It’s certainly been a while since we had such a busy week in music, but heading on to Spotify on Friday morning, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of new releases, from names both big and small, waiting in my Release Radar playlist. It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally heard the new, 80-minute epic from The 1975 which was divisive to say the least. Lady Gaga has teamed up with Ariana Grande to make waves in the world of pop, and IDLES are back, ahead of LP number 3. Don’t forget the alternative treasures, either – there are plenty to go around.
The 1975 – Notes On A Conditional Form
I’m gonna keep this one short with just a summary of how people have found this album. If you want a fantastically in-depth look at Notes On A Conditional Form, you don’t have to go very far – future culture editor Harry Geeves did it best in his review.
But the feedback on this 22-track album have been very mixed. Some hail it as a work of genius, others denounce it as smug and incoherent. What’s important is that fans are happy with the result, and even folks who can’t stand the band have been happily rocking out to ‘People’ (it’s me, I’m folks). It was an ambitious project taken on by Matty and the gang, which didn’t always pay off, but certainly didn’t fall flat.
The 1975’s Notes On A Conditional Form is out now via Dirty Hit.
Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – ‘Rain On Me’
Oh Lady Gaga, you’re always there when we need you. The second, and presumed final single to be released before Chromatica‘s release on the 29th May, sees the reigning Queen of Pop take pride in her struggle, with the knowledge that she can overcome anything – and tells us that we can do the same. Musical and lyrical genius aside, it’s inspiring as hell and exactly what we need to hear right now. Looking into ‘Rain On Me’s sound, we’re transported back to the glory days of Born This Way era Gaga – pure, unadulterated dance pop with a positive message.
I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. From the opening line it was clear that we’re in for something truly glorious with Chromatica, and Friday can’t come soon enough. Her decision to collaborate with Grande was particularly significant – they’re undoubtedly two of the biggest name in pop, and Gaga has always given us the best in collaborations. The music video is just as wonderful as every other part of the song; with expert choreography and magnificent aesthetics, this is instantly-recognisable classic Gaga.
Lady Gaga’s ‘Rain On Me’ featuring Ariana Grande is out now via Interscope Records.
IDLES – ‘Mr Motivator’
And what if pop isn’t your thing, but you also need a musical pick-me-up to get through another week of lockdown? Enter IDLES, with the first single off their upcoming third album. Whether this was supposed to be the first single or not is unclear, but it was the release that everyone needed in these strange times. ‘Mr Motivator’ is exactly what it says on this tin – an inspirational bit of rock to make you feel unstoppable in anything you do. It’s musically similar to previous tracks from the band like the classic ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, with the metaphor-driven lyrics of ‘Colossus’. But this similarity to their previous work definitely isn’t off-putting – in fact, it’s even tongue-in-cheek with lines like “How’d you like them clichés?”. The booming chorus of “Let’s seize the day / All hold hands, chase the pricks away” is the standard IDLES mix of humorous and straight-up motivational that have made them so well-loved by their loyal fans. Definitely one for the workout playlist.
IDLES’ ‘Mr Motivator’ is out now via Partisan Records.
Green Day – ‘Dreaming’
Following on from several weeks of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s ‘No Fun Mondays’ YouTube covers, he’s decided to get the whole band involved with this beautiful cover of Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’, with a music video consisting of some clips of their highlights on tour. It’s Blondie injected with Green Day’s high-energy charm, and Billie Joe has no trouble conveying emotions in his vocals in this one. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics, or the fact that I was supposed to be going to the Hella Mega Tour before Miss Rona said no, but this brought a tear to my eye.
The video is an ode to the beauty of live music, something that we’re all sorely missing right now. Videos of the band rocking out on stage, crowds of excited fans going wild and the lucky few overwhelmed with emotion from being brought on stage with Green Day all hit particularly hard at the moment. But there’s a hopeful message: we can’t stop dreaming about this, and one day we’ll all be back together in a mosh pit.
Green Day’s ‘Dreaming’ is out now via Reprise.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop – ‘Pursuit of Liberty’
Bad Cop/ Bad Cop have never backed away from the heavy topics, and on their new single, they lament current negative attitudes towards immigrants in the USA from a very personal perspective – Linh Le wrote the track about her family’s experience of Vietnam in 1975. Political issues are appearing in music in all corners of the music industry, but few are as personal and so starkly authentic as Bad Cop / Bad Cop’s take. They debuted this song on they’re tour this year, and I can confirm that it plays just as well live. Even through a sense of rightful anger in the song, there’s still a message of hope that we’re all in this together, and that we can fight xenophobia in our society. It sounds like good things are coming in their upcoming album, due to be released this summer.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s ‘Pursuit of Liberty’ is out now via Fat Wreck Chords.
THE HARA – ‘Circus’
THE HARA are one of the most exciting up-and-coming alternative bands in the UK right now, and they’re quickly taking off with their new single ‘Circus’ reaching great heights in the alternative charts. With heavy guitars that build up your anticipation that quickly melts into piano and back again, ‘Circus’ has, like other tracks such as ‘FYI’ and the element of theatricality that makes THE HARA ever more intriguing. No doubt this song will go well with their famous high-energy stage presence that makes them an increasingly big name in alternative rock.
THE HARA’s ‘Circus’ is out now via Sign of the Times Ltd.
Other Selected Releases
Aitch – ‘Raw’
Ellie Goulding – ‘Power’
Foxes – ‘Love Not Loving You’
HAIM – ‘Don’t Wanna’
Inhaler – ‘Falling In’
JC Stewart – ‘I Need You To Hate Me’
Nick Jonas – ‘Until We Meet Again’
Phoebe Bridgers – ‘I See You’
Sia – ‘Together’
Snoop Dogg – ‘I Wanna Go Outside’
Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated Side B
This Week In Records: Playlist Edition
Need a weekly music fix of all the songs you should care about? We’ve made a super handy playlist of all of this week’s biggest releases, so just sit back and listen to the good stuff. Updated every Friday.