All good things must come to an end, and so probably should my questionable attempts at bringing you the best and worst of new music every Friday morning. Writing This Week In Records at times that have more often than not been unreasonably close to 3am every(ish) week since July has been one of the highlights of the last 12 months, and now the time has come for me to hand the reins to Meg Holland to take this into the next 12 months. Fortunately, this week’s batch is a little bonanza of everyone I could possibly want to release new things, including ODESZA putting out another two tracks to go with the news of September’s LP3 A Moment Apart, Arcade Fire and Coldplay each teasing their upcoming projects with new singles that really make me want to see them live, Dizzee Rascal going back to the land of grime in a move that I would have predicted successfully had I finished my Wild Life review by now, Martin Solveig picking up ALMA for one of those tracks that’s going to be stuck in my head all summer even if it’s incredibly under par compared to the 2011 album of his that I had to visit Nürnberg to purchase, and two new Mura Masa tracks in a glorious free download pack. There’s also the stuff I’ve written actual sentences about, including The Killers re-emerging after five years of nothing but Christmas songs and some annoying people who think I’ve got all night to write these things. For one final time, I’m glad I do.
Should you need me, I’ll be
watching Great Escape highlights in the hope of spotting myself looking quite awkward repeatedly listening to ‘Cut To The Feeling’ very loudly actually doing useful things in life and my degree handling emails over at firstname.lastname@example.org to bring exciting things like interviews to these pages, but keep that music coming in as is traditional over on email@example.com.
Wolf Alice – ‘Yuk Foo’
Everything Everything – ‘Can’t Do’
The Killers – ‘The Man’
George Ezra – ‘Don’t Matter Now’
Sälen – ‘So Rude’
After a lovely few months of Mistajam keeping things rather toasty on BBC Radio 1 five times a week, Annie Mac timed her return from maternity leave with a simply ridiculous string of Hottest Records this week. With ‘Yuk Foo,’ a raucous two-and-a-bit minutes labelled by spoonerism that took me far too long to notice, Wolf Alice turns up the heat for September’s Visions Of A Life with Ellie Rowsell exploring new levels of inescapable roar (“I wanna fuck all the people I meet / Fuck all my friends and all the people in the street / ‘Cause you bore me / You bore me to death”). With ‘Can’t Do,’ Everything Everything picks up right where it left off with 2015’s exemplary Get To Heaven ahead of A Fever Dream in August. With ‘The Man,’ The Killers (who I like very much) confuse me heavily by doing stomping, glamorous funky things (which I like very much) in a way I’m really not sure how to comprehend. With ‘Don’t Matter Now,’ George Ezra exists.
Also here is ‘So Rude,’ the new single from Sälen premiered on Wednesday’s show not long after that Killers return. Whilst playing the Vevo stage at The Great Escape last month in a set that both started and finished with this very good whale-clad song, vocalist Ellie Kamio said the video for their new single (which she also said would be the also-great ‘I Am Champagne,’ so don’t get too excited yet) would feature CGI broccoli sprouting from her arm. That concept alone makes them one of the most beguiling electropop ensembles out there today.
Lorde – Melodrama
One of my favourite Spotify playlists holds nothing but incredible tracks that open albums. Since I created it last February, only four things have joined the likes of Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, and Todd Terje in it: The xx‘s ‘Dangerous’ (I See You), Day Wave‘s ‘Something Here’ (The Days We Had), Dua Lipa‘s ‘Genesis’ (Dua Lipa), and now Lorde‘s ‘Green Light.’ When she tours Melodrama in the UK in September and October, there’s a very strong chance that I won’t have made it to the rest of the album beforehand because I’ll press play, last four minutes, and then hit repeat to scream at the top of my lungs over its pianos once more. In that respect, Melodrama is a brilliant album. It also comes with nine other songs that Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and fun. and Taylor Swift‘s 1989 had a hand in, so it probably stands a good chance of getting even better if you can ‘Sober’ up.
