New Music Friday 7 || 7 song you need to hear this week

With the new year in full swing, it seems as though ‘New Music Friday’ has made a triumphant return following, what felt like, an endless period of weeks with throwaway releases with no punch, replay value or excitement.

Bringing the New Year in with a bang, my playlist will certainty have an abundance of new rotations this week from some of the biggest artists on earth, some of my favourite, even some interesting newbies with a pleasant surprise from some artists I didn’t realise I needed music from.

This week we’re starting with one of with the song that I’ve been anticipating most. Today, vocal powerhouse Sam Smith has collaborated with one of the most remarkable new girls on the block Normani as she continues to peruse her solo career. Dancing with a stranger is a hard-hitting yet dreamy dance inspired pop track with both Sam and Normani sounding seductive, silky smooth on top form. I was intrigued to hear how the duo would work together considering the distinctiveness in both of their voices but to my delight the track oozes a cool imbue curating the perfect slow jam I need on my playlist.

With the first follow up from his dark melancholic EP ‘My Dear Melancholy, The weekend diverts back to his signature sound infusing pop and disco into an R and B ready radio hit. ‘Lost in the Fire ’is an introspective, emotion-fuelled ballad laced with techno infused drums and super smooth vocals. A great track which almost could’ve fit perfectly into ‘Starboy’.

Another track from a former Fifth Harmony has been released this week as Lauren Jauregui gets straight to the point in her new hypnotic R and B banger. ‘More Than That’ lured me into false judgement with its ethereal artwork, and after her first track being an emotional ballad, instead Jauregui let you know she knows her self-worth in this attention grabbing trap edge track showcasing she can really do it all.

An artist I definitely didn’t know I needed new music from, despite her last album being released in 2017, Kehlani, dropped an incredible new track this week called ‘Nights Like This’ featuring Ty Dolla $ign. With silky smooth vocals, an effortlessly progressive structure this R and B number executes a captivating, dreamy and sultry energy as she gets retrospective about missing a past lover. Whilst I don’t think this incredible offering required a featured artist, Ty Dollar $ign was the perfect fit contributing a natural coolness with his soothing impact.

On the other hand, despite my love for the perfectly unconventional moody hit maker Billie Eilish her recent release, ‘WHEN I WAS OLDER’, inspired by the film ‘ROMA’ misses the mark completely. Adopting a mumble auto tune energy, I can see the eyrie creative direction they were trying to achieve but I think it got lost in a techno, horror-like, dystopia and for me it’s a complete pass. I’m disappointed.

An interesting track release this week comes from Italian Rapper Fedez. This week he released a track called ‘Holding Out For You’ which I had initially got really excited to hear – that was before I heard it and before I knew who he was. The track featuring (the great) Zara Larrson is ruined by Fedez’ dire attempt at an R and B rap which intermittently interrupts Zara sounding like an angelic badass. I tried to tolerate the monstrosity of Fedez’ contribution because I think Zara sounds incredible on this track but it couldn’t be done. Sadly, this is a huge flop. No one ever send me anything from Fedez again.

Now onto something that didn’t disappoint me today. Rudimental have enlisted the help of Ray BLK and Stefflon Don on their new track ‘Scared of Love’ taken from their upcoming album ‘Toast to our differences’. Notably both ladies had exceptional years last year and unite for this off beat, quirky up tempo feel good love track. Whilst I don’t think song is a breakthrough hit with a new innovative sound I haven’t heard anything like this for a short time and the bright instrumental is bound to lift your spirit.

Lastly on the roundup of this week’s new music is actually a track released on Monday, yes you heard Monday. Despite the weird release date, the new collaboration from Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara, adding a fresh spin on his pre-released single ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ intertwines flawless, smooth and captivating vocals with a mid- tempo melancholic instrumental. A great track with high replay value and overall an easy listen.

Special mention:

Yes, this isn’t a standard procedure here on New Music Friday but I was sent music from a new artist I hadn’t previously came across this week and I think that people need to hear it!

Phé, an LA based R and B singer/songwriter, has recently released her debut EP ‘Crisis’. On the EP she boasts all the characteristics of an impressive R and B artist showing diversity and creativity with her sound and stories as she rages through an emotional roller coaster of first hand experiences with love, heartbreak, female sexuality and sexual exploration, healing, mental health and self-empowerment.

Her new EP is definitely worth a listen! You can check it out on all streaming platforms and on my ‘New Music Friday’ Spotify playlist below.

Once again thank you for tuning in, reading and supporting. I hope you’ve found some new gems for your playlists and if you liked it don’t forget to follow my blog, like and be sure to share.

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

See you next week!

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.

APPLE MUSIC UP NEXT: H.E.R LONDON PREMIER

Sometimes I see competitions on social media, enter them and then as expected never hear anything back from them. This was the case when I saw that Apple Music was hosting an exclusive launch for their new Up Next artist, H.E.R.

I entered the competition to attend the premiere of her new short film and to see her perform. I checked my emails a few days later to find a reply with priority tickets attached and this is I guess why I’m making this post.

Apple Music designed it’s ‘Up Next artists’ to promote emerging talent. They choose a new artist every month offering them exposure through live TV performances, a live EP and their own short feature film.

Previously chosen artists amongst the roster have been the likes of incredible new talent from Billie Eilish, Khalid and 6lack to Sigrid, Stefflon Don and Daniel Ceaser.

This month’s artist was H.E.R an interesting anonymous identity R and B artists with honey smooth vocals somewhat of an Alicia Keys evolution. She launched into mainstream success after working with Daniel Ceaser on the effortlessly perfect ‘Best Part’.

Since then she went on to release her most recent projects of solo material with ‘I Used To Know Her: The Prelude’ and recently followed up with ‘I Used To Know Her: Part 2’ which dropped November 2nd.

The event was held at Porchester Hall and with a queue wrapping round the venue, the excitement buzzed through the cold weather as everyone was eager to get inside.

The night started with a humorous introduction from Beats 1 radio’s Julie Adenuga as she joked on stage before introducing H.E.R and rolling the feature film. The short video gave us fans an insight into the background of H.E.R’s career, what inspires her and how she got into music.

As the clip came to an end it was time for the real show to start; the screen rose and we were welcomed with a jazzy instrumental from her phenomenally talented band before she entered the stage, shades down with her pearly whites glowing as she oozed a cool, calm and collected energy.

Her impressive set consisted of a variety of her beautifully crafted songs from her diverse discography as show switched from up-tempo vibrant jazz inspired tracks and melancholic hard hitters to acoustic sing-a-longs and catchy pure R and B.

The night was undeniably special and amazing to be able to see her live after watching her success rise over the past year and a half. She is definitely an artist to watch and I’m excited to see what’s next for H.E.R and which artist will be selected next month.

 

Check out H.E.R and discover her Up Next feature here and click the video below to see what me and my girlfriend got up to on the night.

Arun