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First Impressions: Shawn Mendes, Kacey Musgraves, Kyle And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/29/2018

Here’s what our writers had to say about a handful of the biggest new releases this week, with a score out of five.

Kacey Musgraves – High Horse

Cameron: Lyrically, it feels so purposeful and potent, and that really struck me even in the first few seconds. It gets to the heart of that relatable full out and fed up mood, and it’s a song for everybody: whether you’re trying to banish your most recent hookup or grappling with a frenemy, and what’s the best way to deal with the not-so-holier-than-thou person in your life? Disco. 4

Sara: Oh I really like this track. It kind of has Katy Perry pop anthem vibes. Like ‘California Girls’ or something. Her vocal although has this bit of folk-y goodness to it, which adds a nice texture. This gives me really good vibes, and it’s not too much, nor too little – so it’s super easy listening. I love the Banjo in this wow wow.  3.5

Sam: I’m in love with this. It’s such a subtle disco song and those tinges of country should be cringe-worthy but in Kacey’s hands they’re not at all. She’s like a more subtle Shania Twain and I’ve really missed that kind of cheeky, pun-like songwriting. With no chances of ever seeing Taylor Swift return to country, Kacey is our girl right now and she couldn’t be more perfect. 4.5

E^ST – Blow Job

Cameron: This one starts off like every good gobbie: kinda slow and sensual, and then builds to a much-anticipated crescendo. I really appreciated the beat change from smooth piano to a more snap-crackle-and-bop during the chorus, and the threads of deep bitterness throughout in the lyrics really satisfy. 3.75

Sara: When I first saw E^ST post about this track I imagined it to be kind of meme-y like the title ‘Blow Job’ could equal a meme. It was obvious from the start, that it wasn’t a meme song, actually even is a bit ballad-like. I’m not a fan of the vocal auto-tuning affect sometimes, her voice is way better without it. Strings are nice. ‘Life Goes On’ did it for me waaaaay more than this tune. 2.4

Sam: Such a bold move for E^ST to take something intimate and wrap it up in a tight, beautiful pop song. She continues to get more and more personal with her songwriting and simultaneously her melodies are reaching genius status. This is right up there with Life Goes On for me. It’s going to be a really important moment for her going forward. 4.5

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood

Sara: I LOVED ‘In My Blood’ from my first listen. Shawn Mendes killed it with this one! I love the passion and emotion he put into it- and i really felt it. I think it was a mistake for him to release this track and then almost directly after put out ‘Lost In Japan’. Because of ‘Lost In Japan’s’ pop sensibility and catch-y groove it’s easy for people who aren’t fans of Shawn to immediately attach to it, or anyone’s ear to really attach to the track. This, in a way, I think made it hard for ‘In My Blood’ to get the attention it deserved. The whole theme of ‘In My Blood’ is about not giving up when times are tough. Really resonated with me, Shawn is a genius and i stan. 4.5

Cameron: This song really evokes the imagery of Shawn striding around a penthouse in the middle of the night with his shirt unbuttoned, gazing forlornly at the city lights and touching his own reflection in the floor-to-ceiling windows, which is my way of saying I found it kind of predictable. Shawn does have a beautiful voice though, which made it easy listening, and I do like some of his other songs, but this one didn’t really do it for me. 2.5

Sam: You’re really going to try and make a Kings Of Leon song in 2018? Nah, I’m not here for it at all. 2

Kyle – Playinwitme (Feat. Kehlani)

Cameron: So much fun to listen to. It’s the kind of song I’d definitely put on the radio when driving around with your friends, if I could drive or had friends. Kehlani’s vocals really balance out Kyle’s, it’s playful and catchy and I definitely look forward to singing along when I eventually get my L’s and learn to play well with others. 4

Sara: This is cool, but it kind of sounds like everything else I’ve heard in this genre lately- which means it lacks uniqueness. It’s kind of boring… I like Kehlani and she gives the track a nice kick but the repetitiveness is giving me a headache. 1.5

Sam: Yes! I’ve missed Kyle’s cheekier work and this is right back to what made me fall in love with him in the first place. Kehlani’s addition is perfect and throws me back to her work with Amine. While she can be really powerful, this kind of playful wordplay is really endearing. 4

Doja Cat – Candy

Cameron: Such a Rhythm. Such a Vibe. Definitely had my foot Tapping along. 3.5

Sara: I really like the chill vibes in this track and the vocal is amazing. I like the glitchy synth to start and how the layers build up to end. Her smooth pop-y vocal flows seamlessly into her raps. I do think there was some more space in here to add some more ‘wow’ elements though. 3

Sam: There’s something about her voice that I just really love. It shines brightest on Candy, her third drop in almost as many weeks. Where the previous two stood in front of your face, this one waits in the corner for you to come to it. I’m down. 4

Amanda Delara – Keep Your Dollars

Cameron: Nothing lifts my luggage like an upbeat song that’s got some lowkey melancholy in the lyrics. This song reminded me of a relationship I was in a little while ago, and the way it instantly just sorta dragged me back there was sad and beautiful. It promises growth, and getting back to the point of realising that you were okay before. The subtle percussion elements work really well with Delara’s soulful voice, and I will definitely have this one on repeat for a while. 4.5

Sara: I really like the lyrics in the first verse and the rhythm to them, but i think the chorus is cliche. I don’t really like the vocal at all though- her tone is kind of annoying. It’s really pop driven but this doesn’t do it for me. Too cliche and boring. 1.5

Sam: This is a supremely written pop song that almost suffers because of that very fact. The Scandinavians have gotten so good at writing songs like this that you almost don’t notice how amazing it really is. Nonetheless this is a super strong moment for her. 3.5

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