First Impressions: Skrillex, Cosmo's Midnight, Lana Del Rey + More

Written By the interns on 07/21/2015

FI_21July

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 Vic Mensa, Skrillex, CHVRCHES, Lana Del Rey and more. 

Vic Mensa And Skrillex
No Chill


Annie: Oh how far Skrillex has come since the dark days of Bangarang. The dubstep king teams up with Chicago newcomer Vic Mensa here, producing a huge track that most definitely has no chill (sorry, I had to). This song gives strength to my inclination that Skrillex is at his best when paired with rappers (such as A$AP), what’s better than heavy beats teamed up with Mensa’s heavy-hitting vocals? 3

Sam: There’s definitely more Mensa in this one than Skrillex which is good to hear. With this and U Mad, it’s clear to see that Mensa is forming a good identity built upon big-sounding horns and dark beats. He’s really channeling post-Yeezus vibes and it’s working for him. By getting Skrillex on board though he’s now in an awkward position where the track's not commercial enough for FM radio and Skrill will probably deter underground fans. It’s not easy this music stuff, I tell ya. 3.5

Cosmo’s Midnight (Feat. KUCKA)
Walk With Me

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/cosmosmidnight/cosmos-midnight-walk-with-me-feat-kucka[/soundcloud]

Annie: Everything ties together so beautifully here. The keyboards, uplifting synth and bright keyboard melody sound perfect in conjunction with KUCKAs smooth vocals. There’s an AlunaGeorge-esque kind of vibe here, so it came as no surprise to me that they have collaborated before. The song in essence is incredibly sweet, in a substantial kind of way. Cosmo’s Midnight are definitely an act to look out for in the future. 4

Sam: Most people who take an interest in Australian dance music will be very well-acquainted with Cosmo’s Midnight but they’re still yet to reach the status of, say, Golden Features. That’s because they haven’t had their big-break song yet. Until now. Walk With Me is just so effortless in the way KUCKA delivers the melody and the instrumental plods along. It’s breezy and yet it leaves such a lasting impression on you. Basically, a match made in heaven. 4

CHVRCHES
Leave A Trace

Annie: I can’t get into CHVRCHES, despite the mass amounts of hype. It’s not that I find them hard to listen to in any way; their songs just never leave any impression on me, negative or positive. This song is mildly enjoyable, it gives me a slight understanding as to why other people sing their praises so highly at least. But as a whole, I probably won’t listen again. 2.5

Sam: Lauren Mayberry is the queen of icy lyrics. “Anything you ever did was strictly by design,” she sings with the sweetest, most delectable tone making you crumble inside but also develop a stern snarl. CHVRCHES are great at juxtaposing the lyrics and the instrumental. They haven’t really changed anything much from their debut but that’s completely okay because that record was basically flawless. This one kicks off round two in stunning form with what is probably their strongest single to date. Also, will that Irish accent ever grow tiring? I think not. 4.5 Sam's Pick 

Lana Del Rey
Honeymoon

Annie: With Lana’s last release, she was criticised endlessly for her reinvention from New York singer Lizzie Grant to the curated, femme fatale Lana Del Rey. She has been accused by many of inauthenticity, with the kind of vigour that one would expect an exposed cam artist to endure. At this point, however, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Lana is clearly great at what she does, and Honeymoon is a perfect example of this. Soulful doesn’t feel potent enough a word to describe her vocals in this track. Honeymoon sounds like it was ripped directly from an old-time cinema soundtrack, it is truly something lovely. 3.5 Annie's Pick 

Sam: Just as it was almost getting tiring to defend LDR, everyone changed their tune when Ultraviolence turned out to be pretty damn good. The great thing is, going into album number three, she really shouldn’t have any concerns. And it shows. Dropping a sparse ballad like this as the first taste is a bold move and also says that LDR doesn’t really give two shits if you like it or not. On Honeymoon she curls her smokey vocals around an instrumental inspired by Hollywood grandeur. It’s elegant, decadent but also a little dark and hollow. It’s probably not the most enthralling thing she’s done, but her vocal is flawless. 3.5

Liz

When I Rule The World

Annie: ‘If Aqua was formed in 2015’, is an accurate way to describe this song. The track, which you may recognise from the new Samsung Galaxy commercial, is a fun homage to early 2000’s pop. It’s quality pop music, with the vocals channeling Britney Spears in a way that isn’t grating. It’s wholly enjoyable, but admittedly the track is probably best suited for your guilty pleasures playlist. 3

Sam: Apart from that Madonna track, Sophie has been pretty quiet on the release front. Thank goodness he’s back and he’s chosen the perfect partner in crime. Liz is a nostalgia-sucking, millennium-influenced popstar who has always suited the PC Music aesthetic. This is her first foray into this world and it’s without a doubt her most successful output to date. When I Rule The World pairs together a bubblegum-popping verse with a sickly sweet chorus that’s successful in being powerfully addictive. Sophie is yet to really have a commercial hit given that Bitch, I’m Madonna sunk but this really has a chance if anyone’s brave enough to start spinning it for the masses. 4

YG
Twist My Fingaz

Annie: I’m definitely way, way out of my element with this song, but it reminds me of ‘My Neck, My Back’ by Khia, which I like, although I’m not sure whether that’s entirely a good thing…
There’s something that pushed me to replay it three times however, so I suppose this track may be just as ‘fYAAA’ as the Youtube comments suggest. 2

Sam: One really good thing that Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly left behind is the re-introduction of organic instrumentation in commercial hip-hop. YG is definitely sitting in that lane rapping over a beat that sounds influenced by Thundercat. The beat is the best part about it, funky and personality-filled, but YG doesn’t really bring anything memorable to it unfortunately. The thing that separates it from anything on To Pimp A Butterfly is that it’s pleasant. Nothing on Lamar’s record was pleasant - it all stood in your face and demanded attention. “Do your dance YG,” doesn’t really do that. 3

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