First Impressions: Carly Rae Jepsen, Jack Ü, Skepta + More

Written By the interns on 03/03/2015


First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick part tracks by Jack Ü with Justin Bieber, Skepta, Carly Rae Jepsen and more.

Jack Ü - Where Are Ü Now (Feat. Justin Bieber)

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Sam: I think it helps that I’m already a big defender of the Biebs. Some of the tracks on his Journal release were top notch and this just shows how well his voice can work if given the right backing. Skrillex and Diplo perfectly traverse the silky and the beat-driven on this one, complimenting Bieber’s vocals with a tribal drop that’s the least harsh on the album. It’s sort of similar to what Diplo did with Ariana Grande on All My Love but it’s more effective. People will say they like this song because of Diplo and Skrillex but let’s be honest, Where Are Ü Now is all about JB. 4

Bianca: Here we see The Biebs in a refreshing atmosphere, utilising his voice in an arena suitable for his honey-smooth vocals. He completely nails the R&B style, traversing over the pounding beat and jungle rhythms. Bieber has just turned 21 and I think it’s time the h8ers gave him the key to a fresh start. He may seem like a controversial choice at the hands of Diplo and Skrillex but, in this circumstance, he’s the right choice. 4

Meshell: I kind of scoffed at my brother when he told me that I’d love the new Jack Ü song with the Biebs BUT THEN we put it on and I just sat there completely stunned because he was totally right. So lets try and forget all the reasons we dislike this little shit for the next four minutes and enjoy this smooth as hell tune. 4.5

Skepta - Shutdown

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Sam: It’s really exciting what’s happening with grime right now. So many great music genres have come out of the British underground and it’s about time grime had its go. Skepta shared the BRITS stage with Kanye last week and he’s perfectly timed the release of this track. It also helps that track is absolute, pure fire. That brass sample behind the hook is absolutely genius as is the repetition of Shutdown. The track is dark and raw yet it’s extremely accessible which should serve it well if it hits radio. The sample of the concerned woman towards the end of the song is excellent. Grime 2015 begins here. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: This is dirty, grungey, all-out fun. I immediately want to get on a flight to the UK to hear this blasting in a club. It may be the English accent swaying me but I'm super supportive of the grime movement making an appearance again. 

Meshell:  Instrumentally, Skepta has laid down a bass heavy track where there’s nothing that really grabs me as fresh but what he’s lacking in musical originality he is making up tenfold with his lyrical assault. It’s polite enough to appeal to a more commercial demographic and yet aggressive enough to keep loyal Grime fans happy. Teetering along the knife’s edge of light and dark can be super dangerous but I get the feeling Skepta’s new album is going to do just fine. 4

easyFun - Laplander

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Sam: PC Music was what everyone was talking about last year and while they’re still inexplicably brilliant they’re going to have to be fighting a little harder this year to maintain their relevance. Laplander is an excellent start. It’s the most melodically delectable track since Hey QT and they perfectly mix melancholy with a sugar-high. It feels like that point when something heartbreaking has happened but then you get tipsy and suddenly everything feels a little better for a moment. The way the synths rush and then lengthen makes me far too excited. It’s actually the first time I’ve had a slightly emotional reaction to a PC Music release. 4

Bianca: As a nervous flier, normally I’d be wary of anything portraying a plane crash. But, much like the main picture which depicts an emergency slide and flare being utilised in recklessly recreational ways, easyFun turns a sometimes foreboding-sounding track into a bit of nonsensical fun. Creating an energy slightly similar to the hysterical high you’d expect from flying at high altitude with low oxygen while crash-landing, this latest track is classic PC Music-sweet with a solemn side of bitter. 4 Bianca’s Pick

Meshell: PC music to me is like a vodka Redbull. In the sticky heat of the club you cannot get enough and then some dark part you takes over and makes you think you need “MORE MORE MORE!!!”

