First Impressions: Cardi B, The Weeknd, Tyler The Creator And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 04/05/2018

New music roundtable reviewed by the interns team with a score out of five whacked on.

Cardi B - Be Careful

Sam: I hear everyone's concerns about this, I've taken them on board but honestly, chill. It's totally different to anything she's ever done and I actually think she really nails the verses. Sure, the vocals could be a bit tighter on the chorus but we're not shouting out Drake or Travis Scott every time they're slightly flat. A welcome change for her. 4

Jackson Langford: I’m frankly living for this more subdued Cardi. Everything we’ve heard her do since, and including, ‘Bodak Yellow’ has been completely ferocious and ‘Be Careful’ is a little more mellow. Of course, this one different song has caused people to freak out about her debut album Invasion of Privacy but if she we got another spitfire banger people would be questioning her versatility. It seems like she can’t win, but here she is, winning anyway. 4

Parry Tritsiniotis: I am not here for R&B poppy Cardi. The lack of trap banger here exposes some of her flaws as a vocalist. The personality and the lyrics are actually pretty impressive tho. The warnings to Offset and the revealing of some insecurities for Cardi are a welcome change to the boss-bitchesque Cardi which we are used to. I don’t think the risk payed off, but Cardi only really is in her second year as a full time artist, so ill cut her some slack. 3

The Weeknd - Call Out My Name

Sam: You can put on every high-brow electronic producer you can find on this and I'm still not going to find The Weeknd remotely interesting. This is Earned It. It's so similar to his own song that if this was another artists song he would have grounds to sue for copying Worth It. All this talk of him being back to mixtape Weeknd is utter bullshit and you all know it. 2

Jackson: Another artist who is held to an impossible standard, The Weeknd’s return to that brooding melancholia that gave him his buzz way back when is refreshing. It’s still arena friendly, but feels more intimate and vulnerable than he’s gone in the past few years. It’s a darkness that we’d come to expect from the ice king of pop, but still no-one was expecting it. Not to mention that we as a society should really be thanking Selena Gomez - she’s got a really good habit of making sure any song about her is fantastic. 4

Parry: I feel so bored of the Weeknd. Something about this track and the EP as a whole just didn’t hit me. Vocal feels abit Deja-Vu to Earned It. The track just lacks ambition, adventure and the risk factor that made his earlier mixtapes so ground-breaking in the alternative R&B world. The vocal performance is great, we get it, you can sing, but I am going to need you to actually try next time. 1

Hayley Kiyoko + Kehlani - What I Need

Sam: This is such a banger. Kehlani and Hayley Kiyoko together is absolute perfection even though Kehlani could wipe anybody off the board with that perfect opening verse. It's got everything - an A+ hook, two excellent personalities and meaningful lyrical content. It's a damn shame that radio won't deal with bi-sexuality unless it's a novelty (cc: I Kissed A Girl). 4.5

Jackson: Hi, I’m Jackson, I’m 23 and I was sleeping on Hayley Kiyoko until last week. Her debut album is a force to be reckoned with, and popping Kehlani on a song is a welcomed, if expected, gift. Looking beyond how important both of these artists are for society right now, ‘What I Need’ is relentless in its energy and its electricity. It slaps from start to finish. 4

Parry: Not really too sure how I feel about this. Pop, trendy, very with the times with a very relevant feature. It really just lives up to all the stereotypes I have of a 2018 pop song. Lyrics about love, very strong and powerful female vocal and a combination of R&B and dance to add some icing on the cake. On a more positive note the chemistry between the two singers is amazing as they glid and trade verses pretty seamlessly on the beat. Not amazing, but far from offensive. 2

CHVRCHES - Never Say Die

Sam: I love CHVRCHES, I do but guys, what is you doing? The repetitive choruses have become their new thing and it just really buries the song in a ditch. All the hard-work done with these beautiful verses is undone by a clunker of a chorus. Damn. 2.5

Jackson: I’ve been pretty hard on CHVRCHES for album three - and it’s taken me way too many listens to enjoy this third track from Love Is Dead, but the point is that I’m here. While I still yearn for the unapologetically fun CHVRCHES from their past two albums, they’ve really monopolised this realm of maximalist electro pop and despite sounding like so much is going on, there’s an intimacy that Lauren Mayberry injects her vocals with that makes the band just so damn irresistible. 4

Parry: This is the sort’ve artificial euphoria id expect from a synth pop Chvrches song. This song doesn’t do much for me either unfortunately just abit to plain. Vocally Lauren has come along way showing clear major improvements on this track. Most interesting thing I take out of this, for someone who doesn’t necessarily check for this genre of music is the way synth pop has now crossed over heavily into the mainstream world. Despite not huge changes sonically for CHVRCHES, theier sound is more radio friendly than ever and good on them I say. 2

Tyler The Creator - OKRA

Sam: You know we're dealing with an exceptional artist when this is a throwaway. This is very different to anything that fit on the equally excellent Flower Boy and while I loved that record, I'm happy to hear him detouring back into those dark, deep-voiced raps over rumbling bass. He's gone from being a great visionary and a good artist to one of the best artists we're likely to see in this generation. 4.5

Jackson: was this a throw-away? 5

Parry: Now we are talking. This is what I like to call Tyler going in Okonma mode. I loved flower boy and its beautiful chords, extensive outros and amazing brass sections but this is the shit I need. Its like he is in my mind, finds a way to figure out my tastes precisely then writes a song to this formula. The lyrics are braggadocios and ignorant, matching the bass. Just in case you thought this was another trap banger, the weird keys and singing between the verses reminds you this is in fact Tyler, The Creator. How good is a song that gives you about 15 different options for a new Instagram bio:

uno the shoe red with the blue look like a flag what the fuck it do
golf be the set no more OF like ron artest bitch we aim for your neck

MØ - Nostalgia

Sam: The way MØ treats the verses in this song vocally absolutely kills me in the best way possible. She's finally giving us something different and nailing it. The '90s club vibe mixed with that big ol' euphoric MØ chorus is everything I didn't know I needed from her. 4

Jackson: Holy shit this is different for MØ. She’s become an artist that never seems to be gone for too long and is incredibly prolific, but this is easily one the more interesting offerings she’s given us in the past few months. It’s a departure from that soaring electro-pop she usually gives us and dives into some slightly grittier and much more sonically interesting territory. The percussion that drives this song mixed with the rap melodies on the verse proves that MO can effortlessly wander wherever she wants and make herself seem right at home. 4

Parry: By now you probably are thinking this Parry bloke isn’t too big a fan of pop music. Which in a sense is correct, but if you are going to go down the pop path this is a stronger way to do it in order to get me involved. The beat again is a housey, tropical vibe, how typical, but MØ works her vocal in a different sort of way to your typical pop singer. Small changes in cadence here and there, and the additional singers (or just stacking of her own vocal) really breaks up the standard formula, keeping me intrigued. The lyrics on the screen with the music video is absolutely genius, tugging at my heart strings, as the song tries to take me on an emotional journey. I’m not sure if I’m more a fan of the marketing team behind the track or the song itself, because behind all the emotional triggers, the song is still very safe. 3

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