Friday, July 31, 2015

Four songs for Friday night

It's been a busy couple of days, so apologies for the gap in updates. To make up for it, here are four songs you should sample before the weekend is through...

1) Prince - Stare
Released exclusively on Spotify, just a couple of weeks after Prince pulled his music from every streaming service except Tidal? Well, if there's one thing Prince fans have come to expect it's a lack of consistency.

This starts brilliantly, with a killer bassline and a lyrical reference to Prince's Controversy-era breakthrough: "First things first, we like you to stare / We used to go on stage in our underwear". But it goes downhill quickly from there. This is very much Prince on funky autopilot.

2) One Direction - Drag me Down
"I got a river for a soul, and baby, you’re a boat."

To be honest, this is anonymous, if likeable, europop until the chorus makes an unexpected u-turn and breaks out the guitars. Designed for stadiums and, presumably, an imminent greatest hits collection.

3) Duke Dumont - Ocean Drive
Thankfully not a cover of the Lighthouse Family track, this is a return to form by Sir Duke after the underwhelming, underperforming The Giver.

Featuring legendary Chicago house vocalist Robert Owens, it's from the first in a series of 4-track EPs Dumont intends to release in lieu of what he calls "the old format of the LP" (ask your dad).

4) Alicia Keys - 28 Thousand Days
An intruiging mix of hard beats and hippy dippy optimism, heralding Alicia Keys' first album in five years.

"I'm back from hell, with my angel wings," sings Alicia, sounding more like she's just come back from Waitrose.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Weeknd has been set on fire

Don't worry, though, it's all in the name of art.

The Canadian singer - real name Abel Tesfaye - performs the stunt in the video for his slinky hit single Can't Feel My Face, which has been in the US top 10 all summer (but criminally ignored over here).

The clip, directed by Grant Singer, sees The Weeknd perform to a bar of disinterested punters, who yawn as they throw their drinks at him. When one decides to chuck a lighter at the stage, the alcohol is set alight and Tesfaye bursts into flames. After which, the audience can't get enough. The fickle world of showbiz, eh?

The striking video has debuted on Apple Music's Connect service - which they've finally made available to embed on external websites. Hello, 21st Century.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Little Mix take it to church

Reigning champions of the girl group premier league, Little Mix turned up for a triumphant Live Lounge session at Radio 1 this morning.

Aside from the expected cover of their number one single, Black Magic, they sang a stunning mash-up of Jason Derulo's Want To Want Me, and Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).

Here they are, accompanied by a ruddy great gospel choir.

Little Mix - Want To Want Me / I Wanna Dance


But listen back to the intro. Is it just me, or does Jade sing "I've got the shits on the floor?"

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Video: Lion Babe - Impossible

Don't just stand there, let's get to it. Strike a pose, there's nothing to it.


Lion Babe - Impossible

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The new Robin Schulz video is gloriously demented

After the Grammy award-winning remix of Waves and the exquisitely mournful Prayer In C, it seemed like everything Robin Schulz touched turned to gold.

So it must have been especially galling to see his solo single, Headlights, stall at number 96 in the UK chart. For whatever reason, the blissed-out dance track didn't strike a chord over here - although it was "big in Europe".

The follow-up, Sugar, seems more tailored for UK radio; and it comes with an exuberant video that's destined to rack up requests on the music TV channels. It features YouTube comedian Nathan Barnatt as a deranged cop who is so consumed with Schulz's music that he slams his car around Los Angeles, wreaking havoc on the streets.

Robin Schulz - Sugar

FYI: The young Justin Timberlake with the bouncy perm is Canadian singer Francesco Yates, who has recently been working with Pharrell. Expect to hear a lot more from him next year.

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Epic Florence and the Machine video is epic

Here's a cheery little poem for you:

"We're dying of thirst so we feast on each other.
The seas are still a violent mother.
The blood round here pours down like water.
Each wave a lamb led to the slaughter.
And like children you just can't teach
We break and break and break ourselves upon the beach"

The spoken-word verse appears at the end of a violent, distressing video for Florence and the Machine's new double A-side, Queen Of Peace/Long And Lost.

The 10-minute story, filmed on the Scottish isle of Easdale, portrays Florence as both the victim and the mediator in a splentic battle for her heart and soul. We meet her childhood boyfriend in flashback, then watch as he is repeatedly ripped away from her by her family and the islanders - the singer's eternal fate to be torn between loyalty and love.

There are also some nice flat caps.

Florence and the Machine - Queen of Peace / Long and Lost

Of all the songs released from Florence's number one record, How Big How Blue How Beautiful, these are my favourites - with the singer's vocal pyrotechnics reduced to a smouldering burn. The combination of the two singles could just be enough to convince doubters to shell out for the whole album.

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