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First Impressions: Taylor Swift, Flo Milli, Dua Lipa And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/31/2020
Taylor Swift

First Impressions is our weekly review features. We take six songs and give our writers the chance to give their two cents on each. This week, we’re getting into Taylor Swift’s folklore single cardigan, a Flo Milli mixtape highlight and more.

Taylor Swift – Cardigan

Anthony: The start of Cardigan has me questioning Taylor’s decision to choose the song as Folklore’s lead single. There are less theatrics here than her previous lead singles, but Taylor’s storytelling is on full display. Her lyrics weave through the emotions of young love and make the listener feel as though you’re riding on this rollercoaster of a relationship – from its lustful beginnings to the loneliness within its downfall. Taylor writes “I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss” with the intention of having the line replay in your mind long after you’ve listened to the tune. 4

Reece: Like most of folklore’s front end, the more I listen to ‘Cardigan’ the more hooked I become. It’s wistful, evocative and expansive, weaving gorgeously potent songwriting with a rich, tempered piano-led backdrop. I love the quiet intensity of this song, the effortlessly sticky hook and just how intimate it all feels.  Though it’s not my favourite track from the album, it’s the perfect choice for album opener. 4.5

Sam: Throughout my love-hate relationship with Taylor Swift, I’ve always struggled to resonate with her whimsical, fairytale-like side. It’s strange then, that I find cardigan so alluring. There’s something so magical about the way this song waltzes, growing larger in such a subtle way. The chorus is one of her best ever and the way it expands and expands at the end is a stroke of genius. 4.5

Dua Lipa, J Balvin, Bad Bunny & Tainy – Un Dia (One Day)

Anthony: If Dua becomes the next go to hook singer, I wouldn’t be mad. Her voice has always drawn in an audience and her parts here are no exception. The males in the song bring the vibes which I can get behind, though I ended up tuning out, hoping for more of Dua. 2.5

Reece: God, there is so much talent on this song. It was never going to be bad. That said, it doesn’t feel like anyone gets out of second gear and the song never hits the meteoric heights it was capable of. However, even when they’re coasting Dua Lipa and Bad Bunny outkick most artists on their best day, so ‘Un Dia’ is still well worth your time. 3.75

Sam: I really like this. It’s nothing spectacular but it’s four artists who are on the top of their game right now doing the bare minimum and still winning. Imagine what this would be like if they really went hard. 3.5

Kylie – Say Something

Anthony: Kylie really wants to bring the 80s nostalgia here. On first listen though I’m not sold. The chorus builds to something I think is going to keep me on the dancefloor but Kylie ends up slowing the tempo just when it gets going. The song finally hits its peak during the final minute but it’s too late for me. “Love is love…it never ends” kind of like this song. 1.5

Reece: There should be no one better suited for the disco revival than Kylie Minogue given how much it’s in her artistic DNA, but this one’s a miss. ‘Say Something’ feels beige, safe and toothless. The drop into the chorus is the best thing going on the track, but there’s too much tacky guitar and mind numbingly shallow songwriting to give it much love. 2.5

Sam: I agree that it’s a little safe but I think Kylie has earned the right to do a straight-up disco album without complicating it too much. This is a lot of fun. It’s sparkly and actually quite comforting in a strange way. Maybe lockdown has got to me. 3.5

Bree Runway – Gucci (Feat. Malibu Mitch)

Anthony: I’m ashamed to say this is my first time listening to Bree Runaway. Bree’s natural charisma and attitude shines through and deserves all the attention. The beat compliments her boldness and makes me want to hear what else she has. The music video is a must see – for the scene with the television alone. Honestly Maliibu Mitch brings nothing to the song and switches up the mood. I would’ve preferred the song featureless. 3.5 

Reece: Bree Runway feels like an artist right on the cusp of figuring it all out and becoming a massive star. ‘Gucci’ is a firm, assertive statement of intent that never loses its coy sense of humour. Maliibu Miitch is a brilliant running partner for the track, her growl and acrobatic flow injecting a new energy that meets Bree Runway’s authority, an achievement in of itself. 4

Sam: Bree Runway is so ahead of the game right now. It feels like she’s going to sit with Janelle Monáe and Tierra Whack as an artist who can really push the boundaries sonically and visually while still delivering bops. Gucci has an effortless bounce to it and both artists feel right at home on it. It’s not the boldest song we’ve heard from Runway but it’s cool to see her flex. 4

Jason Derulo – Take You Dancing

Anthony: Can we just pretend this just doesn’t exist? If someone was to call this “trashy club music” that would be generous. Nothing to see here. The beat drop is horribly cocky. This deserves a big donut.

Reece: Jason Derulo has been doing this since I was using MySpace and somehow he’s still getting clicks. There’s just nothing about this song that doesn’t feel average. The production might be royalty-free stock music and Jason Derulo has the charisma of a brick wall. This is the soundtrack to every nightclub you immediately regret entering. 1.5

Sam: I can’t even be mad about this. It’s so obvious to go viral on TikTok and then make a song that basically forces you to dance. There’s no way I can view the video as I still see Jason Derulo as a cat. Haunting. 2

Flo Milli – May I

Anthony: Let it be known, Flo Milli is the shit. Her releases so far have been on frequent rotation for me lately. Flo’s music has the ability to hype you the hell up real quick when you need the pick me up. May I continues this trend for Flo – though only when the hook hits. The verses drag for too long. She’s talking her shit which is Flo’s signature but she’s pushing the audience’s limits here. *Presses play on Not Friendly* 2.5

Reece: Flo Milli is like a hip-hop Voltron: take the raspy high octane energy of Rico Nasty, the fire-spitting swagger of an early Nicki Minaj and the impeccable self-confidence of Young Thug and you’ve got my favourite new artist of 2020. ‘May I’ nails all the basics: the beat selection is perfect, Flo Milli’s flow feels like joy-riding in a supercar and her lyrics are consistently hard-hitting, layered with wit and humour. There’s a reason why everyone who’s everyone is co-signing Flo Milli: She’s so, so good at rapping.. 4.25

Sam: Flo Milli feels like she’s right on the precipice of becoming really big. She’s got such a magnetic personality and I love that she just goes in from start to finish while still crafting immediate hooks. This is one borders on obnoxious which is the best thing about it. A playful and cocky cut. 4

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