First Impressions: Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, ODESZA And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 05/03/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, DJ Khaled, ODESZA, Swick and Tove Styrke face the jury.

Lana Del Rey & The Weeknd - Lust For Life

Sam: I love that this album is all about making Lana Del Rey a superstar. Until now, she's been somewhat enigmatic but I feel like this is the boldest track we've had from her yet. The Weeknd and LDR are such an unlikely musical pairing but they seem to be kindred spirits and everytime they combine, they make magic. "Take off all your clothes," is a simple, effective hook that embodies everything these two are about. 4

Michelle: I feel like I’ve been waiting for something like this to drop, because Lana Del Rey doesn’t do a lot of big collabs and this is perfect because Weeknd does that sultry, moody thing for R&B that Del Rey does for pop and it feels very well-matched, vocally and stylistically. For lack of a better word, it’s a really cool song and even though it’s not inherently dance-able like you’d expect a Weeknd song to be, it’s just so lush and bold. What interests me is Lana’s obsession with the H of the Hollywood sign, which she apparently lives inside. 4

Bianca: When you find the winning formula, why change it? Much like a Drake/Rihanna combo (RIP),  Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd are perfectly matched, their voices merging together in a smelting pot of smokiness and nostalgia. 4 Bianca’s Pick

Average Score: 4

DJ Khaled - I’m The One (Feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne)

Sam: This track was really never going to fail was it? Khaled's collected the best hook singer (Bieber), the most melodic rapper around (Quavo), the most personable rapper (Chance) and one for the old school (Wayne) for a jam that's custom made to snatch the song of the summer crown. The video is completely narcissistic and silly but I'm here for the entire thing, even DJ Khaled's infant son as the executive producer. 4 Sam's Pick

Michelle: Honestly I can’t separate DJ Khaled from the jetski thing and the live-tweeting his son’s birth so I’m going to try my best to focus on the music. This is a nice bubbly song, the verse isn’t impressive or anything but it’s bouncy like a summer anthem should be. It also marks a nice change from Bieber’s moodier, electronic phase. It’ll do well on the dance floor - I’m imagining flamingo floaties, pineapples and magical summer vibes - but I can’t seeing it being much else. 2

Bianca: So many cooks in this kitchen but I’m kinda digging the broth; definitely not as overwhelming as I thought four features would be. And although I’m The One isn’t exactly a game-changer, it’s definitely a harmless bit of fun from the budding producer. If Asahd keeps this kinda production up, he has a very bright future ahead of him. 😉 3

Average Score: 3

Katy Perry - Bon Apetit (Feat. Migos)

Sam: With this flop and the Obama thing it really hasn't been a good week for Katy Perry has it? Everybody involved with approving this as the second single off the forthcoming album should be listed on Katy Perry's career tomb stone. It's already sliding down the charts at a rapid rate and that's because there's literally not one likeable thing about it. This album is shaping up to be a catastrophe of ARTPOP proportions. 2

Michelle: So...bouncy. Instrumentally very minimal, the focus is all on the lyrics and Perry’s voice. This is a good thing though, because Chained to the Rhythm had that in spades. I guess this feels more syncopated than most of her previous releases, and that perhaps in anticipation of the northern hemisphere summer, everyone is crawling out of the woodwork with pure d-floor tunes with rap verses. Which is fine. Except it’s winter and I’m sitting under a blanket because it’s 5 degrees. It’s totally fine. 3

Bianca: But..but..where’s the social commentary? Where’s the accompanying ‘woke’ video with the ‘hidden’ messages? I’m so bored with Katy Perry right now that even Migos couldn’t spice up Bone Apple Teeth. Sorry, Bon Appetit. 2

Average Score: 2.3

Swick - Polo Love

Sam: Australian electronic music can be a game of sheep at the best of times but Swick is an outlier. He continuously looks forward and is one of the only beatmakers at the moment that genuinely surprises me with every drop. I love the melody that Spank Rock brings to this one and the steely, icy beats that Swick lays down. 4

Michelle: The intro sounds like someone having a ray gun fight, but don’t let that deter you. Once Spank Rock comes in, it becomes much more than that. Swick’s compiled some very random sounding special FX, which feels ridiculous writing down but actually works really well. It’s choppy and messy in a really excellent way (although the outro feels overextended) and shows off Spank Rock as much more than the Avalanches’ live rapper. 3.5

Bianca: A gritty, mechanical collision of sounds that I’m really digging. Spank Rock’s melodic, auto-tuned sound completely flips the track on its head, making it a bloody interesting track once you wrap your head around it. 3.5

Average Score: 3.6

Tove Styrke - Say My Name

Sam: Tove Styrke's last album Kiddie was so underrated but I hazard a guess that she'll be getting a little more attention of the back of this single. It's the in-your-face, shouty pop song we need this year. I'm sick of everyone being polite and subtle with their vocals. The Swedes yell it and I love that. This one's an absolute knockout. 4

Michelle: What I got from the blips in the beginning was that this melody was going to be sick and it didn’t disappoint. I feel like it didn’t need the soaring synths that come in ~40 seconds in, because it did just fine as a playful ditty with some very subtle folky vibes. It certainly could have been bigger, but it feels whole as it is. I’m keen to see what else Tove has up her sleeve, especially since I’ve never listened to her debut. 3.5

Bianca: And she’s back! I really liked Tove Styrke’s Aftergold and I think I’m gonna like Say My Name too. It’s a laid-back pop ditty that will definitely grow on me over time. 3.5

Average Score: 3.6

ODESZA - Line Of Sight

Sam: The verses are very nice in a boring sort of way and the drop does nothing for me but I'm really digging the vocal sample part. That's the only thing that would draw back to what is otherwise a glorified beige rock song. 2.5

Michelle: Mansionair is one of my favourite Sydney acts so I was stoked to see them featured on this huge track. This one is softer than most of ODESZA’s tracks, and I like the soulful direction they’ve taken their instrumentals. It feels more accessible, especially when you’re not listening on headphones as opposed to in a club or something, where most of their other work feels most at home. I’m not a hardcore dance fan, so it was really unexpected how much I enjoyed this. 4 Michelle’s Pick

Bianca: I’ve been a fan of ODESZA’s past stuff but this one’s a bit of a snooze for me. The drop is a bit of a flop and the song as a whole is missing that oomph that we got in Say My Name and Sun Models. Currently trying to ignore comparisons to the Chainsmokers in the YouTube comments. 2.5

Average Score: 3

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