First Impressions: The Weeknd, Lido, Anderson .Paak And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 09/28/2016


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 Lido, JOY., The Weeknd, Kult Kyss, NxWorries and Dirty Projectors.


Reece Hooker: Lido brings such a fresh and vibrant sound to the table that I can’t help but love his work. This track has more energy in it through the first ninety seconds than most could pack into five minutes. I feel like this track really finds its feet once the vocals come in and the arrangement slows a little. It’s delicate, considered and builds brilliantly to a frenetic breakdown that feels so damn satisfying. 4

Zanda: I get chills every time i year that descending minor arpeggio that Lido tags the beginning of his tracks with; because I know what’s coming next is going to make me so fucking happy. The intro  is absolutely classic Lido - cascading melodies punctuated by a pulsating, hard hitting beat. He then goes dark with the first drop and then shows off how much complexity there is to the harmonies he creates in a bridge that contains no drums or bass but is just as captivating as anything we’ve heard from him so far. There’s not really a structure here, but Lido proves that it doesn’t matter because despite that; it remains cohesive. Holy crap what a track. 5 Zanda’s Pick

Sam: I don’t like this as much as Crazy but given how much I like Crazy that’s barely saying anything. This is meant to be the beginning of the Everything story and while it potentially doesn’t grab as a singular track, it’s going to sound pretty spectacular in the grand scheme of things. In saying that, it’s full of eclectic, delicious sounds and a vocal sample that shoots straight at the feels, in true Lido fashion. 4

Average Score: 4.3

Birthday (Feat. Lil Aaron)

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Reece: JOY. is an excellent artist and I love her willingness to try new things, but this one isn’t fully clicking with me. It’s very much a middle of the road, run of the mill hazy booty call anthem. They’re not bad and we all something to listen to when we’re trying to feel cool in the Uber at 1am, but I’m not going to remember this past a few weeks. 3

Zanda: It’s really awesome to see JOY. producing her own tracks more and more, but it’s also not easy to see why tracks that she features on by other, more experienced producer (think What So Not) do much better. There’s just not much happening in the mix, and kindof sounds like it was thrown together as an afterthought after the vocal melody was written. 3

Sam: I’ve always been a fan of JOY. but now I’m really seeing where she fits as an International artist. It’s so cool to see her play wtih her voice and see what it can do texturally. The bridge is just so strong it almost makes me melt and then she gives this wonky, off-kilter chorus that is so unusual but so right for her. Lil Aaron has made bonafide superstars out of the quirkiest of characters and he’s doing the same here. I just love that an Aussie artist is pushing the envelope, dropping albums with an IDGAF attitude and doing something that’s not fucking boring. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 4.5 Sam's Pick

Average Score: 3.5

The Weeknd
Starboy (Feat. The Weeknd)

Reece: I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about this song, though maybe that’s just people expecting something earth shattering from The Weeknd and Daft Punk. I really like the prodding computerised drums and the way The Weeknd just swaggers over the verses. The entire song feels like a really excellent foundation, but it doesn’t really advance anywhere to be truly fantastic. Still a perfectly good song, anyway. 3.5

Zanda: Never been a huge fan of The Weeknd, but sure if his stuff comes on at the club I won’t shy away from the dancefloor. Daft Punk are absolute gods to me; so when The Weeknd revealed that they were collaborating on this track i was way too excited. Unfortunately this was never going to live up to the hype that naturally builds up in me prior to every Daft Punk release; though after a few listens I found I liked it more and more. 3.5

Sam: When I saw that Daft Punk were featured on this, the last thing I expected was to hear him go back to a similar sound we were introduced to on House Of Balloons. This is The Weeknd finding out how to craft pop hits while retaining that dark, low-key sound that made him so popular with the internet in the first place. This is a slow-burner and it’s not going to strike with the same power as Can’t Feel My Face but it’s got so much more longevity. Slick. 4

Average Score: 3.6

Kult Kyss
Get Up Boy

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Reece: If I ever get invited to a beach party on Mars, I look forward to the DJ dropped this one. It’s so bouncy and polished - wearing its influences on its sleeve and really not caring. It staggers me that this is the first release from Kult Kyss, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. 4

Zanda; I gave this a good long listen and then a second time just to make sure I was pretty much spot on thinking; ‘wait it goes for four minutes and nothing really happens?” The vocals are pretty catchy; but i’m not a fan of the EQ’ing, I find that three note sample that literally doesn’t stop over the whole thing really annoying by the end. 2

Sam: I just love hearing different stuff come out of this country which is why this track immediately caught my attention. To me, it sounds like Four Tet produced a pop track on another track. Every sound in it is intriguing and yet it still manages to string together a melody that accessible and delicious. There’s mystery in this and it’s not just the type that artists attach to their image when they’re starting out because they’ve got nothing more interesting going for them. I gotta disagree with Zanda too (sorry), I love that three-note sample. 4

Average Score: 3.3

NxWorries (Anderson Paak x Knxwledge)
Like Dys

Reece: This was probably a 5 before I even loaded it because I was just so excited for new NxWorries, but how good is this!? It’s so rare two artists from very different lanes of hip-hop can combine this cohesively, but these two flow with such chemistry. Anderson .Paak’s voice works really well over Knxwledge’s throwback hip-hop production and he’s able to guide the song with such authority. Consider this a (very biased) 5 Reece’s Pick

Zanda: Ohhhh such soul. It’s hard to believe but I’m pretty sure Anderson .Paak is growing in maturity as a singer with every recording; though surely you’d think he’d be peaking pretty soon. Some gorgeously soulful and funky production by Knxwledge is perfect foil to Paak’s layered vocal textures. 4.5

Sam: I mean, what is left to say about Anderson .Paak in 2016? Best performer in the world, best feature artist, one of the best records of the year. The man lives and breathes music and could bring his own flavour to the Crazy Frog if he had to. Knxwledges production is no Crazy Frog thank goodness. Instead, it’s the perfect soulful, sample-heavy world for Paak to shine in. 4.5

Average Score: 4.6

Dirty Projectors
Keep Your Name

Reece: This is a weird one. This isn’t a song I enjoyed listening to or would go back to run up the plays, but artistically I respect a lot about it. Dave Longstreth’s eulogy for his relationship for former bandmate (and tbh the best part of the band) Amber Coffman is mostly moving, and heartbreaking. The chorus is soaring, the verses crushing and the pitched down, muted vocals perfectly capture the detached mindlessness of a breakup. Buuut that little distortion-less verse? What was that? Is that Dave’s recovered state breaking through the track? Whatever that was, it’s costing the track at least a point.”Your heart is a clothing line/My body said Naomi Klein, No Logo” is such a jarring, corny sequence of words that it completely took me out of the mood of the song and it barely recovered from there. 3.5

Zanda: This is a super strange genre-mash that in it’s own way, simple works. I think the key is Dirty Projectors don’t try to cram too much into it, it’s mostly vocals-centric but with some pretty basic elements of electronic production sitting behind it. The piano-driven verses are simply majestic too. 4

Sam: While the quality of other ‘00s alt-heroes like Animal Collective has dipped in recent years, Dirty Projectors always manage to return with something innovative and enthralling. This is totally bonkers and beautiful at the same time. The vocal manipulation is some of the most effective I’ve heard this year and while the quasi-rap part is a little odd to hear coming from Dirty Projectors at first, it gradually has drawn me in. 4

Average Score: 3.83

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