9songs

9 Current Songs That Prove Interesting Music Can Top The Charts

9songs

When you turn on the radio and the first thing you hear is “Dear future husband…”, it’s pretty easy to get down on the state of music. The truth is that the commercial world of music is full of injustice. They play a song about “finding a cheerleader” but they don’t play FKA twigs and they’d rather play a song called All About That Bass than anything that actually has bass like say, Run The Jewels.

The fact is any successful business knows their audience and they play these songs because they’re popular or they want to make them popular. It’s a stubborn, unchangeable business but that’s why it’s all the more joyful when something really memorable seeps through. For those who have lost hope with mainstream music here are nine reasons why we should hold our heads up about what’s popular at the moment:

Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds

The trajectory of this song has been very interesting to watch. When the song dropped out of the blue earlier this month it was almost to a collective “what the fuck”. Nobody knew if it was Rihanna or Kanye’s song or what on earth Paul McCartney was doing with two of the biggest stars in urban music. After being performed at the Grammys, the song has risen to number one on the ARIA Charts and is on high rotation on commercial radio.

It only took about three different instruments to make FourFiveSeconds and yet it’s easily one of the most captivating songs of the year. Kanye is obviously going through a spout of minimalism at the moment and it’s worked wonders for Rihanna. She sounds the most raspy and powerful she has in years. She’s an artist who’s always looked for new things to do and it’s almost comical that it took her to strip a song to the bone to create one of the highlights of her career. This is a game-changer. You can expect more and more songs to sound like this in the year ahead.

Taylor Swift - Style

Who would’ve thought that such a straight-out pop album would’ve become one of the more divisive of last year (for triple j listeners at least)? The reason 1989 was so divisive is because people outside the mainstream started to show appreciation for what was a brilliantly conceived pop album. The naysayers were left wondering why they were suddenly left alone when every jumped to team Tay Tay.

Style is by far one of the highlights of 1989. It’s a slinky, immaculate pop tune with a throbbing bass-line. The song was written by Taylor Swift with Max Martin who’s made some of the biggest pop tunes of all time (Since U Been Gone, I Kissed A Girl, Shake It Off). What makes it so interesting is it actually sounds like nothing else on the charts right now. The melody is straight out of the how-to-make-a-pop-song book but the instrumental is dim-lit and brooding with the percussion taking cues from the ‘80s.

Florence + The Machine - What Kind Of Man

This may be hovering just past the top ten on iTunes’ around the world but it’s a pretty spectacular feat for a song that’s so angsty and raw. Florence has crossed over into the mainstream many time before but that was with the help of Calvin Harris or a cover, never with a song like this. A lot of its success comes from the fact that people are happy to have Florence back but this is a testing song. Her voice wails amongst growling guitars and thrashing percussion while all the while she taunts “What kind of man loves like this?”

Florence Welch has done a brilliant job over the last five years of bringing interesting, challenging ideas to a wider audience and it seems she’ll be stretching that ever more on her next album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. The best thing is, as soon as you hear one of her songs it couldn’t be anybody else in the world singing it. That’s a quality that many songs on the charts miss.

Tinashe - 2 On (Feat. Schoolboy Q)

More than a year after its release and Australian audiences are starting to catch onto this tune by US RnB singer Tinashe. It’s already been a hit in the US but radio has just put this on high rotation which is odd for such a bare urban track. You’d have to go as far back as Ashanti to find a song as minimal as this climbing up the charts.

It works because Tinashe’s melodies in the verses are so tight and she struts vocally with gusto. She’s confident and immediately gives us a whiff of her personality on 2 On. It’s obvious she’s young, it’s clear she’s cool and best of all it sounds like she’s a self-made artist. This type of song doesn’t usually seep through on the Australia charts but it could open a door for many more.

Hayden James - Something About You

Commercial radio have shyed away from many Future Classic artists in the past. They only started playing Flume’s Holdin’ On once it was a certified alternative hit and Chet Faker can owe most of his success to triple j’s build-up. It seems, however, that one artist in particular has caught their attention of late. That man is Hayden James who is currently sitting at number 24 on the Radio Airplay Chart with Something About You.

The track which appeared on Future Classic’s Teen Idols compilation and has since become a budding commercial hit. It’s warm synths and deep-house-esque beats have struck a chord with Australian audiences (he may have Chet Faker to thank for warming them up). It’s actually quite rare to find a track like this finding favour on the charts. Even mainstream Australian audiences passed on much of Disclosure’s efforts despite their obvious pop notions.

Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk (Feat. Bruno Mars)

It may be driving most insane now but don’t forget the first time you the blaring horns of Uptown Funk coupled with that infectious beat. Uptown Funk reached sales in excess of one million this week in the UK and in Australia it’s been certified platinum five times but sonically it stands by itself on the charts. Ronson was very clever in pulling Bruno Mars into this song because not only does he do a brilliant job vocally, he also brings a certain likeability for audiences that may not be so familiar with Ronson’s work.

Uptown Funk is the kind of song that demands you listen the first time you hear it. It’s almost obnoxious how in-your-face it is. It does so on its own terms though. It’s not following a mainstream trend, there’s no EDM-flavours, almost none of that typical Max Martin-sheen and no lyrics regarding forbidden love.

