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First Impressions: Cardi B, Troye Sivan, Robyn And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 08/13/2020
First Impressions

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 Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s blockbuster WAP, another Troye Sivan album cut and an SG Lewis, Robyn and Channel Tres collab.

Cardi B – WAP (Feat. Megan Thee Stallion)

Anthony: If I was to imagine a Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion song, this would be it. Both rappers have never shied away from nasty bars in their music and them both coming together for this hoe anthem is a highlight. The addition of the train noise and boxing bell in the song are both gems. If you can’t openly speak about sex then this song isn’t for you. 4

Georgia Griffiths: Is it too early to award Song of the Year? Two of the best rapping about their love of sex over a TikTok-ready beat is definitely not what I had expected from 2020, although maybe I should have. I love everything about this song. Megan is impeccable as per usual, and that Cardi line about the uvula (the dangly thing at the back of your throat) gets me every single time. It’s exactly what I wanted from a collab between Cardi and Megan. 5

Sam Murphy: There hasn’t been an event of this magnitude this year (musically-speaking, obviously). There have been moments (Dua, Gaga, Swift) but everyone is talking about this because the stars have aligned. Cardi is returning after a lengthy break while Megan is coming off the back of her first number 1. Anything they did together would’ve garnered attention but this just takes it to the next level. It’s an outrageously explicit anthem of female empowerment by two of the most entertaining in the game. It bleeds charisma, they both bring their own flows to the table and on top of that they’ve delivered the video of the year. THE BEAT! THE VISUALS! THE LYRICS! It’s all there and if you’re not on board, you’re looking for a reason to hate. 5

Victoria Monet – JAGUAR

Anthony: I really see what Victoria was trying to do with this song but it doesn’t hit for me. The production is amazing with a variety of instruments – the horns are a highlight. Unfortunately Victoria’s vocals become tiresome and take the song nowhere. It’s a shame Victoria made a music video for Jaguar when there are gems like Touch Me and Go There With You on the project. If I was to listen to Jaguar again, I would chose the instrumental over the completed song any day. 2.5

Georgia: I was really worried this was going to be boring in the first minute or so, but as soon as the beat kicked in I was relieved. The highlight for me is the laidback brass section that comes in around 2.15, which helps to break up the song and bring some pizazz to it all. I definitely prefer Monet when she’s more upbeat (like on ‘Experience’) but ‘Jaguar’ is fine. 2.5

Sam: I love that Victoria Monét is getting the attention she deserves for this. She’s a great artist with a project that strays away from anything obvious. Jaguar carves it’s own sound by tinkering with the disco-pop formula. It’s decadent and expansive with velvety, rich vocals from Monét. 4

SG Lewis – Impact (Feat. Robyn & Channel Tres)

Anthony: SG Lewis never disappointments me with his production. Here he is a standout, while Channel Tres lacks any kinda of energy. I haven’t listened to his music before but was left disappointed with his vocals. Robyn is a dancefloor legend and her voice just instantly takes you to another world. This contrast doesn’t work for me and would’ve preferred the song to feature more Robyn. 3

Georgia: Picture this: it’s 3am, you’re on Oxford St with your mates and there’s hundreds of sweaty bodies around you in the club. This is the track I want every venue to be mandated to play on the first night out post-COVID. The sultriness of Channel Tres in contrast with the dulcet tones of Robyn, alongside the SG Lewis soundscape, makes for a slow-burn banger. 4.5

Sam: Apart from committing a crime by releasing this while the clubs are closed, Impact is basically perfect. Maybe it’s a nostalgia for four-to-the-floor beats right now but this one just hits in all the right places. Channel Tres glides through that verse like the cool cat he is and Robyn brings it with a hypnotising-yet-instantaneous chorus. SG Lewis is having a great year too. He’s taken his beat-game from background music to centre stage. 5

Troye Sivan – Rager teenager!

Anthony: Troye has been 2 for 2 from his new project for me. I can’t help but feel though Rager teenager is a step backwards for him. Troye reflects on his teenage self here – but I feel this results in losing his new found maturity in his music. The fact that he creates a song so bland about being a “Rager teenager” is all a bit uninteresting. 2

Georgia: Troye! My sweet summer child has returned. His new EP is out soon and this track makes me very excited for what might be to come. ‘Rager teenager!’ has tinges of Rex Orange County and Harry Styles, fitting well into the current zeitgeist, but it’s also uniquely Troye. The synth buildups and the breakdown at the end is what does it for me. 4

Sam: I don’t know if this attention is garnering Troye the attention he deserves. In my opinion, his songwriting has stepped up and I’ve loved every release so far. This is the one that cuts through instantly. He’s aptly captured that feeling of recklessness without giving it the dance beat these lyrics usually attract. It’s all delivered in a hazy dream and there’s something about the lyric, “I just wanna fuck shit up,” that hits hard. The drums are trying but I think I’m coming around. 4

Doja Cat – Freak

Anthony: Doja Cat’s versatility is unmatched. She can do rap, rnb and pop so well. Freak is a mix of the rnb that we love from Doja, with a flare of her rap skills. This song doesn’t hit you in the face but Doji showcases her talent and versatility. She’s got me looking forward to what she decides to do next. 3.5

Georgia: This isn’t a new Doja track but I’m glad it’s finally been released as a single. As much as I’m conflicted over Doja as a person, I can’t deny that she’s managed to capitalise on TikTok better than pretty much anyone else. The sampling of ‘Put Your Head On My Shoulder’ is what carries this track, juxtaposing Doja as she raps about sex acts in cars. It’s also good to see that 17 years after its release, ‘Milkshake’ by Kelis is still relevant enough to be referenced in rap lyrics. 3 

Sam: I know this is an old song that she probably got pressured into releasing but it doesn’t do anything for her. Doo-wop doesn’t sit with me at the best of times but this song achieves the impossible task of erasing Doja Cat’s charisma. Bored. 2

Tkay Maidza – You Sad

Anthony: Tkay has been grinding out here – I remember seeing her live in 2015. Fast forward to 2020 and she has dropped her best project yet. You Sad brings together all that makes Tkay great – her charisma, playfulness and word play. She really has hit her stride. Big fan of this. 4

Georgia: Tkay has absolutely hit it out of the park on Last Year Was Weird, Vol 2. It’s a well-known secret that she’s one of Australia’s best, and she’s finally getting the international recognition she deserves (including a 9 from Fantano!!!). ‘You Sad’ is one of my faves from the EP. It’s summery and sassy, with an instrumental that reminds me of ‘California’ by Childish Gambino but less aggressive. If we were having parties right now I’d be expecting to hear this one everywhere. 4.5

Sam: Tkay started popping off when we first started this website. Watching her growth has been one of the great highlights of the past few years. Australia has a tendency to build someone up only to leave them aimlessly wandering for more success. Tkay, on the other hand, has stayed in her own lane and focussed on her own growth. This new EP is a triumph because of that. Her sound and lyrics have blossomed into this new realm. That’s on display on You Sad – an effortless pop song shaken up by Tkay’s natural draw towards wonky vocal production and no-fucks-given hooks. 4.5

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