This Week In Records: Lady Gaga, Becky Hill & Pentatonix (21/10/2016)

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Our run of This Week In Records introductions acting as vague and undesired restaurant reviews has proved fleeting as, instead of taking my planned trip to the nearest branch of Subway to scrawl these words, I stayed home and dozed off a few minutes before the end of another episode of The Apprentice in which every participant seemed like a bit of a contrabassoon. Fortunately, that gave me a little more time to direct my vague and undesired attentions towards this week’s new music. If you’d like to see your upcoming release featured on this page or would just like to complain about the absence of sandwich commentary, then let us know by emailing records@theedgesusu.co.uk!

Lady Gaga – Joanne

Somehow, the new album from the one person who’d ever dare to be seen outside wearing a butcher’s counter looks like her most peculiar yet. Early teases ‘Perfect Illusion,’ ‘Million Reasons,’ and ‘A-YO‘ didn’t quite convince our writers, unprepared as they were for key changes, plain old emotional piano ballads, and country twangs, but the remainder of Joanne finds more space to allow a splendid list of collaborators (Florence Welch, Beck, Father John Misty, Josh Homme, Mark Ronson, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, BloodPop, and old friend RedOne to name a few) to trade the signature wackiness for something apparently far more earnest.

Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – ‘Rockabye’

Apologies for the Americanism, but welcome to the fall of Sean Paul. At the other end of 2016 you could barely negotiate a radio without hearing him appear with Sia, Little Mix, or Jay Sean (and that’s not even mentioning the MAGIC! and Matoma records he also guested on), and that was before he headlined Bestival, signed to Island Records, and channeled Major Lazer’s interpretation of his zeitgeist-centric Jamaican sound on ‘Crick Neck,’ a single that now has Radio 1 on board. Now, even in a week where they remixed Flume and their violinist/pianist/star of Windows Phone ads decided to splinter away, Clean Bandit is getting in on the action. Also with the voice of Anne-Marie, ‘Rockabye’ is what happens when you listen to too much Sia and write a song about a single mother of a six-year-old before remembering that dance-pop with strings is, thanks to you, “a thing.”

Pentatonix – A Pentatonix Christmas

Dear Pentatonix,

It’s October, you bastards.

Much love,
Xavier

Becky Hill – ‘Warm’

Remember The Voice, the show where judges like will.i.am and Irish Man Who Sang James Arthur’s Song Eight Years Before James Arthur would spin chairs round dramatically when they heard nice voices? Next year it does a Bake Off, jumping from the Beeb to an ad-supported slot on ITV with Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale new to the panel, however in five years it appears to have fundamentally failed as a vehicle for launching talented vocalists into credible careers – apart from Becky Hill. Even if you don’t know her name you’ll recognise her voice from collaborations with Oliver Heldens, Wilkinson, Matoma, MK, Rudimental, and more, yet it is her solo material that is perhaps most promising. Following the superb ‘Caution To The Wind,’ ‘Losing,’ and April’s tremendous ‘Back To My Love,’ own-label track ‘Warm’ comes with the promise of more in 2017. Judging by her set at Union Southampton’s Freshers’ Ball a few weeks back, what a year it shall be.

Martin Garrix – Various Tracks That Most Folks Of His Ilk Would Shovel Together Into Something Explicitly Labelled (And Unfit For Consumption) As An Album

This week, Martin Garrix dethroned Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to top the 20th annual Top 100 DJs poll from DJ Mag. Does this either mean or signify anything of great importance? Not in the slightest. Daft Punk, an iconic French house duo that has inspired countless youngsters and been credited on just one track in the past three years and hasn’t toured since 2007, came 72nd. Steve Aoki, whose gimmicks are chucking cakes and collaborating with Linkin Park, came seventh. This nonsense, which some continue to revere, is merely a contest to see who has the best knack of pestering their Facebook following into chucking names into arbitrary textboxes (or, in some cases, employing people to walk around festival sites with iPads).

Instead, let’s focus on something far more interesting: on the day that earlier messages had implied would bring a debut album, Garrix brought out his seventh track of the week. Should you choose to stick them all together in a playlist with recent chart-adored singles ‘In The Name Of Love’ and ‘Don’t Look Down’ (alongside Bebe Rexha and Usher respectively) and other more niche collaborations, you’ll hear a much better debut record than those of many similar producers thanks to the evident maturity in his sound since the tacky ‘Animals’ era of teenage crimes, even without the pretences of structure and reason floating around. In a genre and culture where all you get is a drop or two before rushing onto the next shot, why bother with anything else?

Also, one of the new ones is joyously named ‘WIEE.’

The Knocks feat. Sam Nelson Harris – ‘Heat’

You may remember a piece of mine back in December that hailed Justin Bieber’s Purpose as the third-best album of 2015 and I stand by it. Yet, when its global tour hit the UK recently, his stumbling calamity of a V Festival performance demonstrated that there was only one reason to be in the arena: supporting act The Knocks. New York’s finest nu-disco duo put out 55 earlier this year, with splendid moments that showcased Wyclef Jean, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Alex Newell, before flipping five tracks into a self-remix EP named 55.5. ‘Heat,’ the first track since, features Sam Nelson Harris of X Ambassadors and will have to tide me over until the dream of a headline show from JPatt and B-Roc on these shores comes to funky fruition.

Selected Other Releases

Albums

Agnes Obel – Citizen Of Glass
American Football – American Football
Cakes Da Killa – Hedonism
Crystal Fighters – Everything Is My Family
Far East Movement – Identity
Gigamesh – Time Travel
Goldwash – LDR EP
Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
Kero Kero Bonito – Bonito Generation
Korn – The Serenity Of Suffering
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
Lost Frequencies – Less Is More
Melanie C – Version Of Me
Michael Bublé – Nobody But Me
NxWorries – Yes Lawd!
Saint Motel – Saint Motelevision
Savoy Motel – Savoy Motel
Sia – This Is Acting (Deluxe Version)
The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For

Singles

Alesso – ‘Take My Breath Away’
Alex Da Kid feat. X Ambassadors, Elle King & Wiz Khalifa – ‘Not Easy’
Austra – ‘Utopia’
Autolaser – ‘OffOffOff’
Bonzai – ‘Cruel’
Busted – ‘Easy’
Calvin Harris – ‘My Way’ (Offaiah Remix)
Dragonette – ‘Body 2 Body’
Flume feat. Tove Lo – ‘Say It’ (Clean Bandit Remix)
Frances – ‘Under Our Feet’
Geovarn – ‘4am’
Icona Pop – ‘Brightside’
Jai Wolf feat. MNDR – ‘Like It’s Over’
James Arthur – ‘Remember Who I Was’
Jamie Cullum – ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat’
Justice – ‘Alakazam!’
Kungs feat. Ephemerals – ‘I Feel So Bad’
Lao Ra – ‘Bang Boom’
Little Mix – ‘Shout Out To My Ex’
Peking Duk feat. Elliphant – ‘Stranger’
Rejjie Snow – ‘Pink Beetle’
Robbie Williams – ‘Love My Life’
Sundara Karma – ‘Olympia’
The Rolling Stones – ‘Hate To See You Go’
Tkay Maidza – ‘Stimulation’

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Official email person, rambly music writer, and former Records Editor at The Edge. Often found playing pop music too loud on Surge Radio.

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