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

New Music Friday 4

So we’ve reached December, someone please tell me how we got here so fast I swear it was only just summer. I hadn’t really heard of anything that exciting that was being released this week and I was hoping that when it came today it would all be a great surprise. That was wishful thinking and I was wrong.

I’m not sure if I just missed the memo but did anyone else know that it was ‘Lets release a shoddy remix of our recent singles this week’- nope didn’t think you knew either but it was and I’m not here for it.

Starting off this week’s New Music Friday post we have a new song from Seeb and Bastille which is sitting nicely at the top of both Spotify’s and Apple Music’s playlists. The track is the typical Bastille sounding light pop rock euphoric instrumental with a dance imbue. Honestly it just sounds like everting I’ve heard from them before to the point I had actually thought this song was a re-release. Not terrible just predictable.

Despite already releasing a plethora of tracks from his album set to release this month Zayn has kept the ball rolling with his new single ‘Good Years’. At this point I have no prediction of what the overall sound of the album is as this track is completely different to all the previous releases. Not a bad one though, a light piano ballad as he heads back to his pop roots.

This week XXXTENTACION’s first posthumous album was released this week and after he passed earlier this year his career was turbulent amidst various claims and due to his personal life. I’m not here to talk about that though and the song I was most intrigued by was the Kanye collaboration ‘one minute. How this changed once I had pressed play, with a furious rock metal instrumental it actually is offensive to the ears. Kanye’s verse, quite dark at times, takes up half the song to which the other half is XXX screeching demonically. Trash. I don’t quite get how this fits in with the rest of the album which consists of melodic classic XXX material I’m excited to listen to properly.

Benny Blanco, like Zayn, has also been churning out releases and today is no other. He released his first solo project ‘Friends Keep Secrets’ today after being impressed by 2 out of 3 of his offerings the overall EP disappoints me. I like ‘More/Diamond Ring’ which features TY Dollar $ign and 6Lack but even half of that song is messy auto tune. I expected more.

I’m just going to cut this week short because the disappointment is real. Last up we have a song I actually was excited to listen to but unfortunately this also disappointed. Sinead Harnett’s ‘Lessons’ isn’t awful and maybe the listening of the other boring tracks has affected my mood for this song but It just isn’t anything special and doesn’t really catch my attention. She sounds good and it might be nice to listen in the background when you’re tidying your room.

I’m so over this week and the releases I’ve listened to so thats it!
thanks for reading and thanks for all the support so far, see you next week.

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.

New Music Friday 2

This week has been a pretty busy week and somehow its already Friday, which as well all know means new music.

This month has been filled with some pretty impressive releases and some stand out projects and today is no different…..

Today is exciting, as the long awaited (to be exact 6 long years) and highly anticipated sophomore album from Rita Ora has finally been released. The pop songstress has released a string of chart toppers in the run up to her release and today is the day to hear the full project. As the biggest album this week of course album tracks can be found at the top of every new music playlist and rightfully so!

‘Only Want You’, features on all the playlists and the laid back R and B infused slow jam offers a subdued moment. With dreamy vocals layered on top of a punchy chorus she continues to impress with yet another banger as she pours out her heart about the desire to experience of one specific individual. Credit where credit is due as Ora has continued to deliver and impress and honestly let’s be honest which other stars could’ve taken 6 years out of music and come back with a bang?

Billie Eilish released a bundle of perfection with her new song ‘Come out and play’. The melancholic emotion fuelled song is powerfully intimate before adopting a cinematic punch as the song progresses. An impressive follow up from her recently released ‘Don’t Smile at Me’ as she sticks to her mysterious roots however still offers a fresh sound.

Next up Kamille dropped her remix of ‘Emotion’ as she calls in Chip and Stefflon Don. The track feels like a Stefflon Don throw away, the start of the track is overwhelming and slightly messy however the chorus kind of salvages the verse. Chip’s verse isn’t anything special and neither gives or takes away from the track but honestly Steff disappoints on this track.

Another feature from Rita Ora, as she lends her vocals to Rudimental’s new single ‘Summer Love’ from their upcoming album ‘Toast To Our Differences’. The track is an ode to the so distant summer fun contextualising that fairy-tale idea of a summer love which all you ever want and more- but only for those summer months. Taking Ora back to her Drum and Bass roots, which originally propelled her to the top of the charts, the track offers an easy listen, with a catchy feel good chorus and subtle drop for an overall nice offering.

A standout track this week comes from pop rising star, Call Me Loop. Her new song ‘Business’ has quite the fitting title as she means business and takes control in this defiant new single. With an interesting sound, elevating vocals and a catchy beat the ex-obsessed track ditches an old love as she battles to look towards the future and move on. The emotive pop piece infuses a groovy guitar heavy instrumental with an assertive and attention grabbing energy.

Lastly British popstar, Jess Gylnne has decided to release an acoustic rendition of her already quite acoustic ‘Thursday’. The stripped back vocals delight on the empowering, self-love track, however, I can’t help but think despite my appreciation for this version and the original track this release was pretty pointless and doesn’t add anything to the song even if it is a pleasant listen.

That’s it for this week, there wasn’t much that excited me this week but there were obviously some stand outs which will I’ll definitely be adding to my playlist and having on repeat.

I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think of this week’s tracks and if there are any songs you know are being released or want me to feature let me know!!!

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