But now it’s Monday morning, you’ve got the shakes, had to dim the brightness on your phone and your tongue is a swollen sugar slug that has left you unable produce saliva. If you’re listening to PC music on a Monday morning in your office I am judging your life choices. 2.5   

BUOY- Took Me Up

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Sam: It makes me so happy when I hear something local that stacks up easily to International stuff that’s being released at the moment. It’s definitely got a BANKS-esque quality to it but the production is far more interesting. At points it’s dense and dark while in the verses everything is stripped back and we’re left with BUOY’s crystalline voice. I was watching the waveforms on Soundcloud and waiting for that build-up at the end and it’s so worth the wait. It just feels like this thick undercurrent sweeps you up. Perfect. 4

Bianca: Buoy oh buoy. This is a slow ride but a good one. The skittering synths and undulating backbeats are heavy, but occasional enough to not be completely overwhelming. I’m not entirely sure when the verse, bridge or chorus happened but such is the beauty of this track. 3.75

Meshell: Is it appropriate to start a review with YAAAAS? Too late, I did. That heavy drone intro, her wail at 20 seconds and a seamless transition into an ethereal R&B electro hybrid…this kind of captivating production is almost unheard of for a debut single. BUOY has definitely put her best foot forward for this release and I would not be surprised if she becomes Australia’s newest electro sweetheart. 5 Meshell’s Pick

Carly Rae Jepsen - I Really Like You

Sam: One hit wonder Carly may have a second hit on her hands with I Really Like You. I can’t help but thinking it would be way more bearable if Taylor Swift was singing on it but I don’t hate it. Infact I think it’s much less annoying than Call Me Maybe and the ‘80s thud of a beat is at least texturally pleasing. Apparently Dev Hynes is producing some tracks on the album and I really really really really really like him, so I’d be ok with her going to number one again. I think it’s worth reminding once more that Jepsen is not 16, she’s 29, which is still unbelievable to me. 3

Bianca: I thought I’d take this chance to divulge my dirty secret: I’ve never, ever heard the entirety to Call Me Maybe. Bits and bobs, yes, but I’ve never had of hearing it from start to finish. Going from what I do know, I can determine that I Really Like You has a lot of the qualities (the unashamedly sickly-sweetness, the repetition, the instant earworm) as Jepson’s first worldwide hit. What defines this track, however, is its throbbing beat, which I believe was also the saving grace to Taylor Swift’s Style. Still not enough to make me want to listen to it right through again, though. I might just put this aside with Gangnam Style - nope, haven’t fully heard that one either. 2

Meshell:  I don’t even feel like I should have to explain why this song is now on my shit list but if you really really really really really really want me to…     1

Everything Everything - Distant Past

Sam: Everything Everything are one of those bands that I can take or leave usually. When I’m not listening to them I barely ever think about listening to them but when I am listening I really enjoy them. Their experimentalism is definitely their biggest track and the oddities of Distant Past are what shine through. Is this single as catchy as Cough Cough? No. But in many ways it’s much more interesting. It’s like 15 genres stuffed into one song with manic drumbeats and yet somehow it all comes together nicely. 3.5

Bianca: Everything Everything were my guilty pleasure back in ‘09. Pleasurable enough to keep on repeat but eclectic enough to perhaps not tell all my friends about for fear of disdain. I enjoyed them on a confusing level. At times I loved them while at times they perplexed and annoyed me. They’re an amalgamation of falsettos, complex song structures and lyrics that can sometimes be dense and complicated, while at times being super-simple. They’re a band that can’t be completely defined; a melting pot of alt-rock, pop, electronica, contemporary R&B and everything in between. They’re quite literally Everything. And this is what simultaneously ropes me in and pushes me away. This time, however, I’m in. I think. 3.5

Meshell: I have so much love for this band because A) they’re musical bloody geniuses and B) they’re consistently odd. Distant Past sounds like the band got too excited and couldn’t stick with one song idea but somehow it doesn’t sound messy. It’s a punchy well-orchestrated piece of unique pop and you’re going to need to give it about 10 listens to fully appreciate it. This only lost out for pick of the week because I expect nothing less from these British lunatics. 5