New Music Friday 5

Welcome back to New Music Friday, except it’s not Friday because after just 4 short weeks I kind of messed up. I have a valid excuse though – well I chose sleep.

In my defence I had to wake up at 6:45 in order to make my way to my internship so instead this week it’s going to be new music Saturday.

This week, as like many weeks in the run up to Christmas we have been offered a platter of festivity, a couple of albums but not many and a seasoning of singles so I think we should just get into it.

Ariana Grande is back this week giving ‘Thank you, next’ a I guess thank you, next (did you see what I did there?). In all seriousness she has released a new single called ‘Imagine’ this week and I would hate to imagine a world without Ariana Grande at the moment. Switching it up, Ariana takes a step back to reflect as she heads back to an R and infused pop sound similar to her early work. Vocally, she sounds on top form, she’s got whistle tones impressive enough to smash windows and I guess this song is another smash and rightfully so. She’s not here to play around.

I know that I’ve mentioned this next artist in the past 3 weeks (I can promise you I’m not a super fan) but Zayn’s solo sophomore album ‘Icarus Falls’ dropped yesterday and after a series of varying releases the album, from what I’ve heard, is mellow, laid back and surprisingly cohesive. ‘There You Are’ is on the new music playlist and whilst I think there are definitely better tracks than this off of the album it’s a punchy pop song with an almost cinematic energy providing an easy listen with pleasant vocals.

This year I’m surprised to say that I have barely heard any Christmas songs so far but it’s December 15th and what a better way to break this by listening to some new offerings. After recently releasing their hit single ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson have teamed up once again for a fresh take on a Christmas classic. ‘Happy Xmas (war is over)’ nicely shows off Miley’s vocals and isn’t a bad listen but is it better than the original I will let you decide.

Another Christmas song, this time an unexpected release from Former X Factor girl group Four of Diamonds. Their new single ‘Cozy Little Christmas’ sounds fitting for any huge family advert you see every time you turn on the TV and I mean every time. The feel good, upbeat festive track is undeniably catchy especially with the uplifting chorus that just makes you want to bop along. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit I think this is one of your best bets this week.

A short one this week so finally we have a funky new song from boy band PRETTYMUCH. Their new single ‘Jello’ is a funk infused pop/r and b piece revolving around, as you probably guessed by the title, Jello but I think we can be sure it’s not actually about the dessert. Cheeky. Sounds quite like a typical boy band track but not bad nevertheless.

Next week I should be back to releasing on Friday for the last one before Christmas. Thanks again for reading – I appreciate it and if you liked it check out the previous weeks and don’t forget to share.

https://open.spotify.com/user/1124546142/playlist/3pabjNcE5J3stDi5mlL4iw

Rita Ora ‘Phoenix’ Review

After 6 long years since the release of Ora’s debut she’s back stronger than ever, refreshed after as she’s rose like a ‘Phoenix’ from the ashes.

Following, at one point what felt like a never ending occurrence of pushback, label difficulties and whatever else stood in her way; Rita Ora made sure to never be defeated as she inspiringly kept herself busy and in the spotlight exploring her other talents.

Ora has done more than enough to prove she can do it all; from topping the charts, acting, modelling, hosting, judging and designing she’s established herself as a true 360 entertainer, however, she’s reinstated her relevance in the music industry with the release of her sophomore album ‘Phoenix’.

The album, released on November 23, boats a respectable 16 tracks including hit singles ‘Your song’, ‘Anywhere’ and her hugely successful Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’.

There’s no denying that Rita has the vocals, the look and the ability to churn out hit after hit and Phoenix charmingly showcases her talent making for a strong return to music.

Opening with one of her, and notably one of 2017’s, standout singles ‘Anywhere’ the introduction offers an upbeat pop-electro hazy dance moment which still sounds so fresh before entering her current single ‘Let You Love Me’. Let you love me, an interesting outpour of about letting your guard down in order to let someone in intertwined into a catchy light EDM edged pop knife.

‘New look’ kicks off the string of new material with an assertive sassy manner. Rita excels in the enticingly pulsating catchiness of the chorus which leaves you wanting to hit the replay button; whilst ‘First Time High’ presents vibrant strings in an effervescent dance pop bubble gum pop number.

Despite the new offerings previously released hits, such as female anthem girls ‘Girls’, ‘Your Song’ and Avicii collaboration ‘Lonely Together’ aren’t forgotten as they receive a new lease of life. Not to mention her Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’ which led Ora to adopt a cinematic drama into ‘Hell of a life’ whilst heading back to familiar territory with the euphoric, summer penetrated, drum and bass smash ‘Summer Love’.

Although there’s an up tempo, feel good energy infused throughout the album, ‘Phoenix’, intertwines subdued moments with the muted pop ballad ‘Only Want You’ as she opens up about the need for one particular person. Another impressive difference on the album is the sultry ‘Cashmere’ which possess an R and B imbue for the ultimate ‘in your feels’ promiscuous playlist.

Amongst the quintessential pop album, Ora also offers an experimental side in her new material. With the jazzy, feel good rapturous ‘Velvet Rope’ in which she curates an effervescent trumpet laced ballad; along with jubilant, groovy number Julia Michaels assisted ‘Keep Talking’ ‘as they take the high road’ serving all the dreamy high notes against a contrasting bold electronic backing Rita proves she won’t shy away when it comes to exploring.

Finishing the album is ‘Soul Survivor’ in which fans get to see an explicitly honest insight into her truth and the personal struggle of the past few years as she reflects on her turbulent journey to the release of her second album. The powerful track hones in on her vocal aptitude as she bares all behind a beautifully simplistic, graceful piano instrumental unequivocally becoming one of the strongest highlights of her album.

Overall ‘Phoenix’ is cohesive, interesting and diverse curating an impressive follow up to ‘Ora’ where she dives into deep end of the music industry managing to keep her career afloat as she ensures the wait was worthwhile making up for the six-year music drought.

9/10

Let me know what you think of the album over on Twitter and send me over any suggestions of other albums to review.