Charli XCX - Doing It (Feat. Rita Ora)

Charli XCX is one of the first popstars of this millenium that’s done it completely on her own terms. Nowadays jumping on an Iggy Azalea track is a planned career move but we’ve got to remember that when Charli featured on Fancy Iggy was yet to achieve any mainstream success. Charli then took her newfound fame and released a record inspired by obscure Swedish punk music. It’s an odd route to take but it’s one that have made the charts far more interesting.

Doing It sees Charli team up with Rita Ora for an unlikely pop anthem about “doin it like we’re doin it”. The video sees her dressed as a glamourised cowboy. It’s not pretty, neither of them look like models but it’s cool because it’s sets her apart from any other popstar. Even Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s Telephone (a video similar to Doing It) made them look like sex symbols. This does nothing of the sort but it makes pop videos look like shit loads of fun which is what they should be.

Calvin Harris - Pray To God (Feat. HAIM)

By the time you get to the drop every Calvin Harris song is exactly the same by LA singers HAIM bring something different to a classic Harris song. They build-up the track with a gospel-inspired grunt that makes you actually live for the drop. It sounds like they’re levitating towards the heavens as they sing “I pray to God I just don’t know anymore”. HAIM go EDM was such an unlikely headline but here they make it work purely because their own artistic identity is so strong.

It’s been a while since Calvin Harris has sounded inventive but HAIM’s super tight melodies and unbreakable chemistry means that the song sounds sleek and cool rather than being simply your run-of-the-mill EDM song with a guest vocalist plopped on for good measure. This is HAIM featuring Calvin Harris because they completely own it.

Kendrick Lamar - The Blacker The Berry

So often political and cultural statements that end up on commercial radio are “heal the world” mantras dreamt up by some big-wig in a large record company who’s decided that compassion sells. Kendrick Lamar is a rapper who knows how powerful his voice can be and when he’s at his best no message could be more clear.

The Blacker The Berry features some of the most powerful lines by a major label rapper for a long time and he’s completely committed to selling the cause. “My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide/You hate me don’t you?”, he raps with a grittiness to his voice. He calls out stereotypes and re-writes people’s thoughts in one of the most powerful moments of his career and yet he does so in a way that is managing to climb up the charts.

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Triple J or Tay Tay: How Well Do You Know the Triple J Hottest 100 Contenders?

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With TaylorGate dividing the nation this past week, we thought we'd make a quiz so that the true h8ers can prove their devotion to this year's triple j Hottest 100. The artists featured have been plucked from the top 20 in the Social Hottest 100, a list created by Michael George, a 34-year-old former computer science student, who has taken the liberty/time to collate 20,000 votes to formulate his predictions for the countdown. Take part in the quiz below to see if you can tell the Triple J Hottest 100 contenders' lyrics apart from Taylor Swift's.

Dedicated to our colourful fan, Brian xoxo <3

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[qzzr quiz="34600" width="100%" height="auto" redirect="true" offset="0"]
Feel free to play along with this inspired mashup of past Hottest 100 winners and Taylor Swift vocals.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jaymeefranchina/tay4hottest100[/soundcloud]

GuiltyPleasures

the interns' Top 10 Guilty Pleasures of 2014

 

GuiltyPleasures

When it comes to compiling these end of year lists it’s often easy to leave out some of the biggest ear worms of the year. Most of those songs are loved by the whole world and yet are ignored in most lists, probably because they’re ridiculous and have a use by date of about two months.

Despite this, we feel it’s worth celebrating these songs that dominated the airwaves and your brain capacity. Here are our top ten guilty pleasures of 2014. If you really like lists, why don't you also check out our top 30 songs of 2014?

Ariana Grande- Break Free

Zedd contributed a little bit to Lady Gaga’s Artpop and ultimately failed but he’s redeemed himself here with this Ariana banger. For the most part, Ariana Grande was channeling RnB in 2014 but for this one she went out all guns blazing, going vocally wild in the chorus like Whitney would’ve had she had the chance to dabble in EDM. The video is even goofy in the same way that Nikki Webster’s Strawberry Kisses was and we’re all into it.

Sam Smith- Stay With Me

This is a guilty pleasure in the way that many people would’ve had a cry on their couch with ice-cream dripping down their chin singing to this. No shame in that. Stay With Me is the type of ballad we’ve been missing since the days of Whitney and Mariah. Sam Smith is the success story of 2014. Hand the man his Grammy’s and let him get to work on the next James Bond theme song.

One Direction- Steal My Girl

This inclusion is mostly because Danny DeVito is in the video and it made us trawl through Matilda videos for two hours proceeding, but the songs also one of the best from One Direction. It’s slightly confusing that they all seem to be talking about the same girl but the logistics of that is not for us to worry about. A particular highlight is when Harry takes the high notes on the final chorus, just like Mel C would’ve for the Spice Girls.