Jax Jones feat. Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don – ‘Instruction’
In my first week of TWIR, a long-dormant man named Jax Jones (or, according to Wikipedia, Timucin Fabian Kwong Wah Aluo) finally released a track in ‘House Work’ that would give him a UK top 100 record without the shadow or clout of Duke Dumont after three years of trying. Then came December and a little track called ‘You Don’t Know Me’ that you might be familiar with. At the time, I was skeptical: largely, it was the very brilliant RAYE singing over Booka Shade and M.A.N.D.Y.’s ‘Body Language’ rather than anything with Jones’ obvious flair on show. Then it became the biggest song in the country if you ignore Ed Sheeran. For RAYE at least when I spoke to her in February, it had gone a little bit mad.
Were you anticipating that level of success, especially so quickly? It’s only been out since mid-December.
No, no. Nobody thought Jax was gonna do that. I didn’t even think it was going to do that. I mean, we were drunk and having a wild time in the studio, wrote the song, didn’t think anything of it. I just knew that I loved it. I didn’t think it was pop enough to work.
It’s a very striking bassline, taken from Booka Shade and M.A.N.D.Y.’s ‘Body Language.’
Ironically, Jax put the bassline on after we’d written the song, so I heard that after and was like “ah, this works!” It was almost like the music was really hooky, the hook was really repetitive, and I think Jax put that finishing touch on and made it, you know, sick.
What’s it like working in the studio with folks like Jax?
Yeah, it’s great – so much fun. I had the hook idea before I came in and then I just sung it to him and he was like “yeah.” I was there with a girl called JinJin as well – and she’s amazing – and we were all just like friends getting on. We weren’t really trying to write a song, we were just having fun.
Now she’s put out ‘The Line,’ his follow-up picks up another buzzworthy British urban artist who I’ve seen live twice this year in Stefflon Don, but the core of ‘Instruction’ is Demi Lovato trying to ignite a carnival with a dance lesson. I’d pick at bits now but it’s going to be literally everywhere so I may as well wind to the left and sway to the right.
Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Royal Blood‘s self-titled bow of 2014 is one that somehow largely eluded me – it wasn’t until they recorded ‘Where Are You Now?‘ for HBO series Vinyl that I knowingly listened to Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher make glorious amounts of news from a bass guitar and a drum kit. This time around, there’s no escape: lead single ‘Lights Out’ is a stomping sample of their radio-suitable rock ways, and latest pre-release cut ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ picks up the second its predecessor pauses for breath to complete a bold opening stanza led by title track ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’
Calvin Harris feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – ‘Feels’
DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – ‘Wild Thoughts’
Look, you know the drill: certain people in the music industry seem to think they’re better than time zones so decide to release their music at one time globally that always happens to be tailored to the American audience. For Calvin Harris, I can forgive this somewhat: though he is a serial offender when it comes to this sort of thing, anything that makes Katy Perry‘s music even slightly palatable whilst reminding me of the imminent 10th birthday of his debut album I Created Disco – you know, the one with one track (‘Vault Character’) that was eight seconds long and once my most-played song on iTunes and opened (‘Merrymaking At My Place’) with lyrics about inviting people into his house to go in through the back of his house and “smoke chuff” outside of his house – is most certainly A Good Thing™.
DJ Khaled, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. Having been aware of his existence since the days of ‘All I Do Is Win’ and ‘I’m On One,’ it’s only been the last 18 months of getting incessantly irked by his Snapchat presence that I’ve become familiar with the inner workings of the man born Khaled Khaled. Rather than an actual musician, he seems to be just the kind of person that everybody in the hip-hop industry knows, likes, and worries about crossing for fear of being exposed to the perilous threat of THEY, the mysterious opponent to the success that Khaled so famously and opulently suffers from, not to be confused with THEY.. It’s that power – not any kind of prowess with, you know, actually making – that’s given him nine albums with a total of 364 features.
