New Music Friday 23/04/2021

Thank god it’s Friday! Another great day filled with the best new music.

Editor: Megan Hofman

Save Your Tears – The Weeknd & Ariana Grande (Remix)

Last night The Weeknd and Ariana Grande dropped their third collaboration together after Love Me Harder and off the table, called Save Your Tears (Remix) – a remix of his already existing single. The song has a prominent bassline and drums guiding the harmony, to which Grande softly harmonizes with her significant high notes. While The Weeknd’s first verse stayed true to the original, the second verse sung by Grande – and in her lower register which she rarely ever does – was rewritten, making it sound like the are singing from two different perspectives and experiences after a break up.

Their voices match perfectly, which we already know from their prior collaborations, and it’s almost like there has never been a Save Your Tears version without Grande. Just like the original song, undoubtedly the best from The Weeknd’s most recent album After Hours, Save Your Tears (Remix) has a catchy melody and lyrics that are simple but effective enough to paint a picture in your head, making you vividly imagine the situation they are singing about.

Words: Victoria Madzak

John Grant – Rhetorical Figure (Bella Union)

John Grant’s newest insight into his upcoming, ‘Boy from Michigan’ album explores an unexpectedly upbeat, almost new wave angle with light-hearted and theatrical vocal moments resulting in a totally off-beat and unforeseen approach from the master songwriter. ‘Rhetorical Figure’ is a surreal, Lewis Carrol-esque performance. Very little of the lyrics makes much sense and sounds unlike anything Grant has dived into before, which is actually totally typical of the American multi-instrumentalist. Although short, the timeline of John Grant’s singles leading to his fifth album is confusing, misleading and exciting.  

Beginning with ‘The Only Baby’, a nine-minute epic that plainly narrates the lunacy of colonisation and the lingering institutionalised racism from modern western society’s savage origin. Grant’s room-filling voice and snowballing piano-based composition is stretched to its full potential and effectiveness for the album’s first single. The second was the album’s title track, ‘Boy from Michigan’ which, after an atmospheric synth-scape, provides a certain reassurance that the trademark John Grant sound of deep, close vocals, short staccato beats and a swirl of synthesis has not been left behind for the newest project.  

So, after John’s longest and arguably most lyrically impassioned ballad, came a nostalgic classic, covering both recognisable sides of Grant’s reoccurring sounds. Then comes ‘Rhetorical Figure’ which is not so familiar. John casts spells of gibberish and channels his inner ‘Queen’ for quick and extreme switches of pitch in this ‘Talking Heads’ reminiscent single. Perhaps not as listenable or thought-provoking as ‘Glacier’ or ‘Sigourney Weaver’, ‘Rhetorical Figure’ still certainly gets the mind racing about what to expect next from one of music’s most unappreciated songwriters.

Words: Doug Phillips

Jorja Smith – Gone (FAMM)

British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith has announced her new 8-track project ‘Be Right Back’ which is due for release May 14th. Since releasing her hugely successful debut album ‘Lost and Found’, Jorja has gone from strength to strength, with the likes of Drake and Erykah Badu being fans of the 23 year old. She has since appeared on tracks with Giggs and Burna Boy but she revealed the news of her latest venture with the release of her new song ‘Gone’.

Jorja’s gorgeous vocals sing over a retro drum machine and classy piano loops bringing somewhat of a 90’s R&B nostalgia with a modern and fresh twist. Within the song feelings of regret are sung about and with lyrics which she has said is her “asking why people have to be taken from us.” but talking more on this track, she has said, “I love that this song, well any of my songs really, will be interpreted in different ways, depending on the experiences of the people listening”. 

For those who are fans of Jorja this is definitely one for you, she has kept to her sleek and sexy style and this is a more mellow track compared to her last release ‘Addicted’ which came out last month –  a transcending and seductive single about unrequited love that is definitely worth a listen. If any of these songs are to go by ‘Be Right Back’ will be the sensual and cathartic soundtrack to your sad girl summer.

Words: Hollie Sacket

Moses Boyd & SW2 – Bridge the Gap / Dirty South (GD4YA)

Anonymous South London producer, SW2 and modern jazz great, Moses Boyd collaborates with upcoming label GD4YA for two bright, restless jazz tunes, each with their own drastic remix for this collaborative, multi-genre project. ‘Bridge the Gap’ begins with dramatic ascending piano chords in a rigid, blocked rhythm which is perfectly contrasted with Moses’ bubbling, fluid drums that explode and pop as the track expands. Bass doubles the piano chords as horns and additional piano melodies dance around the newly established groove and provides a vivid and colourful arrangement. The composition rises and falls like a living, breathing and adaptive lifeform to allow the different parts to shine in turn. The only thing that could possibly be added to make this piece fuller is some muted guitar to accentuate the high-end, but they saved all the guitar for the second track, ‘Dirty South’. 

‘Dirty South’ opens with a crunchy, held synth note with a spacey guitar sprinting across it occasionally as Moses warms up the beat. The horns take a noticeable backseat as a rapid and unusually distorted guitar fills up the headspace alongside a creeping bassline and a polyrhythmic drumbeat. Despite the prevalent use of guitar for the second track on this project, the opportunity for a devastating guitar solo isn’t taken on ‘Dirty South’ which is a crying shame.  

The remixes from El-B and Sully totally recontexualise the originals and create something new and exciting, particularly Sully’s take on ‘Dirty South’ which appears to take Moses’s beat and reprograms it for a truly dirty drum and bass banger. Occasionally, a remnant of the original will make a quick appearance in the form of a brass stab or a single slap-bass note, but Sully’s remix is mostly  unrecognisable from the original. El-B’s remix of ‘Bridge the Gap’ is a more generic house reformation, less remarkable, especially when compared to the excitement contained in the live performances of the original.

Words: Doug Phillips

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