G.R.L- Ugly Heart

Simone Battles' death earlier this year is a horrible shame not only because she was so young but because G.R.L are one of the best girl groups to come out of the USA since, eh, Destiny’s Child. Or Danity Kane. Let’s go with Danity Kane. Ugly Heart was championed by Dr. Luke and had all the necessary ingredients of a pop masterpiece. It had stomping bass, a strumming acoustic guitar (ooft) and a video that saw the girls locked up in prison. There’s actually something extremely freeing about this song which is worrying for me as a male who’s never romantically encountered a boy with an ugly heart.

Becky G- Shower

Unbelievably this song was not written for a Pantine commercial. It was in fact written by Becky G and hit-maker Dr. Luke for Becky G. It’s a sort of rap-song that has a chorus that definitely isn’t a rap-song chorus, so we’re finding it all a bit difficult to place it anyway. As a pop song, it’s genius though. There’s handclaps, layered vocals and a bridge that makes the chorus sound bigger than Ben Hur. It’s a national crime that this song peaked just outside the top ten.

Taylor Swift- Blank Space

Is Taylor Swift even a guilty pleasure anymore? She’s sold so many records that it seems everybody in the world has accepted that we will all just be honest with our love for Tay Tay. Blank Space was Taylor Swift’s “I’m a mess in a dress” song that saw her do crazy about as convincingly as Enya doing social. What is convincing though is the melody. It just slips through you like butter and adds a little white-girl rap in at the end for good measure.

Nico & Vinz- Am I Wrong

I’m not sure why Am I Wrong doesn’t have a question mark after it, but perhaps it’s because Norwegian newcomers Nico & Vinz don’t want a response. Am I Wrong has the feeling of Toto’s Africa combined with Phil Collins’ Tarzan soundtrack which is an enviable sound to have. It’s all about ambition and striving to be your best which is a bit sickening but who cares when the melody is as delectable as it is.

Mark Ronson- Uptown Funk (Feat. Bruno Mars)

This is the first time that Mark Ronson has really teamed up with a pop superstar for his own solo work. Naturally, the song has gone number one around the world in a matter of days but it feels like it’s on the strength of the song rather than Bruno Mars’ inclusion. It’s a disco-heralding, Chic throwback which actually makes Mars seem slightly less annoying. Expect to be extremely sick of this song by at least March 2015, but for now just enjoy the funk.

Iggy Azalea- Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX)

“First things first I’m the realest” may just be the most awkward conversation starter of 2014 but it was also the greatest beginning to a pop song in 2014. Fancy started things for both Iggy and Charli XCX who have both had stellar years this year. It’s because it targeted everybody's nostalgia. From the aesthetic references to Gwen and Eve’s Blow Your Mind to the ‘90s-coated, Clueless video, Fancy had ‘90s kids swooning and kids who weren’t born in the ‘90s wishing they were. Little do they know, they would’ve had to deal with dial-up internet.

Nick Jonas- Jealous

On the awful scale this year, Nick Jonas rated about an 11 with his crotch-grabbing photos etc. He told Good Morning America that he thought it was important that we started a conversation on jealousy, thus this song’s existence. Thank goodness he’s started the conversation because this is pure pop cold. From the falsetto to the clumsy lyrics like “It’s my right to be hellish”, Jonas nails it showing that he’s successfully made his transformation from family boyband member to hellish badboy himself.

Check out our top 30 songs of 2014

RECYCLE-CULTURE-REMIXTAPE-575x575

Recycle Culture Wraps Up 2014 With A Retrospective Mixtape

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It's that time of year when everybody is gathering together their life-changing lists of the best songs of 2014. Producer, Recycle Culture, has decided to put together his faves of the year in his MMXIV mixtape which sees him mash-up and remix the likes of How To Dress Well, QT, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. It's an extremely entertaining run-through some of the most notable tracks of 2014 and one that would make a good christmas party playlist if your office was more inclined to listen to this instead of the Mariah Carey christmas album. Both are completely ok btw. But, you can name your price with this one, you can't with MC unless you nick it out of your Mum's car.

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Recycle Culture has already remixed Taylor Swift's 'Wildest Dreams' and suddenly life is excellent

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If you checked the internet occasionally you'd be all over the fact that mildly successful country-pop sensation, Taylor Swift has released a new album titled 1989. Well, it only took producer, Recycle Culture, a matter of hours to pop up a remix of the 8th song on Swifties album, Wildest Dreams. The airy ballad is suddenly transformed into a blood-rushing, beat-racing number that keeps Swift's original vocals intact. It makes us feel that Tay Tay's next album could be all electronica. Possible?

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/recycle-culture/taylor-swift-wildest-dreams-recycle-culture-remix[/soundcloud]

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8 Alternative Album Titles for Taylor Swift's '1989'

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Well, she’s done it. Our country queen has made the full transition to pop princess. We’ve had to sit through four album and copious amounts of banjos, but we’ve finally been delivered a dirty, melody-obsessed record of sweet, sugary pop.

