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First Impressions: Troye Sivan, Halsey, Sigrid And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/21/2018

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 Troye Sivan, Sigrid, Halsey, Saweetie, Nicole Millar and Charlie Puth face the jury.

Troye Sivan – Strawberries & Cigarettes

Michael Swallow: This sounds like a Blue Neighbourhood song as opposed to his recent releases. I like it, it’s cute, but it doesn’t really surprise me though. I love My My My! and so I hoping for something more like that. 3

Nathan Jake: I absolutely adore this song. It combines two of my favourite pop music things – Jack Antonoff’s production and Troye Sivan. Also, the fact that it was written for Blue Neighbourhood but still works so well in 2018 is wonderful. 4.5

Nic Kelly: FIRST OF ALL I’d like to forewarn anyone who wants to see Love, Simon just because this song is in it, the first twenty seconds plays and then you pretty much don’t hear it again. Removing Love, Simon from the equation – this is a beautiful dark pop song, would have fit perfectly in amongst Suburbia and Heaven on his Blue Neighbourhood album & the chorus melody is so sugar sweet. 4.5

Sam Murphy: I will preface this by saying I haven’t seen the movie yet but this is definitely a Blue Neighbourhood offcut that just doesn’t sound that exciting now. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a beautifully written song but I’ve got no interest in repeat listens. 3

Saweetie – B.A.N.

Michael: Okay this I really like! I like how the instrumental is in a major key (not many songs in this style is), it gives it a fun vibe. The delivery is slick and the chorus is just super catchy. 3.5

Nic: When Saweetie debuted with what felt like a bootleg re-do of My Neck, My Back, I presumed that’d be the last we’d hear. I’m glad it’s not. I think she’s got a really great flow and delivery, something that’s missing from a lot of rap lately, especially as mumble takes over and the earthquaking bass in this single could totally help it become a new club rap anthem. 4

Nathan: As somebody who doesn’t love this genre, I need hooks and I need personality but I didn’t get these things. 2

Sam: One of my favourite hip-hop songs of the year so far. I actually think this hook is so strong and her flow is just so effortless is feels like every word melts into the next. A lot of the new crop of rap stars are reaching for a similar sound but Saweetie is in her own lane. A brilliant follow-up to a song that was such a breakout it could’ve been the end of her. 4.5

Nicole Millar – Gimme A Break

Michael: Nicole Millar is super versatile, her voice suits so many different ‘genres’ within pop, and this is not an exception. This should and could be on commercial radio – it’s catchy, it’s got a synth solo at the end, it’s super fun. 3.5

Nathan: This is a completely fine, fun pop song. I just think Nicole Millar needs some consistency with her sound and brand. I still don’t know what she’s about. 3

Nic: Shut up Nathan, everyone knows what she’s about. Doing her own thing, playing around with pop sounds & having fun making songs with her friends. I love how carefree this is – and the Ladyhawke-esque pace to the beat & airiness that makes it such a bop to dance to. I have this unstoppable feeling that Nicole’s album will be one of the best of this year and she is just so damn likeable. 5

Sam: This is Nicole’s best song to date. It’s so colourful and full of personality, really veering her firmly into the pop lane. I honestly think this is of international standard and deserves to be spun all around the world. I reckon Carly Rae Jepsen would love to get her hands on Gimme A Break. 4

Sigrid – Raw

Michael: Okay I’m a massive Sigrid fan. DKMV was my favorite song last year. This is different and so great, it really shows how amazing her voice is. I feel like I get a bit of an Adele reference in some of her melodies; she started out by covering her so that makes sense. I just question why this is the lead single for a new EP? I feel it would make more sense as a (very solid) EP track. Still great tho. 4

Nathan: This song’s just fine as well. I know she can do much better than this. 3

Nic: I saw her do this live a few weeks ago and was blown away at how intricate the melody is. It goes everywhere but always comes back to a safe place. It’s a gorgeous EP track, it’ll do nothing at radio or on streaming, but that’s just fine. I’m enjoying how much diversity in sound Sigrid’s catalogue already has to it – and this song’s a nice listen. 3.5

Sam: I think in the long-run this isn’t going to be the Sigrid song that stands out but it’s still brilliant. I love the minimal production and the way it relies solely on the melody to make it excellent. She’s such an incredible songwriting and this gives us a chance to hear that without any bells and whistles. 4

Halsey – Alone (Feat. Big Sean & Stefflon Don)

Michael: At first I was like ‘hey this is cool and bluesy for Halsey!’ but then…the chorus melody is so close to Dive by Ed Sheeran! Like I think it’s out by one note! I don’t really know what Big Sean and Stefflon Don add to be honest. I think I prefer the original with more bluesy Halsey. 3

Nathan: Strangely, Big Sean is the best part of this for me. Halsey doesn’t have any hits on this album and the desperation is starting to show. 2.5

Nic: Alone is the best song on hopeless fountain kingdom by a long shot. The production is phenomenal, it’s my favourite kind of production that I think Ricky Reed (the producer on it) owes props to Gramatik for making popular a few years back, and it’s a great driving song. Big Sean’s rap is a Big Sean rap, aka just fine, but Stefflon Don totally drops the pace and the mood. She sounds totally out of place, like an A&R’s just jammed her in there because she’s a ~buzz artist~. The original would have copped an easy 5/5, but now… 4.1

Sam: This is the best song on Halsey’s album and the less we have to hear of her the better as far as I’m concerned. I can’t stand the way her voice is produced and find her songwriting stilted. That said, this is great. Big Sean fits the production of this song like a glove and then Stefflon Don comes through with the most memorable verse of the song. Catch me out here liking a Halsey song. Wow. 4

Charlie Puth & Kehlani – Done For Me

Michael: This is a bit boring. I like it when they sing together and the chorus is alright but it’s nothing new and interesting. 2.5

Nathan: As a long-time Puthinator, I’m bored by this. It’s just remarkably bland. But, it’s still a Puth song and I will always love a bit of Puth. 3

Nic: I love Charlie Puth and think he is a literal genius (listen to this podcast if you need proof) but this is wallpaper. It’ll sit fine as Track 6 on the album. 2.5

Sam: Same as with Halsey, I hate the production on Charli Puth’s voice. I don’t know why he just consistently churns out middle of the road songs. Everyone keeps saying he’s so talented and I get it but seriously, lead with your best foot forward. The only good thing about this is that Kehlani sounds like an absolute dream. She’s the best vocalist in the world right now and I won’t have anyone tell me otherwise. 2

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