Charli XCX – Good Ones
Charlotte Aitchinson re-enters the skating ring of the mainstream pop dance genre, after having swum in the pool of hyper-pop for the last few years. We’ve missed her! The “Boom Clap” hitmaker, whose ancestry is half Gujarati and half Scottish, channels her inner Lady Gaga in a nostalgic late-2000s throwback number.
Priya Ragu – Lockdown
The young Indian artist brings us a dose of M.I.A.-esque style rap: a global melding of various eclectic influences including Indian instruments. Ragu skips smoothly from emotion to emotion and mood to mood. “Lockdown” is at once romantically longing while joyful, wistful while celebratory, timeless while also contemporary as she yearns for a lucky individual during the Covid lockdown. While the great M.I.A. is missing in the game for too long, it’s nice to see a promising young artist such as Ragu fill that spot. “Lockdown” is a colourful, fragrant-rich dish.
Little Simz – Point and Kill (feat. Obongjayar)
Little Simz tackling afrobeat?! This is a first for the heavily-acclaimed London rapper and songwriter. Obongjayar and Simz share entertaining chemistry, almost like that of a basketball team weaving through opponents while passing the ball amongst each other. Simz deals with relevant topics: facing pressure from elders to pick a “respectful” career, and being true to yourself. Simz never disappoints with these singles. There is a jazz and funk vibe to the track which is filled with playful swagger and infectious rhythms.
AUDREY NUNA – Clocked Out! (with NIKI)
The Korean-American rapper makes a surprise appearance with this overlooked track which features in the new Marvel’s ‘Shang Chi’ soundtrack. Nuna does her signature style of rapping here. While it isn’t the best in the phenomenal soundtrack (it’s the best Marvel film soundtrack alongside Black Panther’s), Nuna and NIKI make a good pairing anyway.
Ms Banks – Go Low
The British rapper drops a new, funky rap track. The themes here are more than familiar: money, hustle culture and feeling sexy about yourself while doing it all. Stefflon Don, Ivorian Doll and Shaybo have all done this kind of music quite well in the last few weeks. It’s still a fun beat though.
Lady Gaga, BLACKPINK – Sour Candy (feat. Shygirl & Mura Masa)
Lady Gaga has released the remix version for last year’s ‘Chromatica’ album: ‘Dawn of Chromatica’. Featuring a talented army that boasts of rising artists like Bree Runway, Rina Sawayama and Ashnikko, one track to look out for is the “Sour Candy” remix featuring Shygirl. The Londoner injects a seductive flavour into the pop song with her recognizable rap style without sounding too different. Add to it the K-pop girl group BLACKPINK and producer Mura Masa and what we have is an irresistibly tempting cocktail.
Halsey – I am not a woman, I’m a god
The “Without Me” hitmaker has returned with an ambitious pop album named ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’ which is accompanied by an IMAX film of the same name directed by Colin Tilley. One of the better tracks in this rather tame album is “I am not a woman, I’m a god”, an unabashedly feminist track that doesn’t pull back any punches in the exercise of stroking the feminine ego and fueling the fire of a supposedly ‘necessary’ female narcissism.
Melanie C – Touch Me
Melanie Chisholm, known widely as “Sporty Spice” Melanie C of UK pop group Spice Girls, released a Deluxe version of her 2020 album ‘Melanie C’ this week. A never before heard song from this record is the Billen Ted-produced “Touch Me”. It has a rather safe and predictable electro dance beat to it which has been heard a thousand times at the club. But it’s also something that will succeed in getting everyone on to the dancefloor. And in that way, Melanie and Billen have delivered.
Pixey – Life In Stereo
The Euro Cup might have concluded, but a “football stadium” energy remains alive with this stadium-friendly pop anthem. Thanks to the Beatles’ influence and the accompanying music video, it can’t get more English than “Life In Stereo”.
Karen Elson – Lightning Strikes
The singer, model and former wife of The White Stripes frontman Jack White kicks the ball out of the park with this stellar and electrifying single. “Lightning Strikes” is a colourfully playful and flirty innuendo-filled song. There’s a very ‘American’ flavour here with the rock ‘n’ roll and country influences. One might be surprised to know that Elson is actually English.
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