As huge as the album will be, we feel there is one thing holding it back - its title. It’s destined to be the highest selling album of the year but to have an album of the year in 2014 titled 1989 is far too numeric and frankly a little confusing. T.Swizzle, leave those kind of details for your birth certificate and allow us to retitle your album.groundhog

1. Groundhog Day

Every great pop song has a fair dose of repetition, it’s what starts it spinning in your brain and keeps it firmly lodged in your memory but Tay Tay really takes it to a new level on 1989. She sings the word “woods” in Out Of The Woods 41 times which actually pales in comparison to Shake It Off in which she sings “shake” 79 times. “Are we out of the woods?” is an infuriatingly metaphorical question to ask someone repetitively also which makes us feel slightly sorry for Harry Styles or Ed Sheeran or Lorde or whoever it was she badgered.

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2. 25

Earlier this year it was announced that Adele’s third album would be called 25. Arguably, Swifty and Adele are the two highest-selling female artists on the planet. Adele’s 21 has sold 30 million copies while all of Tay’s past four albums have sold over five million copies. With Suzuki Swift turning 25 at the end of the year, it would have made perfect sense for her to cut Adele’s grass and name her album 25, before Adele could get her act together. That said, Adele probably could’ve just waited until she turned 26 if she was really set on the age thing.

Taylor_noitsbecky3. no its becky

The "hackers known as 4chan" uncovered that www.taylorswift.com was herself lurking on the mysterious, notoriously malicious, underground network under an anonymous moniker of jumbled numbers. This was further confirmed when T.S took to the streets with a shirt emblazoned with a prominent reference.jpg to a post in a /b/ thread that had her caught up in a horrible case of identity theft when she was falsely ‘suspected’ to be Becky, a girl who purportedly died from snorting an entire marijuana.

If Sasha Fierce was Beyonce’s alter-ego, then Becky is most certainly Tayluh’s. 1989 sees Mrs. Styles as a completely new girl. She’s embraced the world of pop and left behind any hint of country. On Red she was still flirting with the genre but now she’s completely committed and is reaping the rewards. Piste 5 is a ridiculously delectable hit, while I Wish You Would is an ‘80s-inspired marvel. All of it combines to deliver what will undoubtedly be the biggest pop album of the year.

Taylor_ANOTHERDIRECTION4. Another Direction

There’s plenty of songs about love on the album (roughly 10) but it actually feels like her least whiney album to date. She takes to a lovelorn song on 1989 just like Gwen Stefani once would’ve. On Shake It Off she moving straight on, right past the haters, even putting her feelings into a rap. On Style, she’s even speaking positively about love, aptly singing “we never go out of style”. It’s an odd quote given she goes through boys faster than a box of Kleenex but it’s nice to hear Selena Gomez’s friend happy. And just to think she once thought there was only one direction.

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5. Pink

Red had Alison angry, very angry. I Knew You Were Trouble was her most aggressive track together while We Are Never Getting Back Together had a wonderful air of Mean Girl-brattiness to it. It seems, however, on 1989 we’re greeted by an artist who’s exploring different shades. From the illuminated glossiness of Welcome To New York to the rebellious RnB stylings of Blank Space, 1989 is an uplifting album that makes us feel that there may just be the right boy out there who makes us feel special and worthwhile <3

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6. Days Are Gone

We never thought we would say this, but 1989 actually takes a lot of stylistic cues from HAIM’s Days Are Gone. While it’s not anywhere near as badass the Californian trio’s album, it’s pop, driven by a thumping drum-beat and peppered with delicious melodies. Out Of The Woods is the biggest testament to this. It has the same kind of pulsating energy as something like The Wire while Bad Blood has that same kind of drum-induced spite as My Song 5. I don’t think they’d notice if she stole their title.

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7. So Fresh Songs of 2014

Shake It Off, Out Of The Woods, Welcome To New York, Bad Blood, Style, Piste 5, I Wish You Would...let’s be honest she has like 33 #1 songs on this album and most of them are better than everything else that’s risen to the top this year.

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8. Me. I am Taylor (The Elusive Chanteuse)

Mariah Carey named her album this with the kind of cockiness that said “I’m still the queen”. Unfortunately she may have to give that crown over to Ms. Bleachers. There hasn’t been a female artist who’s ruled the charts for this long, probably since Mariah and she probably deserves it. With each album, she’s served up something different and 1989 truly feels like a great pop album. It’s all killer, no filler and has songs that our kids will dance to in the way we still go batshit for Whitney Houston’s, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. All props to Swizzle, she may be a meme machine but you have to put yourself out there to gain #haterz and she happily does that.

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FI_20Oct

First Impressions: Chance The Rapper, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris + more

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First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. Today we pick apart tracks by Taylor Swift, Tkay Maidza, Chance The Rapper, Calvin Harris, Marina And The Diamonds & Marion Hill. 

