First Impressions: Charli XCX, Skrillex, Macklemore And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 08/01/2017

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 Charli XCX, Snakehips, Skrillex, Jessie Ware, Paces and Macklemore face the jury.

Charli XCX - Boys

Zanda: How does Charli XCX keep taking shit to the next level? With efforts like this incredible pop gem. I keep thinking that 64-bit game achievement coin-getting sound has run it’s course but she uses it to somehow define the beat in this and it just works so bloody well. She’s obviously learnt a lot from working with the PC Music guys, because you can hear that influence in here as well, but when it comes down to it Boys is a clean, perfect pop masterpiece and one of the songs of the year. Oh and without going into the video too much, featuring the Chromeo boys always gets extra points from me. 5 Zanda’s Pick

Sam: Only Charli XCX could work Mario Kart sounds into a major pop song and make it totally work. I worried after After The Afterparty that Charli would have to compromise her inventive pop sounds if she wanted to remain commercial but now she’s gone and released this oddball tune that’s so beautifully understated while still being inventive. Everyone’s loving it and it’s great to see that it’s not all because of the video. The video is bonkers excellent but the song stands above it and that’s really important. This is a sugary gum drop and I’m so here for it. 4.5

Snakehips x Anne Marie - Either Way (Feat. Joey Bada$$)

Zanda: Bloody hell what a week for electronic music. The coolest thing about this latest one from the British lads is the how weirdly well Anne-Marie and Joey’s vocals intertwine in this almost shockingly playful way in the chorus. Man I live for that chorus, it’s the perfect amount of catchy and fun. 4.5

Sam: I don’t know why but this just reminds me so much of the golden period of rap/sung collaborations like Ashanti/Ja Rule and Nelly/Kelly. Maybe it’s because Joey and Anne-Marie have this really believable chemistry on this slinky tune. I love Anne-Marie’s voice when she’s in her upper register and this simple but effective jam gives her so much room to explore it. Then Joey comes through with one of the most necessary raps on a pop song this year. Very good everyone, even you Snakehips. 4

Skrillex & Poo Bear - Would You Ever

Zanda: This is definitely destined to be a chart-rating track, but I feel like that manipulated vocal that dominates the track has been done to death before. This will undoubtedly do better commercially, but for me this is a disappointing follow up to his really fun and innovative Chicken Soup. 3

Sam: I could take or leave this to be honest. It’s nice, really nice but it just doesn’t have me overly excited. To me, it sounds like they’ve remixed Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean and pitched his vocals up. It’s fun but it doesn’t really hit you like the first Skrillex single in two years should. 2.5

Jessie Ware - Midnight

Zanda: Undoubtedly an incredible voice that would carry this song on it’s own, but the production is pretty damn captivating as well. From the vocal layering to the fading in and out of the texture of the production, the whole song is edge of your seat stuff. 3.5

Sam: Phwoar. Jessie Ware’s voice is like a really fragile china that can somehow adopt bullet proof strength if it needs to. The first 50 seconds of this is so crystalline but then that Bennie & The Jets beat stomps in and she lets her voice soar. She’s so good at positioning her romances in a certain setting and the dimly-lit, lustful atmosphere that she creates on this one is nothing short of stunning. She’s an artist for the ages and one that’s totally in her own lane. What a class act. 4.5

Paces - Creepin

Zanda: Pacey Pace just keep churning out bangers like this, and I think that his ability to craft a track around so many different vocalists and perfectly compliment their individual style is a testament to what an awesome talent he is. As if his live sets needed any more energy, this one is going to be a highlight for sure. What a tune. 4.5

Sam: I love that Paces songs manage to encapsulate the same kind of energy that they exude when he plays them out live. They’re so full of personality, character and relentless hyperactivity. This one is no different. It paces along (<-- ya like that?) at a frantic pace and then finds these really beautiful moments of frozen time where the vocal comes into maintain the peace. 4

Macklemore - Marmalade (Feat. Lil Yachty)

Zanda: No. 2.5

Sam: This is literally an attempt to recreate Broccoli, there’s no other way to describe it. There’s also nothing particularly wrong with that given that Lil Yachty is also on the track. The issue is that Macklemore isn’t half as endearing as D.R.A.M. and for some reason I have this image of him on a toddler's bike sucking on a dummy and it’s very disturbing. This is just not Macklemore’s vibe and to be honest, I’ve always preferred broccoli over marmalade anyway. 2


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