First Impressions: Sia, Calvin Harris, DJ Khaled And More

Written By the interns on 06/28/2016

firstimpcalvinFirst 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 DJ Khaled, George Maple x What So Not, Alice Ivy, Shura, Calvin Harris and Sia

Also, listen to the Episode 3 of the First Impressions podcast below:

DJ Khaled
I Got The Keys (Feat. Jay Z and Future)

Harrison Kefford: Yet again, hip hop isn’t my forte so this isn’t doing much for me. I will say this though, if this collaboration is anything to work on, Khaled’s album is going to be stacked with some notable artists. 2

Jack Cain: Geez, if Jay Z wasn't on this song it would be like musical equivalent of flushing a toilet at your girlfriend's parents house and it getting blocked. The shittest thing to ever happen. 1

Sam Murphy: Apart from DJ Khaled yelling over the whole thing like a radio tag I’m really into this. If you’re not up on what Future’s doing you’re probably too late and it’s his vibe that speaks louder than HOV’s on I Got The Keys. While Future steals the show, I actually do have to give it up to Jay Z for providing some of his best bars in a very long time. It’s the first time he’s sounded relevant in a very long time and the verse when he comes in after Future is total fire. Props to Khaled for that woozy backdrop too. 4

Average Score: 2.3

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What So Not x George Maple
Buried (Feat. Rome Fortune)

Harrison: A collaboration of rising stars, truly. George Maple, I mean, another Female artist who is currently killing it in Australian music, cc: Sticks & Horses. This track will only add to the excitement of What So Not’s forthcoming tour with A-Trak and Rome Fortune and Maple's headline tour too. 3.5

Jack: I am a big fan of George Maple but with Rome Fortune being a relatively new sound to my ears, and being a huge of What So Not's early days I’m just not overly sold here. Like it's cool and stuff, but where’s the Get Free remix vibes and the Quack, Seven Dollar Bill vibes - Emoh m8, I miss ya sounds. Though this is nice in parts, I do appreciate some musicality squeezing into the song, guess all that music school classically training had to be put to use somewhere. 3

Sam: This is an unexpected tune from all three of the artists involved. It’s the most hip-hop thing What So Not and George Maple have ever done and it’s the most pop-centred thing Rome Fortune has ever done. All things considered, it works. George Maple’s hook in hypnotising although I would’ve liked to hear more and Rome Fortune fires through those verses. I like that What So Not has been a little restrained in his production here, it might be the most mature he’s ever sounded. 4

Average Score: 3.5

Alice Ivy
Almost Here (Feat. RaRa)

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/alice-ivy/almost-here-ft-rara1[/soundcloud]

Harrison: I am desperately trying to vibe this, but I just cannot get into it. Like, it’s not taking me anywhere and to be honest the only part of this song I like are the first 13 seconds, and the first 13 seconds don’t really add much to the song either. Props to Alice Ivy, because she’s from Melbourne and I can sort of see what she is trying to do here, but again, it’s Almost Here just isn’t for me. 2

Jack: Very nice song - the chorus is refreshing. The whole sound, however, is a bit of a cliché to me. I'm a sucker for Aussie hip-hop/funk though, it's my guilty pleasure and RaRa is flying nicely on this one. Georgia Van Etten signing on this suits it damn nicely too. Nice is the word I give this. Impressive, not so much. 2.5

Sam: C’mon guys this a jam. Alice Ivy lays down some of the best production I’ve heard all year locally with those jazzy, throwback stylings and as a result she makes RaRa sound maybe the best they’ve ever sounded. Georgia Van Etten’s hook is beautifully melodic and so delectable. If we consider this a hip-hop song I actually think it’s the most internationally-viable hip-hop song to come out of Australia all year. 4

Average Score: 2.83

Shura
Make It Up

Harrison: WOW, there is so much about this is surprisingly really really like. For me, it’s got this real late 80’s, early 90’s vibe with it’s instrumentals/sounds. The beat, the guitar and the vocals are pretty damn crisp. I can already see myself being caught dancing around the house or yet again, this being my new song for my daily train trek. 4 Harrison’s Pick

Jack: I really wanted to like this song but it just doesn't really do much for me, it's like the poor man's Groove Armada. Imagine Paper Romance but without all the good stuff. It's cool, but lacklustre. 3

Sam: I kind of get Jack’s Paper Romance reference because it does melodically sound a little like that but sonically I don’t think that’s Shura’s vibe at all. She’s not a dance artist, instead she’s making some of the most fragile, emotional pop tunes around right now. At this point, I just want the album because for me she’s yet to put a foot wrong. This is subtle and beautifully nuanced. She doesn’t try too hard at any point rather just letting that melody slip right out. 4 Sam's Pick

Average Score: 3.6

Calvin Harris/Dizzee Rascal
Hype

Harrison: I just blatantly ignore everything that Calvin Harris is responsible for now, talk about butchering everything that makes dance music great. I don’t see how anyone can get down this in a club, let alone a house party. It’s absolutely putrid sounding, and yet again just shows how cheap of a producer Calvin Harris has become. Thank god Taylor Swift ditched this sellout (Oh yes, I went there!). This has quite possibly ruined my love for Bonkers (Jokes, Bonkers is still a massive anthem). 0.5

Jack: I really enjoy Dizzee Rascal, he's like the original Skepta if you ask me but much cheesier/more fun and festival friendly. Dizzee Rascal has more going on than Bonkers, his last pairing with Calvin Harris, was Holiday which is such an anthem it isn't funny, but if you were born in 1994 I totally get that you don't get the heroes of Parklife 2009/10/11 vibe. Sorry though, Harrison, you can't sell out if you've always been a huge pop star. This song isn't the coolest thing in the world but it isn't the worst, it's just referencing a different type of dance music. Eight years ago, this would be massive and I'd have loved it, maybe that's 'cause I was fried back then. 3.5 Jacks Pick

Sam: I have to agree wholeheartedly with Harrison on this one. I don’t think Calvin Harris is a sellout in the way that he wasn’t always a big popstar, I think he’s a sellout because he’s gone from actually making major waves in the pop game (We Found Love, Bounce) to consistently providing lazy, cookie cutter production. At least the drop on this is the first thing he’s done that’s different in years but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s abrasive and verging on unlistenable. I was never a fan of Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris together although I’ve never been a fan of anything Dizzee has done from Bonkers onwards. This is a guy who featured Robbie Williams on a hook. If we want to talk about sellouts, Dizzee’s your guy. Complete trash. 1

Average Score: 1.6

Sia & Diplo
Waving Goodbye

Harrison: I really like how this song builds with the addition of Sia’s vocals. But other then that, i just cannot connect with this. I can hear the contribution Diplo has made and there are some really neat elements. The song really shines when Sia isn’t belting it out vocally. 2.5

Jack: Sia is awesome, big fan. Same with Diplo. Elastic Heart was amazing but this is a bit, I don't know...did we need another Diplo x Sia collab? Probably not. Its taken the sting out of it for me. I must agree with Harrison here too, I'd love to hear that drop without Sia singing over it, and just let it be a moment of euphoria. 2

Sam: Essentially it’s a Diplo and Sia song that’s not as good as Elastic Heart. It’s not bad by any means but it doesn’t really stick with me which is odd for a Sia hook. It’s nice to hear her on an electronic beat and it’s a pleasant song overall which is maybe all it has to be. It’s a song for a movie not a massive Sia single so I don’t think we can expect too much. 3

Average Score: 2.5

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