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 6

With 2018 behind us, the new year brings us new music, new album and of course it’s a Friday so that means it’s time to give my opinion on this week’s releases.

The festive season has just come to an end, everyone’s retuning back to work, Christmas trees are coming down and that big playlist of Christmas bangers will be put away till the end of this year but maybe you can refresh your playlist with this week’s releases.

This was an interesting week for my weekly rotated playlist because I have discovered a bunch of great new artists and songs this week due to the lack of large releases and I am pleasantly surprised.

 

We will start out with the, unexpected yet appreciated, refreshing track which tops Spotify’s playlist this week – Headie One Featuring Dave ‘18HUNNA’. The new grime track has a catchy trap beat, rhythmic chorus and Dave’s verse is a particular highlight. I’d go as far to say Dave outshines Headie One largely on this track. Overall a solid rap offering.

You’ll remember the next artist from cooking up quite the storm on X Factor back in 2014.Fleur East won over the nation, soared to the top of the charts then shortly after sadly disappeared however following her recent jungle stint she’s back and better than ever before. Her new energetic pop track ‘Favourite Thing’ has all the feel good vibes you need to start off the new year. With a catchy chorus, pristine vocals and a beat which can’t help but make you move you can tell she’s more than ready to hit the road running.

A plethora of new music this week has been released from artists I haven’t previously heard from. The first is ‘Lonely’ by Jada, the pop song with an electro edge nicely showcases her smooth vocals with a subtle dance inspiration.

You may or may not have seen this name before if you’re a Bastille fan as she was featured on their 2014 VS. (other people’s heartache Pt. III). Lizzo, who in this track, embodies a 90’s funk vibe similar to a Bruno Mars energy bringing all the sass as she stunts on her haters with all her confidence. The jazzy track filled with self-love is a unique offering with her sing rap style of delivery.

Emily Brimlow if full of positivity for life in her new vibrant track ‘Hope’. With a nicely rapped verse, soul laced acoustic background and belting vocals brightening the chorus Emily offers an impressive performance leaving me wanting to check out her other music.No crazy production but a lot of raw talent.

Rap talk seems to be the clear go to for this week’s new music Friday and the next is no different. Noname has released her new track ‘song 31’ featuring Phoelix and whilst she boasts an impressive flow on throughout the verses the song misses the mark when phoelix takes over on the chorus limiting my connection to this song and overall making it mediocre. The beat is nice though.

R and B singer Sean X kicked off 2019 with his new song ‘Wrong X2’ and whilst I like parts of this song I find it lacks cohesiveness and engaging lyricism in parts. I can see where he is trying to go and there are some real highlights to the song but I feel like it needs more work or something else to it for it to properly work.

One of my favourite releases this week comes from a new discovery for me ANYA. Her new single ‘These Days’ emulates a sound similar to Mabel, Raye and other pop influenced r and b talent. However, she still manages to sound unique with her distinctive vocals. Definitely an artist to watch

Not from a new artist but Bad Bunny’s new track with Diplo ‘200 MPH’ makes for a definite add to this week’s playlist. Two masters of music came together to produce another incredible song. Bunny’s uniqueness and production is captivating in this Spanish trap track.

Lastly, Chris Brown has released a new single following his awfully long and monotonous last album he’s back with the same style, same formula and sound which prevails to be bland, boring and just sounds like it could’ve been a song by him I’ve heard before. If you like what Chris Brown has released before and would like another song the same as his other songs, you’ll like this.

Follow my NMF Spotify playlist here:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1124546142/playlist/3pabjNcE5J3stDi5mlL4iw?si=m3DAO104T5-LAzLFUKFgrA

 

Hope you enjoyed reading this, as always thanks for the support! If you liked it don’t forget to share and come back next week to see what’s released.

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