This week, Katy Perry drops a new hit and Machine Head throw a tantrum.
‘Harleys in Hawaii’ – Katy Perry
‘Harleys in Hawaii’ is exactly what is says on the tin – a song about riding Harleys in Hawaii. It’s a lot smoother than the rambunctious pop she usually churns out and the chorus is an undeniable earworm. I wouldn’t blame anyone for dismissing it as tosh, but personally I’m finding it fun and a lot more convincing than woke Katy Perry.
‘Caught Lookin’ – Young Guv
This isn’t the usual hardcore punk stuff that we’re used to hearing from Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook. Under the moniker Young Guv, he’s now making New Wave pop and plans to release the second part of his two part album GUV this November. The jangly guitars, glowing synths and distant vocals come together like some forgotten 80s hit. There’s even a sax solo at the end (performed on a canoe). As for the lyrics, I thought it was merely a song about getting caught looking at other women, but apparently it’s also allegory about corporations mining data on people’s smartphones.
‘Sommeron’ – Kraak & Smaak ft. Imugi 이무기
Summer may be well behind us here in the UK, but in New Zealand they’re just about to phase into summer, which I guess is why these Auckland artists Kraak & Smaak and Imugi (CBA with the symbols) have come together to drop this smooth summer track. It’s downtempo electropop for drinking a Cuba Libre in a beach bar.
'The Gallows' - Go Robot
‘The Gallows’ is a personal and heartfelt song about overcoming a relationship ending in infidelity. It opens with some skeletal digital drums and Radiohead-esque piano chords, slowly building layers until it reaches a satisyfying crescendo of bluesy guitars and creative flanged-out organ (at least, I think it’s an organ – it could be a ray gun). The whole track is beautifully bittersweet - despite the tortured lyrics, there’s a feeling of hope in the epic instrumental climax.
‘Do or Die’ – Machine Head
A lot of people weren’t fans of Machine Head’s last album Catharsis (I never listened to it, but I heard ‘Bastards’ and decided to give it a wide berth). This new single sees Robb Flynn responding to the criticism by throwing one big sweary tantrum like a kid who’s just had his Xbox taken away. He literally tells his fans to die, gets angry over ‘pussy little memes’ and claims ‘there’s not a metal band I ain’t influenced’ (like, really?). And yet he also yells ‘ignore the hate’, which is exactly what he’s not doing on this track. It’s no wonder half the band members left after the last album was released – Robb Flynn is on a career suicide mission. It’s a pity, because the instrumentation isn't bad.
‘DripDemeanour’ – Missy Elliot ft. Sum1
I got excited because I misread the feature as ‘Sum 41’ and started wondering what a Missy Elliot/Sum 41 collaboration would sound like. Anyhow, that wasn’t the case – Sum1 is a generic r&b singer and what follows is a surprisingly flaccid sex anthem from Missy Elliot (although the video is cool).