Taylor Swift- Out of the Woods

Lizzie: We can’t say Taylor doesn’t mix it up a bit. This carries very much a Broods ‘Mother and Father’ sound for me - the running track style. I am a massive fan of her voice in this, and while it is yet another Taylor Swift break-up heartache track, I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed to blast this song from my car... in public. 3.5

Bianca: The first verse was actually quite easy on my ears, which is quite a departure from my usual feelings towards Tay Tay. And then...the chorus came. Like a yapping chihuahua that keeps nipping at your ankles, begging for attention, so is the effect of the continuous repetition of the mind-numbing lyrics. In saying that, overall, this song was as mildly enjoyable as reading its accompanying YouTube comments debating whether or not this was written about Harry Styles. 2.75

Sam: Goddamit. It was a big step for me to admit I was a fan of Shake It Off but two tracks in a row is ludicrous. This is good isn’t it? I think it is. It’s like a HAIM-inspired, slightly left-of-centre track that’s like nothing she’s really done before. The final bridge is a little bit over the top, but for all its repetition, the chorus is golden. Maybe I’m out of the woods. Maybe it’s finally time to admit I’m a Tay Tay fan :/ 3.5

Hannah: I am a big, BIG closet Taylor Swift fan. Think Narnia big. But I love her for all her poppy, catchy, pretween, sappy tendencies. This is just a little... Well it's a little too grown up for the pigeon hole I've put dear Taylor in. Yes it sounds like Broods. Yes it sounds like Haim. Yes it sounds like all those slightly left of field female artists making it big in the mainstream at the moment. Off the back of Shake it Off though, what's wrong with just sounding like Taylor? 3

Tkay Maidza- Switch Lanes

Lizzie: Tkay continues to shine her versatile young talent to the world! I love the flow/switch lanes in and out of singing and rapping -an almighty talent in itself. But I what I really like is the stripped-back style and noticeably tight production (by Paces), very unlike her usual hard bass-heavy beat. 4

Bianca: Aaaaand, Tkay has done it again. What a delightfully minimal track with just enough  sass and badassery to keep things interesting. The contrast between her trilling vocals and quick-witted roll of the tongue is a perfect marriage, creating a multi-faceted layer over Paces’ minimal, plonky, yet polished, production. 

Sam: I feel like a broken record gushing over Tkay but she’s really yet to put a step wrong. Switch Lanes gives us more of that bratty, attitude over a wonderfully spacious beat courtesy of Paces. I love how effortlessly she flips between singing and rapping. It makes me think she’s got the potential to have a crossover hit like Nicki Minaj did with Superbass.  4

Hannah: As far as interns darlings go, Tkay takes the cake.I have to admit however, I've never quite been as ready to board the Tkay train bound for stardom as the rest of the interns. Switch Lanes is changing that though. It's skillful and perfectly isolates between the sweet sounds of a new comer and bratty spits handled like a pro. All aboard! 3

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/tkaymaidza/switch-lanes[/soundcloud]

Chance The Rapper- No Better Blues

Lizzie: So Chance apparently hates a lot of things, we get it. From the opening of the track I thought this was going to be a bit more of an optimistic track, but no “it don’t get no better, it just don’t get no better.” I am feeling a little bit blue too now (sigh). 2

Bianca: Nothing like a bit of negativity to get me interested. After all of Pharrell’s Happy-ness and Taylor’s shaking off of the haters, finally Chance tells it like it is and lets loose with his take on the realities of life. Much like life, though, this track plods along but, unlike life, it doesn’t bear any exciting twists or turns. 2.5

Sam: Along with the Arthur cover, Chance has been getting pretty emotional lately and it works for him. For a song that starts every line with the same few words, it’s pretty profound. The beat never really alters but somehow Chance injects an infectious personality in with his spoken-word. He may hate everything, but I am very much a fan of this. 4

Hannah: Does anyone else find this song incredibly relaxing to listen to? Chance's spoken word is so melodic and perfectly paired with the intimate piano and bass-heavy backing track. I find myself kind of being lulled by this out pouring of hate. And hey, at least he hates hate, right? 4

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/chancetherapper/chance-the-rapper-the-social-experiment-know-betta-blues[/soundcloud]

 Calvin Harris- Slow Acid

Lizzie: I may have to eat my words on this one. I have spent to year slamming Calvin Harris for his lack of originality and experimentation with any of his tracks of recent. Slow Acid is a definite departure from his usual stadium hit recipe. Something you would find at the end of a Bourne film - the slower pace, less bass heavy and noticeable lack of Florence and the Machine/ Rihanna is refreshing and hopeful for his LP release next month. Phew! 4

Bianca:  Well, this is certainly a new sound from ol’ Calvin. It’s a hectic, grungey track with a similarly-sounding name. I guess it’s a nice change of pace from the regular, textbook method of song structure and irritating guest vocalists that Calvin usually follows but I can’t help but find the entire package- the ‘rough’ video clip, the contrived name, the ‘90s trance-esque “Woo!” vocal sample- a little bit, for lack of a better word, lame. It just feels it was made for the purpose of soundtracking an anti-piracy commercial. “You Wouldn’t Steal A Car”... and I definitely won’t be stealing this song. 1.75  

Sam: I’m the first one to rat on a Calvo song, but I’m in two minds over this one. I do hate it, but that’s more of a personal taste. I do applaud that he’s finally doing something different that’s not so explicitly made so that more dollar signs rain on him. But then again, I don’t praise every album for having a second track that sounds different to the first so I’m just gonna go right ahead and place this here: 2

Hannah: In terms of the typical Calvin sound, sure let's call this track experimental and ok, we can even bandy around the phrase underground. In terms of the rest of the EDM catalogue or history of dark beat dance tracks, let's just say YAWN! Calvin's experimental track sounds remarkably like The Matrix soundtrack. 2

