Friday, 8 February 2019

BEST AND WORST NEW TRACKS OF THE WEEK 08/02/2019: 21 Savage, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Pet Shop Boys and more…




21 Savage is now British, King Gizzard are now a synthpop band and The Pet Shop Boys are now singing about social media.

THE BEST:

‘A Lot’ – 21 Savage ft. J Cole


Despite his thick Atlanta accent, it was revealed this week that 21 Savage is actually secretly British (he moved to the US at the age of 7) – and he’s now at threat of being deported as a non-legal US citizen. PERSONALLY I ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS BRITISH WE BREED ALL THE BEST MUSICIANS INNIT #BEATLES #QUEEN #ELVIS #ABBA. Having never actually listened to 21 Savage before, I thought I ought to familiarise myself with the UK’s latest rap sensation. ‘A lot’ is a lot better than I anticipated – it’s got a tasty soul-flavoured trap beat and 21 Savage’s bars are both introspective and catchy (which isn’t easy to pull off). I expected some Migos-tier hip hop, but no - this rapper can actually rap.

‘Cyboogie’ – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard


These guys were a rock band last time I checked. But it seems they’re now a 70s synthpop group complete with vocoders, organs and space helmets. Fair enough. Are they just going to keep changing genre on us (because if so, I’m excited)? It’s still as psychedelic as their previous material, both musically and visually, plus they’ve kept the song length above six minutes, so they’ve maintained some stylistic consistency. And the music is still as enjoyably nuts.

 ‘Do You Remember’ – JAWS


JAWS frontman Connor Schofield lists Title Fight and The Cure as two influences of the band’s new sound. They’re two very different sounding rock bands, and yet this track ‘Do You Remember’ absolutely sounds like a merging of the two. I’m in love with the outro in which the defiant line ‘don’t try to pull me back dooooown’ is yelled over pummelling walls of guitar. Its music for punching your inner demons in the face to.

‘Why’ – Why Another


This man’s voice is truly haunting, delivered like a long and mournful sigh. The minor key guitars and the sad ghost in the animated video add to the sense of melancholia. I can definitely see the inspiration from Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, although I think the vocals are uniquely tortured enough to give them their own sound. This track comes off the Boston band’s debut album, which you can stream here.

‘Henna Tattoo’ – Field Medic


Carrying on the theme of sad songs (why not? It’s February and it’s miserable…), here’s a beautiful ballad for all the lovelorn folk out there in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. The lyrics describe the heartbreak felt by watching someone you love fall in love with someone else (I’m loving the henna tattoo metaphor). The lo-fi production meanwhile helps it to feel like a warped memory.

THE WORST:

‘On Social Media’ – The Pet Shop Boys


The Pet Shop Boys probably think this is some sharp social observation, but unfortunately I’ve heard numerous songs about social media in the last year that are much smarter than this. Only the other week, I featured the hilarious ‘Social Media Boy’ by Dirty Sound Magnet. And Slaves’ ‘The Lives They Wish They Had’ offers a much less on-the-nose approach. This in comparison is surface-level and clunky. I imagine that they only just discovered Facebook and felt they had to vent about their experiences.

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