Thursday, May 28, 2015

Drake, Beyonce and 13 other songs you may have missed

A semi-regular round-up of tracks I overlooked over the last week - some good, some bad, some unusual.

This week's star guests include:

1) Drake and Beyonce - Can I
Described perfectly by Vice as "a fat drizzle of maple syrup over an already delicious pancake stack".

2) Little Mix - Pretty Girls
Wondering what the Iggy / Britney song would have sounded like if Little Mix (who wrote the flipping thing) actually recorded it?

Well, wonder no more because The band performed an a capella snippet on Capital FM the other day, evidence of which is below.

Note that they need lyric sheets. Tsk. The youth of today, etc, etc.

3) Sigma ft Ella Henderson - Glitterball
More chilled than Sigma's standard sound, but a perfect fit for Ella's liquid vocals.

4) Wolf Alice - Bros
Echoing the lyrics, this is an Instagram-filtered tribute to childhood friends.

It's all a bit Dramarama (ask your dad) but the song brilliant.

5) Walk The Moon - Shut Up and Dance
A big, dumb pop song by a big, dumb rock band. It's going to be everywhere this summer.

6) Kendrick Lamar - These Walls (live on Ellen)
Kendrick turned up on Ellen's chat show for this faultless performance of To Pimp A Butterfly's most melodic moment (accompanied, for no discernible reason, by a portrait artist painting a dancing couple).

Afterwards, the rapper talked "fascinatingly" about his collaboration with Taylor Swift. "I've always been a fan of hers, and she was a fan of my music and she reached out and we got it done."

You can see both below.

7) D.R.A.M. - Cha Cha
Namedrop aleert: This was recommended to me by Lucas from Lionbabe, during an interview for the Beeb (it goes up tomorrow, I think).

It's one of those songs that succeeds despite itself. You'll find yourself involuntarily smiling as D.R.A.M. raps drowsily over an elevator-grade mariachi song and samples from Super Mario Bros.

D.R.A.M. stands for "Does Real Ass Music", by the way. Of course it does.

8) Bonnie McKee - Bombastic
"It’s a summer banger and the video is hopefully going to break the internet," Bonnie McKee told Billboard shortly before this song was released.

The internet remains unaffected in the 48 hours since it premiered, but if you ever wondered what an Avril Lavigne / Lady Gaga duet would sound like, you've found the song you're looking for.

9) Aston Merrygold - Get Stupid
Aiming for: Bruno Mars.
Achieving: Peter Andre.

10) Mark Ronson - I Can't Lose (Duke Dumont mix)
The story behind I Can't Lose is great. Mark Ronson co-wrote it with Jeff Bhasker (Alicia Keys' Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart) but they didn't have anyone to sing it. Instead of trawling Soundcloud, they went on a roadtrip in an Astro Van, driving up the Mississippi and stopping in Baton Rouge, Jackson, Memphis, Little Rock, St Louis and Chicago.

They heard "a few hundred amazing singers but we had a very specific vocalist in mind," he told The Guardian, "and when Keyone [Starr] came in the room in Jackson, MI and started singing, we realised she was the one."

Now the song has some added donk from Duke Dumont. And who amongst us can argue with added donk?

11) Asha - We Can Do This
Former street dance teacher and current vocalist Asha has released this kick-ass soul jam as her debut single.

With a coy, tremulous vocal she delivers the hackneyed line "can't nobody love you like me" in a way that makes it believable. Classy stuff.

12) Alesha Dixon - The Way We Are
Better than it has any right to be, Alesha's comeback slots nicely into the deep house revival while failing to stand out on its own merits.

Great dancing in the video, though.

13) Jess Glynne - Hold My Hand (live at the Big Weekend)
Worth it just to see the two kids, pressed up against the barrier at their first ever concert, gustily singing the wrong words.

14) Blur - Girls & Boys (live du Grand Journal)
"So apparently it was requested, this song," says Damon Albarn, looking for all the world like he'd rather be singing backup for Olly Murs.

Well, screw him. This is excellent.

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