Marina and the Diamonds- Froot

Lizzie: Oh my word this is a long track. I am eerily attracted to Marina’s voice, but I thought I was listening to Eurovision for a second there! I do not really see the reason to push past the 5-minute mark. ‘Froot’ is a bit of a marathon if you ask me. 3.5

Bianca: Marina really makes us work for the chorus (which doesn’t come in until around the 1:20 mark) but the fructose-laden result is certainly worth it. Her gooey, honey-like voice drawls in the most positive of ways over the groovin’ bassline and jazzy melody. This one’s going straight to the fruit bowl. Bianca's Pick 

Sam: If nothing else, I’ve always been a fan of Marina’s chorus’. She doesn’t go in all guns-blazing ever, rather subtly weaving in melodies with that drawling voice. On Froot, we really have to work to get the chorus. It feels like 17 verses before it finally arrives, but my goodness is it worth it. Those funky guitars roll-in and she just climbs up that vocal ladder, ever so slightly. Props for the title too. Too often is the power of ironic spelling ignored. 4.5 Sam's Pick 

Hannah: Hey Chance, how do you feel about adding the line "I hate Marina and The Diamonds and ironic pronunciations of 5 letter words," to your list of grievances? 1

Marian Hill- Got It

Lizzie: This performance offers up a little taster-plate of swagger, hip-hop sass, quirky production and raw vocal talent. I haven’t heard something like this smooth in a long time - oh and the sax is perfectly placed, that’s my favourite! 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: Samantha's gossamer voice is the winner here, truly shining when paired with jangly cymbals and a pulsating backdrop. Once the trilling brass comes in, I’m immediately transported into a smokey club in the '40s. Getting plenty of sultry Jessica Rabbit vibes from this. 3.5 

Sam: Love the almost-tinny, throbbing bass on this one. It would be nothing though if it wasn’t for the vocal personality of Samantha Gongol. The heights she reaches at some points is pretty breathtaking. That weird instrumental break helps it sound like a far more tasteful version of Jason Derulo’s Wiggle which is nice. I have been asking for that this year. 3.5

Hannah: This is as irresistible as a promising bowl of the richest chocolate cake mix and equally as seductive. Just try to say no. I love the bounce, the clap, the vocal acrobatics, the instrumental break and the bass. This ticks so many of the right boxes. 4 Hannah's Pick 

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/marianhill/got-it[/soundcloud]

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First Impressions: Taylor Swift, The Drums, Les Sins + more

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First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on first (or second) listen. Each week we each review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding one our pick of the week.

Taylor Swift- Shake It Off

Hannah: I was a little M.I.A when this song dropped last week and promptly broke the twittersphere. While I knew that  Earl Sweatshirt put his always relevant 2 cents in and called out a pancake-assed Tay Tay for being "inherently offensive" in her efforts to "exacerbate racial stereotypes," and I caught glimpses of the video as it made its way around every morning show in this galaxy and the next, I've somehow managed to avoid listening to it until now. While I may be a little late to the party, this is a tongue-in-cheek “fuck you” like only Tay Tay could deliver and quite frankly, closet Swift fan I am, I love it. While the message is overt (shake it off was it?), her latest release heralds, in a much more subtle manner, a mature departure from her previous album. The beat is up, the brass is in and the octave a little less squeaky-girl-next-door and a little more I-might-surprise-you-yet. Yeah Taylor! 3.6

Sam: Unlike Hannah, I’m not a Tay Tay fan. Until now, I’ve found her to be alarmingly self-obsessed and overwhelmingly whiney. This, however, is a massive win. She’s not afraid to be dorky or 100% pop and the result of that is she comes off as a far more likeable artist. Max Martin’s inclusion of brass is perfect and the rap, as ridiculous as it is, is perfect. 4

Bianca: I have been in two minds about this little ditty all week. On one hand, this is a pop ballad that is catchy and purposefully kitschy in every single way; it stands as an expert transition from country to pop. However, it is for those same reasons that every fiber of my being is telling me to dislike it: the cheesy lyrics, Tay Tay's attempts at acting 'dorky' in the video, the tired joke of impersonating other musicians, the spoken word/rap...I’m going to have to go ahead with the latter. In short, all aspects of why I object to it outlined here (in a blog aimed at promoting the exact opposite).

Lizzie: This is not the first time I have heard Shake it off, admittedly. Every single ounce of me wants to not like it, not dance to it and not have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Alas, this is exactly what happened and this will continue to happen. Well played Taylor, you got me this time! 4

[embed width="750" height="415"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM[/embed]

Caribou- Our Love

Hannah: This is yet another example of Caribou's flawless production. A bass heavy gurgle pulsing endlessly beneath a tapestry of vocal samples that expertly crescendo to a place of synth, snare, strings, rockets, 3am and deep house. I love a slow burn and Caribou's restraint here delivers exactly that. 4 Hannah’s Pick

Sam: This is very much in the same vein as Can’t Do Without You in terms of song structure. Thankfully I was a huge fan of Can’t Do Without You and I am of this one too. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of the latter parts of the song. The bassline melts my ears and the beat injects some much-needed energy into it. 3.5

