First Impressions: Robyn, Selena Gomez, Thundercat And More

Written By the interns on 06/24/2015

FI_24June

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 apart tracks by Robyn, Selena Gomez, Thundercat and more.

Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique
Love Is Free

Zanda: This is just dripping funkiness. The bass oozes out over a bunch of fun and funky samples and sound effects in a way that will make you want to boogie. Again, another track from Robyn that has a typical rawness about it, not that there’s anything missing from the production. The rhythms, bass and beat are just raw in such an organic way, it feels natural from start to finish. 4

Sam: Well this is one way to make people dance their sweaty arses off. Robyn has always made killer bangers. She had Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do and We Dance To The Beat and this is in the same kind of vein as that. It’s so dirty and commanding yet the production is so pure and clean. Robyn has literally not made one bad thing for a decade and this is no exception. 4.5 Sam's Pick 

Raury
Devil’s Whisper

Zanda: This feels like it should be part of a Hollywood blockbuster in that mandatory scene where they go and do peyote or shrooms in the desert and one of them has a bad trip. My main gripe with this track lies in that it’s more than half over before that dope bassline kicks in. Up until this point there’s nothing that really makes it stand out for me, but in saying that the rap verse in the second half is, as they say; straight fire. 3

Sam: I don’t know if I’m fully on board with what Raury is doing yet. It’s kind of like Mumford & Sons cross Vic Mensa and that’s not really my thing. I do appreciate that he’s a passionate musician and he’s trying to do something different so props for that. In saying that, the latter half of this track is killer. His raps have this really organic darkness to them and he injects so much rhythm into the song in just those final seconds. More of that please. 3

Miguel
face the sun (Feat. Lenny Kravitz)

Zanda: Miguel is about to be a much bigger name in the near future if he keeps writing stuff like this. Everything he does is just the definition of smooth, and this track really compliments his uber-smooth vocals with its up-beat, almost pop/rock style instrumentation. The intensity builds nicely throughout the track, however I get a bit of a murky vibe towards the end where if anything there are a few too many elements crammed on top of each other. 3

Sam: Cliche alert- Miguel could sing the phonebook and I’d be entertained. His voice is just a cut-above the rest and this kind of song allows it to shine unobtrusively. The Lenny Kravitz feature is pretty unnecessary but other than that it’s a blazer. It’s sensual and yet rough and raw. Miguel slowly builds and builds it until its soaring at the end. It’s not as modern or innovative as Kaleidoscope Dream but it’s the mark of an artist who’s discovered his voice's best pockets and is using them. 4

Selena Gomez
Good For You (Feat. A$AP Rocky)

Zanda: Selena Gomez’s voice is clearly heavily edited on this track, but I actually don’t mind it too much. The production is decent without being anything special, and A$AP Rocky is undeniable in his delivery as always. Definitely listenable. 2.5

Sam: Shit. I hadn’t heard this before now and I thought it would be a bit of a laugh to listen to but goddammit, I think I actually really like it. Gomez hasn’t done anything of significance in her career to this point, but this one actually makes a stamp on her artistry. Everything from her slightly twisted accent to her reluctance to explicitly create a climax shows that she’s actually trying to forge a career as an artist who’s capable of making interesting music. I’m so entranced by Gomez’s verses that by the time Rocky comes in, I’m unphased. Look, if liking a Selena Gomez track is the worst thing that happens to me this week it’s going to be an excellent week. 3.5

Japanese Wallpaper
Arrival

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Zanda: The first thing that comes to mind when listening to this is, ‘holy crap Dustin Tebbutt’s voice is epic on this’. The Aussie producer/singer is really killing it right now, and suits Japanese Wallpaper’s style of delicate melodic production perfectly. This track contains some glassy smooth melodies and the interplay between layers brings joy to my eargasm. 4.5 Zanda’s Pick

Sam: Japanese Wallpaper is absolutely creaming it at the moment. He’s reached that point where triple j worships the ground he stands on and tickets fly out the door like free candy. I’m not sure this really sets me alight with excitement but it’s definitely a sweet, nuanced listen. I had to go back and listen to where this sits on the EP to really understand it and in that context it shines. As a standalone though it wafts in and wafts out for me barely even leaving dust in its tracks. 3

Thundercat
Them Changes

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Zanda: There’s so much to like in this it’s hard to separate some of it. The interplay between synthetic sounds and organic instrumentation gives it a really real and raw feel, and I love the use of both piano and sax sporadically underneath the dominant guitars and bass. The vocals are complimentary to all of the above as well, allowing each aspect of the complex instrumentation to have its own space and shine on its own. 4

Sam: Thundercat is the go-to guy for funk right now. He was a winning inclusion on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and seems to have a new shot of career-momentum. Teaming up with Flying Lotus is a choice-move as the two operate in the same musical spectrum. It shows on Them Changes as it all seems so damn right. There’s so much of this funk stuff floating around at the moment and so much of it is imitation. The effortless vocal and floating bassline on this show that it’s the real deal - no imitation here. 4

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