Friday, May 19, 2017

Katy Perry, Liam Payne and Camilla Cabello: The best and worst of New Music Friday

A mixed bag this week. There's a lot of "third buzz track before the album" activity, with the drop in quality that implies. But some gems are hidden in the mix, so stick around.

Katy Perry ft Nicki Minaj - Swish Swish
Stoking the flames of the Katy Perry / Taylor Swift feud, this is a no-holds-barred diss track. Sample lyric: "Karma’s not a liar, she keeps receipts."

But like Bad Blood before it, the red mist has blinded Katy to her better pop instincts. This is a depressingly pedestrian house groove with neither the bark nor the bite promised by the premise.

It's left to Nicki Minaj to give us some perspective: "Silly rap beefs just give me more cheques".

Selena Gomez - Bad Liar
As previously discussed, this is perfect.

Muse - Dig Down
Which finally answers the question, "What if Muse sounded like Take That?" The answer, as it turns out, is bloody brilliant.

Liam Payne - Strip That Down
Just what we needed: A British Jason Derulo.

RAYE - The Line
I saw RAYE perform this acoustically the other day, and was really impressed. But the single is itchy and over-produced, which smothers the song. It's a strange treatment for a song that discusses the boredom of waiting in line for a club ("yeah, we look like sickness, barely moving inches").

Pumarosa - Lion's Den
A hugely ambitious, six-minute single from doom-laden indie quintent Pumarosa. Like a heavier version of Radiohead's Pyramid Song (which is a recommendation, in case you were wondering).

Danger Mouse ft Run The Jewels and Big Boi - Chase Me
Built around samples from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Bellbottoms and taken from Edgar "Hot Fuzz" Wright's new film Baby Driver, this explodes out of the speakers like a molotov cocktail of awesome.

Royal Blood - Hook, Line & Sinker
A retreat to safe ground after James Bondian thrills of Lights Out. It probably "works better live".

Cigarettes After Sex - Each Time You Fall In Love
This woozy, hazy ballad about doomed love in LA sounds like an unholy union between St Etienne and Lana Del Rey.

Camilla Cabello - Crying In The Club
Interpolates Genie In A Bottle but otherwise sounds like a composite of every pop trope of the last five years. Disappointing, given the buzz about the former Fifth Harmony singer's supposedly flawless pop instincts.

Plan B - In The Name Of Man
"All the soap in the world won't wash away the blood that's on your hands." A song about the religious certitude that sent the UK and US into Iraq 14 years ago. It's safe to say Plan B is not a fan of Tony Blair.

Bebe Rexha ft Lil' Wayne - The Way I Are
"I'll never sing like Whitney but I still want to dance with somebody."

The week's best lyric squandered on the week's worst song.

Oh Wonder - Heavy
A real treat, this. Oh Wonder really flex their vocal muscles, darting around mushrooming synth lines that mirror the heart-bursting love-struck lyrics: "I could hold you endlessly," they swoon. "Stop the world, it's only you." Beautiful.

Well, that's quite enough of that. See you next week!

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