First Impressions: Justin Bieber, Tove Lo, BANKS And More

Written By the interns on 08/09/2016


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 DJ Snake, Wafia & Ta-Ku, D.R.A.M., Tove Lo, BANKS and PARTYNEXTDOOR.

DJ Snake & Justin Bieber
Let Me Love You

Zanda Wilson: This song is so inoffensive that it makes me sick to my stomach. There’s nothing in the production that could even remotely deemed as interesting. Omg and what ever the fuck that sample sound that DJ Snake uses in the ‘drop’ section of every song he makes, is shitty and annoying. Oh and look, he’s taken away the instrumentation near the end and Bieber is singing mostly A Cappella, WHAT A FUCKING UNEXPECTED THING TO HAPPEN (NOT). There's a small section where JB pulls off some amazing falsetto that we haven’t heard loads of before, and really I can’t fault the Biebs on his singing in general - which is why I’m splitting this into two ratings.
DJ Snake: 0.5
Biebs: 2.5/5

Harrison Kefford: Why, DJ Snake of old was so great, but, I feel like he now fits into that category bridging sellout. Sorry, harsh, but the category continues to gain more artists (especially with dance music). His essential mix he did a few years back is still amazing, and this is the great DJ Snake I speak of. Getting onto Beiber, is there someone the dude isn’t collaborating with or has featured on a record with? It’s saturating, and I’ve never really been a fan of the dude. On the other hand, Cold Water was featured here a few weeks back and it has now semi grown on me. But, perhaps like Lean On and the thrashing on commercial radio that this will soon change. 2

Sam Murphy: Haha ok, so by the looks of it we’re rating both DJ Snake and Justin BIeber which I’m totally good with. Personally, I really like the song. I think Bieber kills the vocal melody and the bridge is bang on. That’s what saves the song, really. The melody is so good that it makes it even better than Cold Water but, I have to agree with Zanda, DJ Snake’s arrangement and production is so basic that he may as well have pulled it out of a cereal box. So, I’m in two minds because if I just listen to it and not think about it too much I like it but when I really dig deep into the production it’s unforgivably cut/paste. I’m going to play devil’s advocate and go with the former. 3.5

Ta-Ku & Wafia
Love Somebody

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Zanda: Oh wow. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, Ta-ku’s production and Wafia’s vocals were birthed from the same fountain of musical goodness - and were always meant to be together. And Ta-Ku is getting more and more confident in his own vocals too which is opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for his musicanship. The production is simple enough, and that’s because it’s designed perfectly to suit the haunting melodies and pin-point, unbelievably emotive harmonies in this wondrous effort. If you ever get a chance to see them live, take it. Ta-Ku debuted his live show at the Opera House earlier this year and it was beyond amazing, 4.5

Harrison: I am not a raving Ta-Ku fan, but I know the dude is a freakishly talented producer with many many big names worldwide wanting to collaborate and work with him. I really like this collaborative project he is building with Wafia, I feel like there are a lot of different things that could be tried and it’s hopefully going to be great to see it grow. The sound design here is beautifully haunting and the vocals from both Ta-Ku and Wafia really really resonate and harmonise well. 3.5

Sam: This is lovely. Really beautiful stuff once again from Ta-Ku and Wafia. Wafia’s vocals sound as rich and honey-soaked as ever and Ta-Ku’s falsetto is spot on but I can’t help but think they have something more in the tank. It just feels like they’re bubbling at 80 per cent and some more daring production could’ve taken it to the next level. I know the vibe of the song is meant to be paired-back and vocal-driven but I can’t help but feel it could’ve gone further. 3


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Harrison: “I think you’re cute”, I don’t know, it feels a little cringey, but at the same time the beat and the rest of song feel like a total ‘grower’ for me me. I wouldn’t go searching for this amongst my library, but if it came on I would still bump it. 2.5

Sam: D.R.A.M. is making some of the most melodic hip-hop around right now. You don’t get love songs like this too often in hip-hop. It pulls that love song dedication vibe from the soul world and lays it over a paired-back trap beat. D.R.A.M.’s vocals seem to be getting better and better and he’s now in a position where he could be grabbing some big commercial hits. I think this will be eaten up on US radio and for good reason too. It’s a cute, feel good jam and they don’t come around often enough in hip-hop. 4

Gemini Feed

Harrison: Gemini Feed is what I classify as a grower. For me it was initially a throw away, a track that sits in my library only to be seen or heard if Spotify selects it. But, boy do I wish I jumped into more from day 1. It’s incredibly catchy, through it’s alternatively dark, yet pop sounding production. The lyrics, wow. In short, don’t mess with Banks. Dark pop has it’s leader back, and boy cannot i wait for the September 30 release date of her sophomore album The Altar. 4.5 Harrison's Pick

Sam: Sorry, there’s just not much I can say about this. I’ve had enough of dark, over-thought electro-pop. 2

Tove Lo
Cool Girl

Harrison: What a jam. Thanks Sam, this is that pick of the week that makes its way into my Spotify rotation. I didn’t like the collaboration with Alesso (Heroes), nor did I enjoy the collaboration on Coldplay’s last album titled Fun, but this is totally fun, catchy and a really just great piece of pop music. My 2016 love for pop music continues to grow, so thank you Sam and Tove Lo. 4

Sam: Ok, now I can talk about electro-pop. This to me is very similar to Gemini Feed but instead of sucking the life out of it in some attempt to be edgy, Tove Lo embraces the pop and as a result delivers one of the best pop songs of the year so far. I love how the bass throbs and throughout and Lo creates the chorus simply with her own vocals. It just naturally unfolds and makes her sound so, so cool in the process. When you’ve got a voice like hers you don’t need to do too much with the instrumental and this song proves that. This will be her most successful single to date in my opinion. 4 Sam’s Pick

Don't Know How

Harrison: Another fairly solid hip-hop pick this week. This one shines brighter than Cute though. One of my favourite hip-hop tracks of the year is Deep End by THEY. and this could easily be just a great. Not much more I can grind out about this track though, other than it’s really really good (this is coming from a muso who doesn’t delve into the genres of hip-hop/ rap often). 3.5

Sam: This PARTYNEXTDOOR record is shaping up to be really cool. I loved Come And See Me and Not Nice and I’m also a fan of this. It’s like a more beefed-up version of Come And See Me taking things straight to the bedroom like PND does so well. This sounds like more of an album cut to me than a single as it doesn’t really have a hook that sticks out but if it is an album track it’s a damn good one. The release of P3 may just cure everyone's Frank desires for a second. 3.5

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