Friday, February 24, 2017

The best and worst of new music Friday: 24 February 2017

A vintage week if you like Coldplay and songs that go Wzrrp-worp. Not so much if you're into anything else at all. Sort it out, "the music industry".

Anyway, here's a rundown of the week's best new ones. And the Coldplay one, too.

1) Billie Eilish - Bellyache
Why put all the big artists at the top, when someone new could do with a leg up? California's Billie Eilish recently signed to Interscope, and has a great acousti-pop sound that'll appeal to fans of Ellie Goulding and Aurora.

She wrote her first song at the age of four, about falling into a black hole and being happy to be there. Her new single, Bellyache, finds her plotting revenge on her boyfriend for an undisclosed transgression. It's fair to say things don't go well for him: "Where's my mind? Maybe it's in the gutter, where I left my lover".

2) Calvin Harris ft Frank Ocean and Migos - Slide
Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in a post-chorus environment.

3) Zedd ft Alessia Cara - Stay
"Alessia and I first met at rehearsals for the HALO Awards, where Alessia, Daya and I performed together," writes Zedd. "I've loved her songs before but realised that she's an unbelievable talent when we started rehearsing together, so I asked her if she was interested in making music with me."

The answer was a resounding OF COURSE I DO and the result is the best of this week's onslaught of producer+vocalist collabs.

4) The Chainsmokers ft Coldplay - Something Just Like This
The title is clunky, the beats are generic, the melody is pedestrian. No-one is doing their best work here (except, perhaps, the team that animated the lyric video).

5) Lana Del Rey - Love
Already covered extensively on the blog, this is very much business as usual while managing to be one of Lana's strongest-ever singles.

6) Ed Sheeran ft Stormzy - Shape Of You
One of the highlights of Wednesday's Brit Awards, this collaboration got an official release today as part of a Ed Sheeran remix package. The guy has sold nearly 2 million singles over the last seven weeks. What does he think this is, 1994?

7) Thundercat ft Kendrick Lamar - Walk On By
Thundercat played bass on most of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly album. Now the rapper repays the favour by adding a typically virtuoso verse to this melancholy R&B track. At the time of writing, its only got 2,000 views on YouTube. It deserves 100 times that.

8) The 1975 - By Your Side
A vocoderised cover of the Sade classic (Grammy-nominated for best vocal performance in 2002, but beaten by Nelly Furtado's I'm, Like, A Bird). Released in aid of War Child, this one of those rare charity singles that doesn't sound like it was knocked off in an afternoon.

9) Powers - Heavy
Powers are pop heavyweights Mike Del Rio and Crist Ru, whose credits include Kylie and Selena Gomez. They've just served up this calorific slice of pop that's equal parts Rocksteady-era No Doubt and Lady Gaga on a good day. Nice work.

2,000,002) Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign - Swalla
A song about cum.

Sorry about that last one, but I refuse to suffer alone. Sometimes I wonder what did we do to deserve Jason Derulo? Whatever it was, I'm sorry and we won't do it again.

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