Bianca: Caribou has once again perfected the art of delicacy. Gently placing subtle layer upon layer of heavenly vocals, defiant drum kicks, string synths and dat throbbing bassline, if completing a Buzzfeed ‘Which French dessert are you?’ quiz, Our Love would be a mille-feuille. 4 Bianca's Pick 

Lizzie: It’s just so gloriously minimal. Caribou does not have to try hard to produce a track that you instantly fall in love with. The start goes against every EDM banging bone in my body and I’m happy to admit it. Then violins just sneak up on you and tickle your ears - and when you think it’s almost over, 3 mins 22 hits and you are up and at it again. 4

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/our-love[/soundcloud]

Shannon Saunders- Sheets

Hannah: Sheets is a melting pot for everything good that's happening at the collision of pop and electronic music right now. To that avail, it's a good song but not a great song. It shows Saunders has a great ear for a great sound but hasn't quite found her sound. When she does, I'm sure it'll be killer but for now it's just a little done. 3

Sam: I always love a healthy slice of understated electro-pop which probably explains my feelings towards this song. Saunders doesn’t need to exaggerate vocally in Sheets, rather letting the delectable melody hook you in. I feel like she’s a mini- Ellie Goulding in the making. 3

Bianca: Doughy, cooing female voices have never really sat well with me but in this case, Saunders’ has been diffused well into the synths and bassline which pleasantly prevent this track from verging into dangerous pop territory. 2.5

Lizzie: Right off the bat, you are drawn into her unique girly sound. Then the backbeat comes in as a beautiful compliment. It is exactly the pop song I feel like listening to right now. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/shannonsaunders/sheets[/soundcloud]

Run The Jewels- Blockbuster Night P.1

Hannah: Did he just rhyme oodles with noodles? I'm out. 2

Sam: Run The Jewels’ debut cut through in all the right places with aggressive raps and organic yet affecting beats and the same happens here. It feels removed from the current hip-hop climate ditching pop hooks and electronic stylings for something that just goes hard. It’s only a short one but it’s long enough to know that RTJ2 is going to be fierce. 4

Bianca: The grungey guitar, heavy lyrics, and general bloated sound of this track are of a nature that usually would not gel with me. But I’m feeling a bit badass tonight so I’mma just go ahead and leave a 3.5 right here while I go do some badass shit like not wait for my English Breakfast tea bag to infuse for the recommended 3-5 minutes.

Lizzie: I just feel angry after this song. My muscles are tightening and my face is getting wrinkled. Where’s my punching bag!? 2.5

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/massappealrecs/rtj-blockbuster-night-part-1[/soundcloud]

The Drums- I Can’t Pretend

Hannah: This is light and dreamy and some serious road trip music, but I'm over the whole wasted youth sound and the latest offering from The Drums falls irrevocably into that category. Cheer up. 2

Sam: I liked Magic Mountain when I first heard it but it’s since escaped my mind. Of course, this is once again a First Impression of the song but I have a feeling its fate might be different. I do agree with Hannah regarding the wasted youth sound but I’ve always felt The Drums pushed the envelope a little further. They are a band who have always been very aware of the aesthetic they want to give off and as such never sound lazy. I Can’t Pretend revels in woozy vocals and reverb-soaked instruments and is hopefully a good sign of what is to come on Encyclopedia. 3.5

Bianca: The Drums have personally always treaded on that fine line between being pleasantly whimsical and being tediously whiney; there’s only so much reflection and melancholy I can handle. In I Can't Pretend, while still staying true to their signature nostalgia, they've also experimented into more assertive territory with electric glitches and jangly guitars. Let's hope their Encyclopedia continues along this focus. 3.5

Lizzie: This just screams youth and summertime nostalgia. I feel like packing my bags and heading down the coast for a mid-week escape. That, or just locking myself away and watching the entire OC box set again. 3

[embed width="750" height="415"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzuobjUuxAQ[/embed]

Les Sins- Bother

Hannah: If Taylor's appearance in this weeks First Impressions' is a 'fuck you,' then this is Budnick's 'fuck off.' With an album out on November 4th under Les Sins and Toro y Moi continuing to pump out tracks, "don't bother me, I'm working" is right! This is a house beat with just the right about of hip-hop influence running alongside an infectious vocal sample. While I'm not entirely sold on the detour via the frilly electronic explosion featured on the second half of the track, I'm excited for the rest of the album to drop 3

Sam: This is the track I’ve come back to time and time again this week. It’s a tune for those pumping it through the work day and sweating it out on the dancefloor and perfectly caters to day and nighttime crowds. I’d place myself in the latter category and can happily say this one would make me work for my next drink. The beat pumps the blood, the vocal-sample creates the groove and the final minute is a hands-in-the-air triumph. Damn, damn, damn, I love this. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: Don’t bother me, I’m twerkin’. 3.5 
twerking

Lizzie: This is a snazzy little jam isn’t it? It really has that I don’t give a fuck vibe, the samples in the background however, are terribly distracting. The close is a psychedelic surprise, an interesting end to an even more interesting song - nothing makes sense, but together it all kinda works. It’s weird how it all comes together nicely. 3.5

[embed width="750" height="415"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyScqu7jEMc[/embed]
10songsuneed

10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week

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As if by magic, the working week is once again drawing to a close and we’ve been blessed with a whole bunch of new music. Nobody has time to sift through the gallons of crap music that comes through SoundCloud but we’ve decided to take some time out of learning the rap part of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off to deliver you the best this week. For convenience, we’ve put them below with a little bit of banter in case you fancy a bit of a read.

