First Impressions: M83, ZAYN, What So Not And More

Written By the interns on 03/22/2016


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 PARTYNEXTDOOR, M83, ZAYN, Mura Masa, What So Not and Major Lazer.

Come And See Me

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/partyomo/come-and-see-me-ft-drake[/soundcloud]

Sam: It’s shaping up to be a really big year for PARTYNEXTDOOR. He’s already penned Rihanna’s surprise hit Work and now he’s returned with this perfectly understated jam. It moves at such a slow pace and yet it’s so expertly navigated that he never lets it get boring or slow. I think if I heard this and Drake wasn’t on it I would’ve been surprised because it’s a textbook “Drake singing” track and he expectedly elevates the song in its dying minute. 4

Meshell: This is so smooth I feel like I’ve just laid down into a pool of warm chocolate…no I am not on drugs, the song is just that good. 4

Jack: I surprisingly like this. I don’t care about Drake at all, I think he’s rubbish; PND is the hero here. With a less is more beat, it’s the kind of song you do your homework to after school in the 2000s thinking bout yo crush but also the kind of song you f**k to. 3.5

Alistair: Am I chilling in a hammock on a sunny Sunday sipping on cold as fuck beer? Well, whilst listening to this, I most certainly should be. This is such a smooth track that is perfect for a chilled Sunday sesh. 3.5

Courtney: I’d previously heard of PARTYNEXTDOOR purely for his Kehlani connection but after this jam I definitely wanna check out more. I totally agree with Sam though, this track has Drake written all over it, or even Jeremih and it would have been blasphemy for him not to feature. This track is perfect for rolling up the Js and getting comfy.

Average score: 3.8/5 


Sam: I was getting worried that Do It, Try It was a sign that the whole album would be colourful but this has restored my faith. There’s nothing better than a cinematic M83 and this is a grandiose epic. I’m not sure it’s a song I’m going to go back and listen to on my own over and over because it’s a pretty huge song to devour casually but in the context of the album it’s going to be pretty stunning. That howling guitar in the middle is so kitsch but it just feels so right and only M83 could pull that off.

Meshell: THIS is the M83 I fell in love with. I’ve had this track on repeat since the second it was released so this is not really my first impression, more like my 105th. It’s still perfect. 5 Meshell’s Pick

Jack: It’s not often I say this about anything, but i’m getting some Radiohead vibes. Like, if Radiohead were a band in the ’80s they might sound like this. Firstly the strings, the bloody strings, followed by a nice warm fuzzy synth lead solo…M83 more like M8!3. Beautiful vocals, arrangement and a spectacular ending to get you really excited for the album. 4.5

Alistair: M83 are finally back and this is the M83 that we all know! What a journey they are taking you on in this song, feels like I have slowly flown through the milky way and around the universe five times over. Yes, it’s a slow track but it’s not a bad slow. Would listen to this over and over again. 4

Courtney: Whilst I appreciate what M83 do, and I do love some of their stuff, I’m not going to lie…I kept skipping through this song to try and find a part that interested me and never found it. 2.5 

Average score: 4 


Sam: After repeat listens, I’ve decided I really don’t like Like I Would, so I’m relieved to hear something like this. This is why he should’ve left One Direction, to make music like this where he can manipulate his vocals and howl into the final chorus with a falsetto that could shatter glass. The hook is A+ and it may be the first time that he’s delivered that weird R&B record that he’s been promising all along. 4

Meshell: Sorry but all I’m hearing is D-grade Justin Timberlake…and I love Justin Timberlake so I’m not really cool with that. Zayn gets some points for effort but extra deductions for spelling all his song titles like a fucking 12 year old in 2007 on MSN. 0.5

Jack: [No comment] 0

Alistair: This just sounds like D-grade pop garbage, I’m not liking this one bit and wouldn’t listen to it again. It’s safe to say that you couldn’t even pay me to listen to it. 0

Courtney: What I love about everything Zayn has put out so far is that none of the songs sound alike but they all fit somehow. I think that is one of hardest things to pull off on an album. He experiments with so many different genres and mixes techniques so well to make what are essentially pop songs but with an authenticity and BeFoUr is no different. Finally his vocal chops aren’t buried behind overproduction or 4 other voices, but I guess I am biased, being a massive One Direction fan, I’d love anything he did. Just happy it’s as good as promised. 4.5 

Average score: 1.8/5 

Mura Masa
What If I Go?

