First Impressions: Skepta, James Blake, Kid Cudi And More

Written By the interns on 04/20/2016


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 AlunaGeorge, Skepta, James Blake, Kid Cudi, A$AP Ferg and Goldwash.

I Remember

Sean: For a Flume production, this is very restrained. I definitely appreciate that, because it makes the fact that this is an AlunaGeorge track that features Flume easier to wrap your head around. Plus I’m in love with Aluna, she can do no wrong in my eyes. 3.5

James: I enjoy both of these artists, usually, but this song is kind of bleh, meh and boring. I just can't vibe with it, I can't connect with it. I can't do very much at all with it. All involved can do a hell of a lot better than this. 2.5

Alistair: AlunaGeorge has been popping up everywhere in the last year and a bit. Name one good electro song that she isn’t on these days. It's no wonder too, she has an amazing voice that goes so well with melodic synths, she’s a producer’s wet dream! Aluna and flume together is a lethal mix that brings so much happiness to my ears. 3.9

Average Score: 3.3


Sean: omfg. These lyrics. This rhythm. Skepta is the GOAT grime. If this is the calibre we’re expecting from his album, I’m done. Let the record show that this is the highest I’ve ever rated a track. 4.5 Sean's Pick

James: Sean is on point here, Skepta is king Grime. We’re only a couple of weeks away from the release of Skepta’s new album (keep your eyes peeled for that review, y’all), and Skepta’s just flexin’ here. Straight up, this track is Grime incarnate. This is big attitude, big fuck you. ‘My mum don't know your mum’ shit. This is lit. 4

Alistair: Skepta’s album is just around the corner and if the rest of the album is half as good as this track then we are in for a treat. Skepta is sitting high up on the throne of Grime and rightfully so. The verses and lyrics are second to none on this track. It’s evident that Skepta always rhymes from the heart with a load of homegrown truths. 4.6 Alistair's Pick

Average Score: 4.36

James Blake

Sean: I’ve said before that I don’t get James Blake. This is far more up my alley though. It’s easily-digestible, progressive hip hop-influenced electronic music, and that’s a winning combination. I don’t know enough about James Blake to go into detail here, but maybe I’ll give him a fairer go from now. 3

James: Unlike Sean, I'm big on James Blake. Enough so that his last album, Overgrown, would quite easily find itself in my personal top ten albums. Naturally, then, this has been a very exciting week for me. The new album has been officially announced (18 tracks in length!!), the man himself is coming to Australia (blessings to Splendour) and this song was released. The title speaks for itself - Timeless. 4.5 James' Pick

Alistair: I’ve never been a fan of James Blake and never really understood him. It always just seems like the bloke is whinging whilst trying his hardest to sing. The backing track on this is just repetitive and annoying. That constant ticking noise that sounds like a sprinkler was really getting to me. The only time I want to hear the sound of a sprinkler is when I’m laying underneath one on a hot summer’s day which I don’t think is at all possible at the moment considering it’s the middle of April. 1

Average Score: 2.83

Kid Cudi
All In

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Sean: I told myself I probably wouldn’t care about Cudi much after he (aggressively) left G.O.O.D., but this is so sick. I hit play and forgot I was meant to be remembering my thoughts to write down. Return to form here. I actually dropped the score of the Aluna/Flume track above after listening to this one, this is the new benchmark for a 4

James: Cudi is my man, my spirit animal. I did a write up of him for interns not too long ago, and this song is just precise proof of what I said in that write up. Kid Cudi is a musical chameleon, and who honestly saw a Mike Will-Made It collaboration coming? Still, it's here, it's glorious. Not quite as good as Cudi’s last release, The Frequency, but damn good all the same! 4

Alistair: Right from the start you just know that this track is going to be a magical masterpiece. Kid Cudi has done a very good job on losing the listener within the song. He seems to have knack at doing that time and time again. I absolutely love the start and the finish of the song with calm ocean sounds. I’M ALL IN! 4

Average Score: 4

A$AP Ferg
Strive (Feat. Missy Elliot)

Sean: I’m not a big A$AP Ferg fan, and this to me feels like an off-brand attempt to cross over. It sounds like something Vic Mensa could’ve pulled off. But Missy takes the cake here. Expert level status. Although if I’m being honest, that beat would’ve suited Tkay Maidza so well, I wish we could’ve seen that verse on a remix pack. 2, bonus points for Missy

James: I'm big on A$AP Ferg (though thank God we aren't reviewing Hungry Ham), and this track is flames. I tweeted out a shout out to this song calling it one of the hottest songs of the year so far, and I don't think I was overstating anything. Missy doesn't even sound much like Missy here, but she's such a good feature regardless. This is a bumper! Ferg’s album is days away and I'm chomping at the bit to hear it in its entirety. 4.2

Alistair: I’ve been eagerly waiting a couple of years for another Ferg album and I’m really hoping that the rest of Always Strive and Prosper is going to be a lot better than this. My guess is that this song’s main goal and intention is to break up the album and seek out a wider audience. Missy really saves the song. 2

Average Score: 2.73


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Sean: Sorry Goldwash, I’m still thinking about Tkay on that Ferg track.

James: Unlike the Alunageorge track, I can vibe with this. I can see myself grooving to it, I appreciate it. Is it a stand-out, write home to anybody track? Nope. But it's solid, regardless. 3

Alistair: This is one funky number. All of the jazz elements are ever so neatly brought together. This would definitely create a sea of girls to go into a state of shimmying in unison. 3

Average Score: 3

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