Les Sins- Brother

“Don’t bother me I’m working” is the hook that swirls around on the debut from Tory Y Moi’s dance projects, Les Sins. Working can mean many things. At a desk, on a construction site and of course, on the dancefloor. The latter is the most applicable to that one. Fuzzy synths and a four-to-the-floor beat command you to sweat it out and get to work. C’mon now, move that ass.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/company-record-label/lessinsbother[/soundcloud]

Taylor Swift- Shake It Off

Tay Tay caused quite a stir this week when she unleashed a new tune, video and details of a new album 1989. Shake It Off is the first single from that album which is sure to be a pop monster. It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t already heard that but in case you’re one of those people who are still sinking their teeth into Adele’s 21 we’ve attached the song below in a visual form. Go into the weekend, shaking off all the haters. Those miserable sods.

Read our for and against of the song here.

Ariana Grande- Be My Baby

Cashmere Cat lays down the beat at this one and the pair do and expert job. Be My Baby takes Ariana into explicit Mariah Carey territory as she trills at the heights of her vocal. There’s a lot of ‘90s nostalgia going on but aside from that there’s one hell of a hook here. It turns out the Norwegian producer has quite a penchant for pop and the meeting of these two kitty kats could well be the best thing to happen this year.

WAFIA- Let Me Love You

In another reminder that everybody thinks they’d be better off living in 2004 (obviously forgetting dial-up internet), Brisbane singer WAFIA has tugged at the memory-banks with this cover of Mario’s Let Me Love You. Produced by Future Classic newbie, Thrupence, the cover beautifully marries electronic stylings and RnB melody. WAFIA’s voice is smooth and dignified and surely this only spells great things to come from her.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/wafia/let-me-love-you[/soundcloud]

Grace Mitchell- Your Design

Firstly lets have a bitch about how this Portland singer is only 16. It’s utterly ridiculous and she should be focussing on her studies and personal development. On the other side of that, we’re mighty glad she’s decided to do this music thing because she’s damn good at it, as it turns out. Your Design sees Robyn’s grande, emotional-pop meet Lorde’s dark sensibilities with a huge chorus carried by Mitchell’s mature voice. Definitely a name to watch.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/imgracemitchell/your-design[/soundcloud]

Kelela and Le1f- OICU

With the amount of RnB that floods out of SoundCloud daily, we are at risk of getting over it very quickly. Lucky there are people like Kelela who consistently throws curveballs into the genre. OICU sees her duet with fellow-innovator Le1f, over a jittery P.Morris beat. Kelela’s Janet-esque vocal is the highlight but the whole thing is a confusing yet satisfying journey into future RnB.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/kelelam/oicu[/soundcloud]

Caribou- Our Love

Five albums in and Dan Snaith (aka. Caribou) still has the love. Our Love is the title track off his forthcoming album and has him serving up some more mellow and warm electronica. The track ever-so-gradually reaches its beat-infused climax with his vocals jumping in every so often as if to tug at your heart. If his love sounds like this then he’s one of hell of a lover.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/caribouband/our-love[/soundcloud]

Charli XCX- Break The Rules

The lesson learnt from this week? Fuck everyone. First Taylor was shaking off the haters and now Charli XCX doesn’t wanna go to school cos she just wants to break the rules. After, I Love It, we’re all over Charli’s rebellious tendencies and it’s good to see her forget about being fancy and get a little bit dirty. Break The Rules is a bombastic pop songs that meets Swedish punk in a track that sounds far more believable than Tay Tay having real haterz.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/charlixcx/charli-xcx-break-the-rules[/soundcloud]

Jhene Aiko- Spotless Mind

On first listen of this you’ll probably fall asleep but Spotless Mind is not about immediacy. It’s the sort of track that gradually works its way into your psyche bringing its effortless peace with it. Everything we’ve heard so far off Aiko’s Souled Out has been classy, subtly melodic and soothing. It doesn’t feel like she’s forcing herself to create. Music comes naturally to her and our listening experience is all the more better off for it. Wow, that was deep.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/albsoon/jhene-aiko-spotless-mind[/soundcloud]

Cyril Hahn- Open (Feat. Ryan Ashley)

And to finish this audible journey we’ve been on together, here’s the new one by Canadian producer Cyril Hahn. This one just induces so many feels. Ashley’s tampered vocal sample sounds like a bottle of teardrops and cuts through beautifully above Hahn’s wave of unobtrusive synths. Poor a glass or two, start sipping down and by the end you’ll be swaying around the room like ain’t nobody watching. And there isn’t. Be free you spontaneous soul.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/cyrilhahn/open-ft-ryan-ashley[/soundcloud]

 

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