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/muramasamusic/what-if-i-go-1[/soundcloud]

Sam: Mura Masa is making the most emotional electronic music on the planet right now and each time he picks the perfect vocalist to carry that through. Shura was gentle on finessed on Love For That and Bonzai is soulful and heartwarming on this one. It’s such a easily devoured track but is also split into so many little musical detours. He’s challenging what you can fit into a three minute pop song and effortlessly succeeding. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Meshell: My first listen to this was on really dodgy speakers and I kind of hated it. On second listen with killer headphones I can see what the hype is about. The production all kinds of dope but I’m still not sold on calling this the best song of the week. Sorry, mates. 3.5

Jack: Mura Masa is the crystal ball of music like this, the mother f**king future. This song is everything all the songs like it couldn’t achieve. It’s so unbelievably catchy yet still classy. It’s the perfect mixture of cute and sexy, and the drop goes fucking hard, it makes me smile, makes me so happy. If this was My Kitchen Rules, Mura Masa would be on the top of the leader board after cooking up this delicious earful (that was a shit analogy), soznotsoz. 5 Jack’s Pick

Alistair: Mura Masa has absolutely killed it on this track. The vocalist chosen for this is just pure perfection. When that beat dropped at approx 2:20 it just blew my mind away!! 4.5

Courtney: Mura Masa never ever disappoints. He is completely original, inventive and prophetic. When that beat drops it’s just magic, literally anyone looking for magic in this world, look no further. 5 Courtney’s pick 

Average score: 4.5/5 

Innerbloom (What So Not Remix)

Sam: One of the main strengths of this is that Innerbloom has finally been condensed into a four minute song from its original unnecessary length. That synth-line from the original song was always its biggest strength and that’s placed in the spotlight here which is good. Good is all I’ve really got for it right now. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a little predictable. Festivals will love it. 2.5 

Meshell: RUFUS are boring and this remix is boring. What So Not, you’re better than this. 2

Jack: Well it’s better than the original, but I don’t know…I guess you know you can’t polish a turd at the best times, let alone an 8 minute long one, even when you do cut it in half. I like What So Not though, and RUFUS. But if you’ve ever listened to, say an 8 min Kiasmos track, you’d understand how boring 8 minutes of RUFUS can be in comparison. 4 mins with a banging drum beat is tolerable at least. 2

Alistair: For those of you that are really familiar with What So Not would have heard this remix on a fan video that was uploaded of Emoh dropping this in one of his sets. Those of you that have been lucky enough to have experienced this live would have fallen in love with this remix. What So Not just keeps going from strength to strength. I fucking love this remix and am so glad it’s properly available now. The drop that comes in halfway through always has me and moving and dancing like a crazy man. 5 Alistair’s pick

Courtney: I like RUFUS, I do, but I was never on that RUFUS IS SO F**KING AMAZING bandwagon. Same goes for What So Not. The song to begin with wasn’t my cup of tea and this remix just makes it worse. I feel like I have heard this exact version before, just nothing new, special or interesting about this. MEH. 2

Average score: 2.7/5 

Major Lazer/Grandtheft
Number One

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/majorlazer/major-lazer-grandtheft-number-one-1[/soundcloud]

Sam: Grandtheft is stepping up right now. His EP this year was ace and this is pretty damn enjoyable too. It’s a classic, early-Major Lazer aesthetic and while it’s nothing really different, I challenge anyone to listen to it and not crack a smile at least once. That end is almost comically ridiculous but the track is meant to be a lot of fun and it is exactly that. 3.5 

Meshell: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS! *Gets up on table and white girl twerks* 4

Jack: Love both these artists, and I love dancehall inspired sounds. I’d much prefer to listen to trap like this than that festival shit, it reminds me of the kind of cutting and sampling real good DJs do. It’s on the verge of of a future breaks sound, which (you read here first) will be returning to our ears this year. Calling it, Breakbeat will be back big by 2017. 4

Alistair: What a timely release, as Grandtheft is about to grace our shores!! In 3 days time I’ll be experiencing this live and I absolutely can not wait!! You’ve got Grandtheft and Major Lazer on one track, what more do I even need to say. This song has it all, trap beats, moombahton and Major Lazer’s famous dancehall feel. Such a weapon of a track. This is going to go off at Oxford Arts. 4.9

Courtney: For some reason at certain points of this song I hear that goddamn Crazy Frog tune, is that just me?!?! Either way it’s still fun and catchy as hell. I’d bust a move to it.

Average score: 3.8/5 

Now time for your vote:

Best First Impression of the week?

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