First Impressions: Adele, Justin Bieber, Wafia And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 10/27/2015


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 apart tracks by WAFIA, Adele, Justin Bieber, Elizabeth Rose, TALA and Danny L. Harle.


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Zanda: The Ta-Ku production is instantly recognisable and the two go together like perfectly. Wafia has been floating around featuring on Ta-Ku and Charles Murdoch tracks for a while now and has finally announced her debut record, this being the first track. There are a lot of good vocalists going around but Wafia has that intangible quality that makes her magnificently soulful and sweet vox instantly unique and recognisable. She will go far, of that I have no doubt.  5 Zanda’s Pick

Sam: I’ve been waiting so long for Wafia’s official launch and this is a slightly unexpected track for me in that it’s so beautifully understated. She hasn’t really arrived with a big bang and there’s something really dignified and sophisticated about that. Ta-Ku’s production is crisp and well-timed as per usual but it’s Wafia’s melodies in the verses that really melt the heart. Her voice has a really smokey, malleable texture and that combined with what she’s singing hits in a subtle but highly effective way. 4


Zanda:  Right well I can’t possibly say anything about this one because the first time I heard the opening line was when watching the video below and after that I can’t take it seriously so I’m sitting this one out. N/A

"i INVENTED its me!"

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Sam: This is a hard one. It’s a MASSIVE ballad and that’s exactly what Adele had to deliver in order for this comeback to be successful. It clearly has as she’s broken just about every record around the world in the last few days and that makes me happy. There’s something really safe about Adele being at the top. She’s got a brilliant voice, a nice personality and feels separated from the rest of the mainstream. My issue is that this song feels a bit safe. There’s nothing that really hooks me like the soaring chorus of Rolling In The Deep or the heart-smack of Someone Like You. Not bad, but not earth shattering. 3

Justin Bieber

Zanda: I hope its not too late to say sorry to those poor girls in that video clip for that part where they’re making some weird face to bum dance train that is way too human centipede for me. I can see how plenty of reasonable folks would like this track, but any strides forward musically that Justin made with What Do You Mean? (which I honestly didn’t mind all that much) are taken back here. The main synth riff uses the exact same synthetic instrument and bass that dominates What Do You Mean? but simply speeds it u on this one. There are also too many weird briefly used trumpet-like and weirdly affected vocal noises for me to take this seriously. 1.5

Sam: Now everybody has decided that it’s OK to like Justin Bieber I guess we’re going to get back on the path to gradually disliking him again. That’s how public opinion works doesn’t it? Sorry is a very safe choice for the second single. As Zanda said, the instrumentation is this one is almost identical to What Do You Mean? and it’s only saving grace is that the bridge is an absolute knockout - even more so after the second verse when it’s extended. The whole thing though is catchy as hell and I can’t help but like it. My issue is that it’s just a bit same-same. It’s probably about time we had something that wasn’t produced by Skrillex and meant to be consumed with island cocktails. 3.5

Danny L. Harle

Zanda: Phenomenal stuff. Many may say that all PC Music sounds the same but the beauty of it as a genre or style, if you can call that, is that the subtle changes explore the style whilst still staying very true to a specific set of musical ideals. The vocals are very Hannah Diamond which in itself is unsurprising, but the production has so many elements. The harsh synths are quite Rustie-esque, and that sparse melodic gamer run in the back end is a perfect climax. 4

Sam: I was beginning to wonder why we hadn’t heard from PC Music for a little while and this Columbia Records signing explains it all. Danny L. Harle’s Forever is the perfect song to come out of the gates with. It has that rushing euphoric feeling that defined PC Music. It’s also addictive, kitsch and coated in ‘90s nostalgia. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve become very accustomed to this kind of music or whether it’s just that the songs a little more straightforward but this feels like the labels most accessible release to date. 4 Sam’s Pick


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Zanda: A super soulful track, with both vocalists bringing the super smooth vocals that they’re known for. That is until the second half of the track when the vocal effects start to go take away from how beautiful both Banks and Tala’s actual organic voices are. I also don’t really get the intro or understand what it’s supposed to add to the track. I also really enjoyed the production at the start, simple and bold basslines really suit it, but as it went along the production just became cluttered and weird. A lot of potential with this one but I think they were a tad off the mark unfortunately. 3

Sam: I absolutely love TALA and I think that’s because she’s always infused her tracks with interesting, middle eastern flavours which set her apart from the rest of the dark electropop scene. Unfortunately by recruiting BANKS on this one she’s entered straight into that world and delivers something that feels a little middle of the road compared to her previous outputs. I hope the BANKS feature gets TALA’s name out there a bit more and maybe by providing something a little more conventional that’s the hope - that it will stick a little more with audiences who are perhaps not ready for her weird stuff. 2.5

Elizabeth Rose
Shoulda Coulda Woulda

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Zanda: Lizzy Rose is getting back to the funky style of music that she was making a while ago when collaborating with people like Chrome Sparks. I’ve been trying to think of a word to best describe the attitude with which the production and vocals come across on this track, and I think that ‘spunk’ definitely fits. This track is another one off a full length debut LP due out next year, and I’m already tipping it as one of the albums of 2016. 4.5

Sam: This is her strongest track since The Good Life in my opinion. It’s got a really effortless funkiness to it wrapped in pop sensibility which makes it so easy to listen to. M-Phazes spacious production leaves plenty of room for Rose’s sweet vocals to shine through and it greats that nothing much changes in the chorus except the addictive melody. I love tracks like these that are really catchy but take a while to creep up on you. There’s a real magic to this track and even if you don’t recognise it on the first listen, you’ll find it. 4

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