Courtney Barnett – Before You Gotta Go
The Australian rocker delivers a folk-rock song which has an almost classic, rock ‘n’ roll feeling to it. The lyrics are comforting, and Barnett’s singing is characteristically dry and witty. Barnett’s upcoming album, which is coming out in November, is shaping up to be a pleasant listen.
Megan Thee Stallion – Outta Town Freestyle
The Houston-raised rapper is back with what she does best: incinerating her rivals and haters with bars upon bars of lyrical ferocity. Some lyrical highlights are “Your vocab don’t go past “period”. Ho, don’t question me / Anyone publicly hating is making less than me” as well as “B*tches buy one little purse and think we proud of them / The bar gonna stay in hell ’cause the Twitter comments gonna lie to them”. One YouTube commenter has remarked that they wouldn’t mind Megan releasing an album consisting of only her freestyles, and we agree.
Elton John, Dua Lipa – Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)
The king of ballads joins hands with the reigning queen of pop for a duet that revisits two of his old hits: “Sacrifice” and “Rocket Man”, almost as if to say that Mr. John is passing on the baton of pop music to Ms. Lipa. And it’s a brilliantly remixed mashup: at once reverential to the bygones of pop music and a positive nod to the future of youthful pop ahead. Dua’s generously hearty vocals lend themselves well to Elton John’s deeply compassionate voice. And producer PNAU updates the two golden oldies with a very 2021 dance flavour.
Stefflon Don & Ms. Banks – Dip
Stefflon Don and Ms. Banks, two heavy-weight rappers from the UK, collaborate for an extremely enjoyable, twerkable track. The flute-driven hook twists and turns to entice the listener and is supported expertly by the afro beat-type percussion. The tough attitude is there, but the two rappers, who are legends in the making, don’t quite go full out, and the track comes to a finish a bit too soon.
IAMDDB – Silver Lines
The UK-based singer has returned after a months-long absence with an anthem that is essentially a love letter to the black women who helped heal her after she underwent a particularly painful breakup. The female-empowerment track has the signature jazzy groove of an IAMDDB track but with a stroke of dance pop brushed in.
Bella Poarch & Sub Urban – INFERNO
The “Build A B*tch” hitmaker returns with another catchy tune. It has all the playful sound effects (bell chimes, xylophones, a chorus of high-pitched vocalists) that was made known to us in her previous song, “Build A B*tch”. The dramatically mischievous atmosphere and TikTok-friendly short length of “INFERNO” promise another big hit for the fresh-faced pop singer.
Maisie Peters – You Signed Up For This
“You Signed Up For This”, the lead single from Maisie’s upcoming album of the same name, sounds like the song you hear in the closing credits of a Netflix coming-of-age movie like ‘The Kissing Booth’. There is a lot of familiarity here: the lyrics such as “I am twenty and probably upset right now / I still haven’t got my driver’s license” have echoes of Olivia Rodrigo, while her singing is reminiscent of Taylor Swift. The newcomer mixes and matches all these teen-friendly tropes from a potpourri of tried and true pop formulae to make a song that is at once nostalgic and contemporary. To conclude, the young singer-songwriter has yet to find a style to call her own.
Desta French – Señor
The UK artist mines from the cave of Latino music to conjure a summer-friendly track that oozes with colour, passion, seduction and mischief. The avid fans of Latino music are in the safe hands of Desta with this delightfully tropical piece.
Katy B – Under My Skin
A part-tolerable, part-unadventurous pop song about a toxic ex. The noughties-inspired song has elements that might take you back to last week’s Cat Burns and R.A.E. songs that were also briefly reviewed on the New Songs Saturday series.
Nao – Wait
“Wait” is a heart-wrenching ballad about love, struggle and hopelessness. The lyrics are some of the most vulnerable and fragile words heard in some time, with the singer begging her loved one to not give up on her, and insisting that their relationship will get better if they stick it out a bit longer.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Feeling – While You’re Still Young
“While You’re Still Young”, from this year’s highly anticipated LGBT film ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’, is a good old-fashioned disco track. It makes for a perfect ‘theme’ song, almost like it was produced decades ago in the 80s and appeared as an opening track for a widely cherished TV sitcom. There are feel-good vibes, and Ellis-Bextor has a wonderfully controlled voice like Jessie Ware did with her disco album ‘What’s Your Pleasure’ last year.
Big Thief – Sparrow
The American rock band is back with a double-song release: “Little Things” and “Sparrow”. The latter is a folk-rock ballad with a slow tempo, and lavish songwriting that has become expected of lead singer and writer Adrianne Lenker. She creates a paradoxically cozy-but-uneasy atmosphere; one mentally pictures a bonfire, a cottage, a guitar and some friendly little critters hopping nearby to listen to Adrianne narrate the Biblical story of Eve and Adam, and their Fall from Grace.
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