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First Impressions: Post Malone, Janelle Monáe, 5 Seconds Of Summer And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/01/2018

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 Janelle Monae, Post Malone, RAYE, Kwame, Robinson and Five Seconds Of Summer face the jury.

Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel

Ti Butler: Janelle Monáe has managed to release what might be the song of the year… in February. All other songs in 2018 must match up to this song. As I said on idolthreat, Janelle ought to begin scheduling her life around all of the award shows she’ll be attending and all of the awards she’ll be winning. We have been truly #blessed with a bi anthem by a bi goddess in the week leading up to Gay Christmas. 5

Georgia Griffiths: I’m so so happy that Janelle is back, and with no less than a banger. It’s just such a catchy tune; I love how it all comes together. With the Prince influence now confirmed as being actual Prince collaboration I cannot wait for the new album to come out in April! 4.5

Sam Murphy: Janelle Monae has been a favourite of mine for years but I’ve always felt like I loved her as a character more than a personality. Something has switched with her recently and she’s embraced herself and her role in pop culture. The liberation has been nothing short of incredible and it’s all culminated in the sexiest, most-empowered song she’s ever done. Much like her collaborator and friend Prince, sexual liberation embodies everything from the groove to the hip-thrusts to the fashion. This is the most exciting moment of the year so far. 5

RAYE – Cigarette (Feat. Stefflon Don & Mabel)

Ti: Every part of this – RAYE, Stefflon Don, Mabel – should result in a hit in the UK, but songs about cigarettes are cursed and don’t become hits. It’s certainly not as good as Decline. Shame really. 2

Georgia: I do really like the production on this. The Caribbean-style beat has heaps of potential, but unfortunately the rest of it doesn’t really live up to expectations. RAYE’s vocals are pretty boring and overall it’s an unmemorable song. 2.5

Sam: I get the complaints about it being a bit ‘meh’ and I did think that initially too but after repeat listens I’m addicted. I think RAYE can slink around a verse better than most of her peers. Mabel’s part is slightly forgettable but Stefflon Don walks in with all the confidence in the world and brings it home like it deserves. 3.5

KWAME – WOW

Ti: LOVE this. Love Kwame’s energy, I love the sound of it, it’s so lyrically clever, and it has huge crossover appeal. I’m not majorly into hip hop, but fell in love with this from the second I heard it. 4.5

Georgia: The Mortified reference is one of my favourite lines of the year so far. Kwame has produced some pretty good tunes before but this is next level. His flow is great and the chorus bangs. I’m feeling very ‘WOWed’ by this one (lmao). 4.5

Sam: I’m getting heavy Brockhampton vibes on this one and that’s not a bad thing at all. The only difference is there’s only one in Kwame. He embodies the energy of that entire group in one song. It’s urgent, immediate and hard. The kind of song that if you hear it once will have you Googling Kwame immediately. 4.5

Robinson – Nothing To Regret

Ti: Robinson is doing 2018 pop music perfectly. Every part of this is just such smart songwriting. The problem is, how do we get people to pay attention to this song? Can someone feature it in an episode of My Kitchen Rules or something? 4.5

Georgia: I heard this one last week and immediately liked it. The piano riff does sound like literally every other pop song ever but lyrically I really dig it. It’s just a very nice pop song. 4

Sam: Robinson’s has churned out a very simple pop song that’s done expertly. All the elements of a huge hit are there and the songwriting is super tight. It’s got the understanding and appreciation of good pop music to help it rise above all the other budding ‘blog pop’ artists right now. 3.5

Post Malone – Psycho (Feat. Ty Dolla Sign)

Ti: This is fine in the background when you don’t need to pay attention to it. Thing is, there’s a thousand other identical songs out there which are more memorable than this – what would make you specifically seek out this one? The visual’s kinda cool though. 2

Georgia: I appreciate a good Posty song as much as the next person but this isn’t one of them. As Ti said, it’s similar to loads of other songs (including previous Post songs). I can see it going down well at end-of-the-night kick-ons but otherwise it’s not super appealing. 2

Sam: Post Malone is that friend you have that you like but sweat about being left one-on-one with. I personally have nothing against him and every song has been fine but I just can’t relate. Pyscho feels undercooked and while there’s definitely a strong melody at the core of it, it flatlines for the most part. 2.5

5 Seconds Of Summer – Want You Back

Ti: I was at a café the other day – well, I say “café”, but it was a kiosk in the middle of a train station, I’m not fancy – and I noticed the barista behind the counter was wearing one of those rubber wristbands with 5SOS logos on it. As she handed over my white chocolate frappe, I pointed to her wrist and asked, “hey, is that a five-soss wristband?” and she immediately just beamed. “Yes! Do you like them?”. I noticed she had a very cute, subtle French accent. I told her that yes, I did like 5SOS. I then eagerly asked, “what do you think about their new song?”, keen to gauge a true 5SOS fan’s candid reaction to the first new music we’d had from them since the criminally underrated Girls Talk Boys from the Ghostbusters soundtrack nearly two years ago. She hesitated, and her voice became uncertain. “It’s… okay. It’s different…” That told me everything I needed to know. 3.25

(Prologue: I was kicking around the office today with Spotify running, and you know how you just kind of drift in and out of songs while you’re paying attention to other things like emails and such? Anyway I came into some song about half-way through, and I was like, “huh, this is okay – is this the same one who did that ‘one foot in front of the other’ song”, who after a quick Google I discovered was Walk The Moon?” and then I looked at the screen, and it turns out it’s actually this new 5SOS song. So, had I listened to this song in some kind of rotating chair-style blind audition affair, where I wasn’t familiar with their earlier work, I’d probably push the button to rotate the chair I was sitting on to work out who it was. Make of that what you will.)

Georgia: I’ve never been a huge 5SOS fan. In early high school boys in my year used to troll them online when they had like 300 fans, and while I’d never condone cyberbullying, they did make some good points about the quality of the band’s music. This song is not a great improvement for me. I can admit that some of their older songs were a bit catchy, but this is super bland. They’re trying to straddle the line between teen boy band and adult pop/rock band and not doing it well at all. 1

Sam: It’s always sad when bands like these grow up and leave their pop-punk roots behind. I have this strange nostalgia for it now even though I wasn’t a fan at all at the time. I’m no fan of this right now but who knows, maybe that nostalgia will kick back in a few years down the track. 2

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