First Impressions: Calvin Harris, James Bay, Vince Staples And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/14/2018

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 Calvin Harris, Rae Sremmurd, Mallrat, James Bay, Vince Staples and Ravyn Lenae face the jury.

Calvin Harris - Nuh Ready Nuh Ready (Feat. Partynextdoor)

Georgia Griffiths: I find this a bit boring? I like it better than some of Calvin’s recent stuff but it still doesn’t do it for me like everything before Motion did. It’s very clean production though, so can’t argue with that. I don’t mind the Latin vibe, and the horns are good, but I just feel like it could’ve been a little bit more interesting. 3

Ti Butler: Since today is the Day Of Love, I'm going to review these songs as if I have gone on a date with them. This man has taken me to McDonald's, told me he can take good care of me, then thrown up on my shoes. 1, at least it's a story to tell people later on

Sam Murphy: Who even IS Calvin Harris anymore? He’s gone from being my least favourite producer on earth to my favourite within months. This is everything I want in a song. The dancehall/rave vibe is the perfect extension from his EDM days (where Funk Wav Bounces was a total departure). I also love hearing Partynextdoor on a pop track because his top lines are genius. I’m not even gonna comment on the video because I’ve dished out enough praise. 4.5

Rae Sremmurd - T’d Up

Georgia: I can understand in theory why people like Rae Sremmurd but personally I don't really enjoy him at all. I also can't believe all the people that were involved in the making of a pretty basic song. 1.5

Ti: We had a promising first date, but then on the second date we did exactly the same thing as the first date, with no development. At least he made a pun about my name. 2

Sam: Every Rae Sremmurd song is good and this is another good song. Swae Lee’s hooks are always dependable and the beats are always perfect for them whether it be Mike Will or Metro. But, I dunno. I just want something that’s really gonna stick out for me and it kinda feels like they’re coasting right now. 3.5

James Bay - Wild Love

Georgia: I get super James Vincent McMorrow vibes on this, which is good because I usually get them a bit confused anyway. It's far from Bay’s best but it's still pretty good! Not sure about the out of tune guitar in the middle but love the synth behind the chorus. 2.5

Ti: On this date, he tries something different to his usual schtick, and it works, so we go back to his house and he's entirely adequate. 3

Sam: I wouldn’t have even given a Bay song the time of day before this song but he’s won me over with this one. The production is so gentle and effective from the light auto-tune in the verses to the way the choir sits behind his soft vocal in the chorus. I’m not sure if it will be a hit for him but it shows he’s got more of a diverse palette as an artist than I originally thought. 4

Mallrat - UFO (Feat. Allday)

Georgia: This is hands-down my favourite song of 2018 so far. It’s a bit of a departure from Mallrat’s other stuff but it works so well! The Allday verse is short but sweet, and it’s so so nice to see Mallrat collaborate with him again. On top of that, Golden Vessel is one of my fave artists at the moment and his production really shines on this track. If I could only listen to this for the rest of the year, I wouldn’t complain. 5

Ti: First date is the most interesting conversation we've ever had. Would definitely go on a second date with her. And then a third. And then a fourth. And each date, we keep finding new things to love. This is such a departure from Mallrat’s previous work, but still feels very authentically her. Love it. 4.5 ?

Sam: We’re accidentally becoming Mallrat’s unofficial fan club but it’s because she just keeps delivering the goods. Her songwriting on both this and Better is so mature but so appropriate for the time of her life she’s in right now. That chorus wafts over you on first listen but bit-by-bit it takes over and by the fifth listen it’s intoxicating. A beautiful, floating gem. 4.5

Vince Staples - Opps (Feat. Kendrick Lamar & Yugen Blakrok)

Georgia: The whole Black Panther soundtrack is lit and this song is no different. Kendrick and Vince work so well together, and I'm so glad this song introduced me to Yugen Blakrok because her whole discography is amazing. Honestly this is probably one of the highlights of the album for me. 4

Sam: Who would’ve thought that we’d be expecting four-to-the-floor bangers from Vince all the time? This hits so hard and it’s easily the centrepiece of the Black Panther soundtrack. Kendrick’s hook is urgent, Vince’s verses are immediate and Yugen Blakrok’s finisher is powerful. 4.5

Ravyn Lenae - Computer Luv (Feat. Steve Lacy)

Georgia: I love the harmony parts on this. The whole song has a real 90s romance feel but I'm digging it. I also have a soft spot for voicemail bits that are done well, like at the end of this track. Overall, would listen again for sure. 3.5

Ti: This date has romance, and like flower petals all over the table, and candles and sweet-talk and chocolate and stuff. May I please have a second date? 4

Sam: Gosh, there’s so much good stuff right now. Ravyn Lenae is being slept on right now. She deserves to be a total superstar because the way she weaves her voice around beats is totally unique. Steve Lacy’s beat on this one feels off-kilter but together they craft this meandering melody that makes it all feel right. 4

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