERO’.
A brief, spark of a single, ‘Montero’ flicks through sections of the song structure rapidly, speeding through verse 1, pre-chorus, chorus and entering verse 2 all in the first minute. Although a fun single, ‘Montero’ is so over-produced that any character from Nas’ vocal delivery is squeezed out to the point that it’s hard to imagine that a human ever recorded it to begin with. It begins with a snippet of a flamenco-esque guitar, however this is exchanged for lifeless, possibly even midi (like what can be heard on ‘Old Town Road’) acoustic guitar. The melodies are cute and the harmonies are manufactured to sound like butter for the ears, yet the robotic, dull and safe production of the track leaves this single feeling hollow and surface-level. But as a Lil Nas X fan, you won’t be disappointed.
Words: Doug Phillips
Demi Lovato – Dancing With The Devil (Island Records)
Last night Demi Lovato released ‘Dancing With The Devil’, the leading single to her same-titled YouTube documentary series, which was released earlier this week, and to her new album ‘The Art Of Starting Over’, coming next Friday.
The anthem-like ballad starts off with a simple and monotone piano melody, her vocals in focus. The brutally honest lyrics are self-reflecting and personal, and almost feel like it was a diary entry that no one was ever supposed to read. The built up of the chorus catches the listener, musically and emotionally, as Lovato’s powerful voice sings “I was dancing with the devil […] almost made it to heaven” – referring to her near death experience from two years ago, when she accidentally overdosed on drugs and was hospitalized, with doctors fighting for 24 hours straight to bring her back to live.
Lovato’s message to her fans, friends and family is clear: she is aware of her mistakes and the pain she caused herself and everyone involved in the past, and grateful to be alive for a second chance. Let’s hope that she is genuinely content in herself and her decisions today and that she found a healthy way to cope with her inner demons. After everything she went through, happiness is what she deserves.
Words: Victoria Madzak
black midi – John L/Despair (Rough Trade Records)
The London based experimental, noise rock group’s first sign of life for 2021 is a pair of singles that couldn’t be more juxtaposed if they tried. Beginning with the unhinged and horrific, ‘John L’, black midi chases you down and provides the soundtrack for the pursuit at the same time. Cacophonies of rushed, panicked distorted guitar sprint alongside a manic rumble of driving drumbeats. Hitchcockian strings pierce over both parts, driving home the sensation that you’re running for your life and the gap is closing in. At around the fifty second mark, a jarring silence is triggered, broken by a twisted burst of dark instrumental stabs before submerging the listener in a recurring series of unbearable silences that makes you want to hold your breath as to not give away your position.
The abstract and bizarre lyrics are given a sinister emphasis by the harrowing vocal delivery which is magnified by the overwhelming reverb and delay that scales the part tenfold. The arrangement and construction of this mess of noise and grating rhythms is utterly deranged and does nothing but torment and scare the listener, in short, it’s one of their best works yet.
‘John L’s more mild-mannered sibling is the forlorn ‘Despair’ which is a warm yet strained acoustic track that holds a vivid sense of sadness despite a generally pleasant composition. Lead singer, Geordie Greep’s vocals take a familiar form of almost unintelligible drawl that wavers and groans at frenzied intervals. The two singles partnered together creates an exhausting and paranoid experience that is genius and no-doubt premeditated by the mad scientists from black midi.
Words: Doug Phillips