This week gave us a great selection of new music. We’ve got a release from Katy Perry, the fourth single from her upcoming album Smile, scheduled to be released this August. Alanis Morisette‘s newest album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road, is just on the horizon, and her latest single ‘Reckoning’ suggests it’s going to be a darn good LP. And, of course, Becky G is back with her latest track, ‘My Man’.
Alongside these woman-led bangers, we’ve also had a few bops from the boys as well. The Streets have FINALLY released None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive, their first mixtape in close to a decade. Eminem and Kid Cudi dropped a surprise track this week, curiously named ‘The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady’, and, of course, king Declan McKenna is back with his newest song, ‘Daniel, You’re Still a Child’. Not to mention, Gerard Way has released a new single ahead of the newest season of The Umbrella Academy, of which he’s a co-creator. There’s been a great variation in releases this last week, and here are my thoughts on a few of them.
TUNE OF THE WEEK: Katy Perry – ‘Smile’
‘Smile’ gives you pretty much everything you want in an upbeat summer tune. Repping that classic Katy Perry self-love and self-confidence, the newest track from Smile is a celebration of yourself. Leading lyrics ‘I’m so faithful/ Scratch that baby I’m grateful/ Gotta say it’s really been a while/ But now I got back that smile’ speak of coming out of a bad place to the positivity on the other side, and just drip with hope for the future. I’m a big fan, I won’t lie- I know this is definitely going to end up on my motivation playlist.
The beat of the song definitely gives me Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk and even a little bit of Panic! At The Disco, with its big horns, catchy guitar and electronic elements. Of course, Perry’s vocals are always great; she’s one of those artists that just knows what works for her, and this song is the perfect example of that, allowing her to show off her charismatic hard-edged voice. ‘Smile’ is happy and celebratory, without being too in your face; it’s for sure my tune of the week.
‘Smile’ is available to listen to now via Capitol Records.
The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive has been a long time coming; 9 years, to be exact. The Streets have released music in that hiatus, albeit very rarely, but never anything on this scale. The question is, however, does it live up to the legendary tunes of their past?
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive is made up of ‘rap duets’; every track features a guest artist, ranging from indie rock artists like Tame Impala to fellow rap artists like Ms Banks or Jesse James Solomon. I think this honestly is one of the mixtapes biggest strengths; for a comeback album, especially one with a title such as this one, accumulating a bunch of talented artists together to collaborate with is a genius move, as it guides new fans and old ones alike into what the ‘new Streets sound’ sounds like.
The title track is probably my favourite of the whole mixtape; it’s heavy, almost angry and dejected, with vocalist Mike Skinner and guest IDLES speaking of restlessness and finding life unsatisfying. Skinner sings of his distaste at nightlife, finding the clubs and moods of his youth now embarrassing and merely a distraction away from something better. Ending abruptly on a heavy, repeating drum beat, ‘None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive’ is dejected, a step back and reflection of ones own life and that sudden feeling of a need for change, perhaps reminiscent of Skinner’s stepping away from the garage rave scene upon starting The Streets hiatus in 2011.
I will say, None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive is for sure worth a listen, but it’s not The Streets at the best that I’ve seen them, in my opinion. Nonetheless, it’s still a pretty good mixtape.
None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive is available to listen to now via Island Records.
Alanis Morissette – ‘Reckoning’
Alanis Morissette is back and better than ever. ‘Reckoning’, the fourth single from her upcoming album, is a dark, angry ballad, with Morissette calling out all the predators in the world. She mocks their ignorance of their incoming justice, and laments herself being called a ‘liar’ all this time for crying out against their crimes. Powerful, and forever relevant, ‘Reckoning’ speaks not only for those in the music industry that have suffered from abuse but for all victims out there who yearn for justice. It makes me all the more excited for Such Pretty Forks in the Road.
‘Reckoning’ is available to listen to now via RCA.
Becky G – ‘My Man’
In ‘My Man’, Becky G celebrates her love, Sebastian Lletget, with an upbeat, reggae-influenced tune. Warning off other women, she repeatedly sings ‘My man is still my man/ Don’t you misunderstand’, essentially staking her claim over her boyfriend. Becky G fondly laments that her other half can sometimes be ‘stupid, foolish, crazy’, but that she loves him anyway. ‘My Man’ is catchy and cheesy, which is sometimes exactly what you need from a pop lovesong.
‘My Man’ is available now via Kemosabe Records.
Bon Jovi – ‘American Reckoning’
Bon Jovi might have been at their biggest with their string of hits in the 80s and 90s, but they’re still producing great music today. ‘American Reckoning’ is one such song. A protest piece voicing the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi laments that ‘he’ll never know what it’s like/ To walk in his (George Floyd) shoes’ but that it’s his, and everyone else’s, responsibility to ‘use our voices’ to remember victims of racism and carry their memory on. Accompanied by a pretty kickass harmonica solo midway through, ‘American Reckoning’ questions the racist past of America, and how we can move onto a better future, asking whether the history ‘written in blood’ can change to one ‘written in love’ instead.
‘American Reckoning’ is available to listen to now via Island Records.
Gerard Way ft. Judith Hill – ‘Here Comes the End’
Okay so, to start with, I feel like I have to say that I am the BIGGEST Gerard Way fan, so maybe this little snippet review is mildly biased. Following the tradition started from last year’s premiere of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, Way has released yet another single ahead of the newest season, set to come out on July 15th. Perhaps aptly named ‘Here Comes the End’ (the newest season will centre on the end of the world), the song is a rock, twangy banger, and unlike previous Umbrella Academy singles, is an original.
‘Here Comes the End’ is available now via Reprise Records.
Other Selected Releases
Neon Trees- ‘Mess Me Up’
The Rolling Stones – ‘Criss Cross’
Sufjan Stevens – ‘My Rajneesh’
Blackbear – ‘Queen of Broken Hearts’
Travis – ‘Valentine’
Zara Larsson – ‘Love Me Land’
Juice WRLD ft. Halsey – ‘Life’s a Mess’
Joshua Burnside – ‘And You Evade Him/ Born in the Blood’
Courteeners ft. Blossoms – ‘Please Don’t (in isolation)’
Seasick Steve – ‘Church of Me’
Joshua Burnside – ‘And You Evade Him/ Born in the Blood’
Summer Walker – Life of Earth EP
The Jayhawks – XOXO
Mike Shinoda – Dropped Frames; VOL. 1
Rufus Wainright – Unfollow the Rules
DMA’s – The Glow
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.