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 Kanye West, AlunaGeorge, The Range, Yuma X, POSTAAL and Jorja Smith.
This year, were leaving it up to our writer and creators to choose how they review each song. There will be cartoons, gifs, vines and any other format they feel necessary. This week one contributor chose to review everything in .gifs.
Im In Control (Feat. Popcaan)
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/alunageorge/im-in-control[/soundcloud]
4 Zandas Pick
Sam: It feels really familiar to have AlunaGeorge back. Alunas voice is so distinctive and its good to see them pushing their production into a more dancehall world. The inclusion of Popcaan is a stroke of genius as he just adds a little extra flavour that Aluna couldnt of done on their own. Apart from maybe Attracting Flies, this is the most radio-ready track they have done and should ensure that their status doesnt remain in the same place this year. Plus we need something to wash the bad taste of DJ Snakes remix out of our mouth. 4
Kanye West/Kendrick Lamar
No More Parties In L.A.
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/nomorepartiesinla[/soundcloud]
Sam: Kanye is a very clever man. He enlisted one of the best rappers, if not the best rapper, in the world to deliver a predictably brilliant verse but somehow Kanye beats it. I can only imagine Kanye enticed him by playing him an entirely different verse and then after he heard Kendricks went back to the drawing board and did everything he did to beat it. Sneaky but it worked. Theres more fire in Yeezys bars here than on any of his tracks from the past decade. The last minute and a half is utterly thrilling. Yes pulled SWISH back from the brink and now it looks like its going to be excellent. 4.5 Sams Pick
Keep Me Up
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/weareyuma_x/keep-me-up[/soundcloud]
Sam: Describing themselves simply as a boy-girl duo, Yuma X are straight out of Sydney, making melancholic but strangely warm music. Keep Me Up is probably my favourite drop from them to date. It just doesnt feel like it tries too hard at all rather relying on the emotional depth of it to keep it interesting. The vocals teeter on the edge and the instrumental ever-so-slightly grows, all the while tapping away at the heart-strings. 3.5
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jorjasmith/blue_lights[/soundcloud]
Sam: When the Alessia Cara album came out I was so disappointed that she didnt stick to the sing/rap that made Here so edgy and cool. Thats why Im so amped to here this track. Apparently this has already been endorsed by Stormzy and Skrillex and its easy to see why. Blue Lights is one of those debuts that grabs you straight away because its so distinctive and confident. The harmonies pack a punch, her flow is ridiculous and her voice is wildly soulful. Really exciting stuff. 4.5
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/postaal/burnin-2[/soundcloud]
Sam: Im actually really over warm, after-dark electronica and I was kind of ready to hit the pause button after the first 20 seconds of this but then that, keep the fires burning baby, sample hits and the euphoria kicks in. From that point onwards it feels anthemic and mighty but still has a really intimate containment about it. Its one of those songs that is just driven by a swelling, beating heart and that gives it so much substance. 4
[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/therangemusic/florida[/soundcloud]
Sam: One Soundcloud user wrote on this song, best song Ive ever heard, and while I wouldnt go that far its pretty bloody good. It pulls out all the stops - the steel drums, the flighty vocal sample, the skittering beat. It swells up to a climax and then reigns everything back in before doing it all over again. Theres really not much more I can say about it apart from the fact it makes me feel everything at once. Its a confusing but exciting feeling. 4