Hello again! Sorry for the absence of This Week In Records last weekend, but I was in a muddy park in Glasgow watching the Cure play a mammoth set for over two hours, so I’m not that sorry. This week, it’s all about the albums with the highly anticipated Lover from Taylor Swift and a whole pile of artists appearing in soundtrack form. In singles, we have the latest release from Lana Del Rey from her upcoming album as well as The 1975 and some punk from The Menzingers. That should make up for a missing week!
Taylor Swift – Lover
I’ve been out here for years talking about how bland Taylor Swift’s music is, but consider this album my official change of heart. I’ve been put off in the past by all of the drama present in Reputation, but with the release of Lover it’s clear that T-Swift is back to singing about good old wholesome love, in a pure pop record with some of the loveliest songs we’ve heard from the singer in a while. It’s really taking her back to her creative height.
The album opens on ‘I Forgot That You Existed’, a track that shows that Taylor has really moved past the drama of the last couple of years. Where Reputation was perhaps overly embracing the shade, Lover is a much more likeable album that shows complete indifference to online drama – a refreshing theme when it seems that everyone wants to throw shade at each other in their music these days.
I woke up on Friday to mixed reviews about ‘The Man’ on Twitter, but honestly I think it’s a fantastic song. She’s been criticised for a long time for singing about things that wouldn’t be a problem if she was, well, a man. It’s endearing to see the singer own her power and realise her worth in this anthem. “Every conquest I had made would make me more of a boss to you” shows the anger towards the double standards of the music industry – she knows that she’s just as powerful as anyone else and that she’s more than earned her place in the world of pop.
‘London Boy’ has the potential to be cheesy and sickening; but it’s cute and wholesome, and quite frankly she doesn’t deserve to be mocked for it. In this track Taylor practices her British slang in a romantic ode to her own ‘London Boy’ and it’s a cute piece of pure pop. Although there are still elements of Lover that haven’t won me over completely (I’m not a big fan of ‘You Need To Calm Down’), the album is an endearing and refreshing addition to 2019 pop.
Taylor Swift’s Lover is out now via Taylor Swift. Watch the music video for ‘Lover’ below:
Various Artists – 13 Reasons Why (Season 3)
Disclaimer: I don’t actually like 13 Reasons Why and never got past season one, but there’s a sweet line-up of artists in the soundtrack for the new season so I figured it would make sense to talk about it. So basically if any of these songs have a deep meaning alongside the season three plotlines, I’m not going to have a clue, so bear with me here.
Let’s first of all look at the new releases. 5 Seconds of Summer have released ‘Teeth’ for the series. It sounds a little darker than what we’re used to from the band – I’m not fully sold on the vocals in this track but the chorus is pretty addictive. YUNGBLUD brings ‘Die A Little’ to the soundtrack, a much more subdued but equally dark track. It’s a nice song, but the general theme here is that the newer artists they’ve bagged this season are trying too hard to emulate the soundtracks of previous seasons – think Joy Division and The Cure. In any case, these artists don’t really sound like themselves.
Another contributor which has had people talking is Charli XCX with ‘Miss U’. This song sounds more true to the artist – it isn’t trying too hard to be as dark as possible and it sounds like she has stayed true to herself in writing this song for the show.
Elsewhere on the soundtrack you can find previously released songs from both established and up-and-coming artists, and one that stands out to me is ‘Still Want To Be Here’ by Frightened Rabbit. The link is obvious – the show is first and foremost about suicide, and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison tragically took his life last year. But the choice becomes a little questionable when you think about how harshly 13 Reasons Why has been criticised for its poor representation of the serious theme – many may see this as an insensitive choice, as with the Joy Division songs which have previously featured in the series.
The 13 Reasons Why (Season 3) Soundtrack is out now via Paramount Pictures / Interscope Records. Season 3 airs on 23 August on Netflix.
The 1975 – ‘People’
After the last self-titled release from The 1975 featuring teenage climate activist Great Thunberg, people were a little puzzled by what we should expect from the upcoming Notes on a Conditional Form. And let me tell you, ‘People’ doesn’t answer that question in the slightest!
It appears that The 1975 are putting across some important social themes in the upcoming record so it’s unsurprising that they’ve chosen a harsh punk sound to convey it, but it’s so far from what we expected that no one knows what’s coming on the next album. Matt Healy screams his heart out at us to “wake up” but whether or not they execute the point effectively is a whole other question – Deputy Editor Theo Smith puts it best in his full length review here.
The 1975’s ‘People’ is out now via Dirty Hit.
Lana Del Rey – ‘Fuck It, I Love you’
With every release ahead of Norman Fucking Rockwell, I get more and more excited about this album. I think the world needs to hear from Queen Lana. We were actually given two tracks from the sad-pop singer, ‘Fuck It, I love you’ and ‘The Greatest’, and although I’ve never personally been hyped about her albums there is plenty of high hopes about this one.
The song begins with “I like to see everything in neon” – a reference to the strong aesthetics that always appear in her songs (a personal favourite aspect of her songwriting). However, here she seems to take a step back from this persona to sing more about real feelings – in a very similar way to Marina and the Diamonds on her latest album. My one main setback is the mixing and softness of the vocals; Lana Del Rey has a beautiful, vintage vocal style but this song doesn’t show it off.
She also released ‘The Greatest’ that opens on her classic typical sound, but it also maintains the same vocal issues as ‘Fuck It, I love you’. However, it’s the music that you want when you hear Lana Del Rey, sounding like classic Hollywood and long sad summers, driven by piano and just a hint of guitar. On the other hand, I’m staring to question the mixing and vocal styles that we’re going to hear in the upcoming record, but nonetheless we have every reason to be excited.
Lana Del Rey’s ‘Fuck it I love you’ is out now via Universal Music.
The Menzingers – ‘America (You’re Freaking Me Out)’
The Menzingers have been making their name for a long time in the punk scene, and they’ve been busy this year – ‘America’ is their third single of the year and they’ve already announced a UK tour for February next year (which includes Southampton!), so it’s likely we’ll be hearing more from them in the coming months.
It’s a typically heavy sound that The Menzingers are loved for and like most punk bands today (including The 1975 apparently), things get political when they sing “What kind of monsters did our parents vote for?”. t’s an important message but isn’t quite as powerful as what we’ve heard from other bands in the genre.
The Menzinger’s ‘America (You’re Freaking Me Out)’ is out now via Epitaph.
Other Selected Releases
Elbow – ‘Empires’
Lewis Watson – ‘Fly When I Fall’
Sea Girls – ‘Violet’
BROCKHAMPTON – GINGER
Headie One – Music x Road
Missy Elliot – ICONOLOGY EP
The Night Café – 0151
This Week In Records: Playlist Edition
Help yourself to a taste of all the lovely albums out this week, plus all the new tracks that we think you’d love. Follow our playlist for the best new releases, updated every Friday.