His first record since the live-on-Snapchat birth of his son Asahd, when Grateful drops in full next Friday it’ll increase that tally by another 49. So far, we’ve had Beyoncé sing a fairly decent hook before Jay Z did… something that I can’t quite remember (‘Shining’), a Bieber-anchored chart-topping ode to self-aggrandisement that relied on the most basic chord progression and bassline loop to lay five minutes of foundations for featured artists Quavo, Chance The Rapper, Lil Wayne, Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen (‘I’m The One’), and Drake being Drake around some “lit” “youngins” and a sample of T2‘s ‘Heartbroken,’ the success of which signified the end of garage as a thing of note back in 2007 (‘To The Max’). Each one (and the record itself) comes with a smiling picture of Asahd, who served as executive producer of the whole thing by doing normal baby things like gurgling and shitting. Seriously.
(While we’re in a YouTube rabbit hole, here’s a video of Khaled talking about how ‘I’m The One’ came together.)
- Tiller’s verse led to this annotation: “Bryson’s ‘pipe,’ or penis, makes her run incredibly fast.”
- It references Adam Sandler movies 100% more than any song should reference Adam Sandler movies.
- It samples Santana.
- “I hope you know I’m for the takin’ / You know this cookie is for the baking, ugh” is apparently a line that translates to Rihanna both being high and aroused rather than doing a Mary Berry impersonation.
- It’s about the sex.
And that’s quite enough of that.
2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Selected Other Releases
Alison Moyet – Other
Beth Ditto – Fake Sugar
Big Boi – Boomiverse
Clea – Fairweather EP
Denai Moore – We Used To Bloom
Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
Goldie – The Journey Man
Hey Violet – From The Outside
Nickelback – Feed The Machine
Portugal. The Man – Woodstock
Songhoy Blues – Résistance
Terror Jr – Bop City 2: TerroRising
The Drums – Abysmal Thoughts
Action Bronson – ‘Let Me Breathe’
AJ Tracey feat. Swoosh & Sloan Evans – ‘LA4AWEEK’
Amber-Simone – ‘Taught Me Better’
Aminé – ‘Turf’
Arcade Fire – ‘Creature Comfort’
Bicep – ‘Aura’
Blonde feat. Astrid S – ‘Just For One Night’
Chlöe Howl – ‘Magnetic’
Coldplay – ‘All I Can Think About Is You’
Danny Byrd – ‘JAM’
Dizzee Rascal – ‘Space’
Eliza – ‘Wide Eyed Fool’
Eliza And The Bear – ‘Higher’
Fabich feat. Josh Barry – ‘Hold On’
Fickle Friends – ‘Glue’
Gordi – ‘Heaven I Know’
Icona Pop – ‘Girls Girls’
Imagine Dragons – ‘Walking The Wire’
Isaac Gracie – ‘All In My Mind’
Kyle – ‘Nothing 2 Lose’
Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey – ‘Glorious’
Majid Jordan feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR – ‘One I Want’
Matthew Koma – ‘Suitcase’
Mura Masa – ‘Wave’ / ‘Sole M8s’
Nosaj Thing feat. Steve Spacek – ‘All Points Back To U’
ODESZA – ‘Meridian’
ODESZA feat. RY X – ‘Corners Of The Earth’
Owl City – ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’
Pharrell Williams – ‘There’s Something Special’
Prince – ‘Father’s Song’
PVRIS – ‘What’s Wrong’
Russ Chimes – ‘Clara’
Queens Of The Stone Age – ‘The Way You Used To Do’
Sage The Gemini – ‘Reverse’
Shania Twain – ‘Life’s About To Get Good’
Steve Aoki feat. Lil Yachty & Migos – ‘Night Call’
The Horrors – ‘Machine’
The Japanese House – ‘3/3’
Tom Walker – ‘Heartland’
Toro Y Moi – ‘Girl Like You’
Washed Out – ‘Hard To Say Goodbye’
Wild Front – ‘Physics’
Yungen feat. Yxng Bane – ‘Bestie’
Zak Abel – ‘All I Ever Do (Is Say Goodbye)’
This Week In Records: Playlist Edition
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