First Impressions: Robyn, Cardi B, Young Thug And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 10/03/2018

First Impressions is our roundtable review feature where our writers give their two cents on the latest releases. This week, we're taking on Robyn's album title track, Young Thug's Elton John-featuring highlight and the DJ Snake mega single.

Robyn - Honey

Reece Hooker: There’s no doubting Robyn’s legend status at this point, and ‘Honey’ is further proof that she just can’t make a bad song. It hits with less of a punch than some of Robyn’s other tracks, but the restraint is oddly hypnotising. It’s rare for a modern pop song to run at almost five minutes and never wear out its welcome, but Robyn’s been pulling these magic tricks for over 20 years and at this point, who’s really surprised? 4.5

Nathan Jake: This is a song that’s so understated, I keep forgetting it’s on when I listen to it. 3

Sam Murphy: It’s going to be hard to beat this one for me this year. I’m absolutely obsessed with what she’s done with it. She’s created a club/pop song that leans further towards club than pop which almost never happens when the two genres collide. You can start this song at any point and it would make sense because the whole thing circles with bliss. No one part outperforms the other and because of that it’s five minutes of unwavering euphoria. Only Robyn could do that. 5

LAUV - There’s No Way (Feat. Julia Michaels)

Reece: This one teeters with flopping all the way through, barely doing enough to keep me engaged. Everything comes across as just okay – it’s not badly written, but it’s not that affecting either. It’s not poorly performed, but neither LAUV and Julia Michaels live up to their full potential on it, either. These sparse productions aren’t bad, but if you’re going to strip it all back there needs to be something that stands out. 2.5

Nathan: When two of the best pop songwriters working right now come together, you expect greatness. This ain’t it. Nothing here is bad, it’s all just so Perfectly Fine. They really hitched their wagon to “there’s no way that it’s not going there” being a great hook but it just isn’t effective at all. 3.5

Sam: I feel like every Julia Michaels features is starting to sound a bit like this. I love her voice but there’s something a bit ordinary about this song. The verses promise great things but the chorus is a bit lacklustre. 2.5

Empress Of - Love For Me

Reece: This is a bit of a natural comedown from the stellar ‘When I’m With Him’, but still a really enjoyable track. I’m digging how well each Empress Of release flows with one another and I feel like it’ll make for an incredible tight album. The chorus on this builds and shines, and the subtle siren drop in the background is an underrated flourish. A good track that will hopefully be one of the weaker links on a great album. 3.5

Nathan: One of my favourite sub-genres of pop is ‘Maribelle Sings Over a Bouncy Electronic Beat’, and while this may not be Maribelle, it comes very close to fitting into that wonderful sub-genre with that chorus. 3.5

Sam: Empress Of is so underrated as a pop writer and I love that this time around she’s opening up to work with other producers. DJDS do such an intricate and nuanced job with this. With her unique melodies and their sparse, unpredictable production, it becomes something pretty special. 4

DJ Snake - Taki Taki (Feat. Selena Gomez, Cardi B & Ozuna)

Reece: DJ Snake and Ozuna are a duo that hold absolutely no appeal to me, so this track was long-waiting game for Cardi and Selena to hit the stage. Cardi’s midas touch shows no sign of wearing off (even as her career off-stage takes a few hits) and Selena is pretty solid, but neither can overcome this whining beat and limp chorus. Maybe it’s just not for me? I was thinking at the start that it would be a great summer track, and it’ll probably chart well, but by 90 seconds I gritting my teeth and waiting for it to end. 2

Nathan: This is so loud. Shh! 1

Sam: This is totally fine. I’m a bit confused as to why it came at the end of the US summer and also why he tried so hard to separate every single artist on the song so that there’s absolutely no synergy. Every single artist on this song has far better songs of their own. Ozuna, in particular, just released a full album with better beats and verses than this. 2

Young Thug - High (Feat. Elton John)

Reece: Built around a sample from professed Thug-fan Elton John, ‘High’ might be the most beautiful song in Young Thug’s beautiful discography. It’s not as forward-thinking or hard-hitting as some of his earlier works, but it’s a gorgeous spacey gem that cuts through the track’s spine-tingling atmosphere with precision. Thug’s sharp flow is put on a pedestal and the permeance of Elton John’s stunning acapella makes for one of the standout songs of 2018. 5

Nathan: Okay...great sample, beautiful sample. 1

Sam: Sometimes I start to think that Thug is losing his impact and then he manages to create something this beautiful with an Elton John sample and I remember he’s the only one that could. This song floats on a cloud for the entire three minutes and makes me forget how huge the song is that’s weaved through it. So beautiful. 4.5

Hanne Mjøen - Sounds Good To Me

Reece: Norway has another star on their hands. The drop into something bassier is a nice little surprise that makes ‘Sounds Good To Me’ stand out from the bevy of quality pop songs coming out this year, and Hanne Mjøen has a presence to her. It reminds me a lot of Zara Larsson’s ‘Lush Life’ or Dua Lipa’s ‘Blow Your Mind’: it feels like that song that precedes the massive breakout. 3.5

Nathan: This song is excellent and that production is transcendent. It sounds a bit like a Carly Rae Jepsen song with all the personality pulled out. Still good, though. 4

Sam: Norway really is knocking on Sweden’s door and taking the pop crown. This is a brilliant pop song. I love the way the synths swirl towards that chorus with the pulsating bass. It shakes the speakers and then edges us back into this zone of momentary bliss. Good voice, very clever writing and great production. 4

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