This Week in Records (02/11/2020) – Ariana Grande, Sam Smith and The Avalanches

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Another week goes by, which means another load of new tracks for me to rant about. What a week! We’ve got a new Ariana Grande album (yuh), a new Sam Smith album, AND new The Avalanches, Jake Bugg and Busta Rhymes, just to name a few. Here are my thoughts on this week’s newest tunes.

TUNE OF THE WEEK: Sam Smith – ‘Young’

As the opener to an album, you can’t do much better than ‘Young’. It might be simple, but god damn is it stunning.

‘Young’ is solely Sam Smith’s vocals, no backing track, no backing singers, just pure Smith. Different vocals at varying pitches are layered over one another, making it seem as though there are a thousand Sam Smith’s singing at once, creating a beautiful, chorus effect. If you’re a fan of Muse, it’s an effect akin to the track ‘Drones’ from their album of the same name, creating that same ethereal, otherworldly feeling when one is listening to it.

The lyrics of ‘Young’ themselves contradict the quiet sounds of the track, implying a quiet peace with oneself. Smith sings of wanting to break away from ‘feeling so used’, and arguing all that want to do is ”Get a little wild// Get a little high// Kiss a hundred boys// And not feel like I’m tired to them// If you wanna judge me then go and load the gun// I’ve done nothing wrong// I’m young”. It’s that relatable, chaotic free feeling after a breakup, that feeling that nothing else matters anymore so you can just do what you want, regardless of what other people may think. It feels slightly manic but is something that most people can understand. It’s quiet simplicity and relatability is what makes me love it so much.

‘Young’ is available to listen to now via Universal Music.

Sam Smith – Love Goes

I might just be a little bit in love with Sam Smith after the release of Love Goes. Or at the very least want to give them a big hug.

I’ll save all my raving and rantings for my full review of the album, which you can check out through the link above. Overall, however, the album is just heart-wrenchingly beautiful, sad without being too melancholy, and catchy enough that the message of the piece doesn’t feel lost or muddled. Despite being centered on a seemingly overdone topic, Sam Smith manages to catch it in a new light, all wrapped up nicely in a mixture of dance and soft-pop. Well worth a listen.

Love Goes is available to listen to now via Universal Music. Check out ‘Dancing with a Stranger’ down below.

Ariana Grande – Positions

Ariana Grande sent stan Twitter into meltdown this week with the surprise release of her sixth studio album, Positions. Going in with high hopes, I’m sad to say that I was disappointed with the whole LP.

To put it bluntly, the entire album sounds the same. Each song melts into the other, and not to a positive effect; I’m always down for an album that flows well, but Positions flows so well that you can’t differentiate between when one song ends and another starts. It’s like one long, jumbled track, with the occasional Grande-isms thrown in. Of course, Grande’s vocals shine through, but not in the way that I personally enjoy. She opts for a more low, smooth and sultry tone, rather than showcasing her whistle tone and 4-octave wide vocal range. Say, for instance, comparing her vocals on 2018’s ‘raindrops (an angel cried)’ off of Sweetener to Positions’ ‘shut up’; there is just no comparison, the latter falls flat and disappointing, and the same can be said for the rest of the album. Grande just simply does not play to her strengths.

In terms of the sameness of the album, there’s seemingly no variation between tracks, besides collaborations. I found myself returning to ‘motive’ and ‘off the table’ often, but I’m unsure whether that was because I genuinely enjoyed the songs, or because they felt different due to the addition of features from Doja Cat and The Weeknd. The tracks on Positions all focus on the same topic: sex, sex and more sex. Sure, a few sexy songs are great, but not for an entire 14 track album. I’m all for sexual confidence, but the whole thing got so boring after a while, and I found myself just waiting for the album to end.

Positions is available to listen to now via Republic Records. Check out its title track down below.

The Avalanches ft. Leon Bridges – ‘Interstellar Love’

Leon Bridges and The Avalanches all in one track? Sign me up.

Back with another spacey psychedelic tune, this time with the addition of Leon Bridges, The Avalanches just keep releasing great vibey songs. The latest single from their upcoming album, We Will Always Love You, is inspired by the Voyager Golden Record, a disc sent out into space aboard both voyager space crafts in 1977 containing a multitude of aspects of human culture, in the hopes that some other lifeform out there will encounter it and get a glimpse into humanity. During the creation of said disc, renowned astronomer Carl Sagan and creative director Ann Druyan, who were both the key leaders of the project, met and fell in love, staying married until Druyan’s death in 1996. Their relationship, and its subconscious contribution to the feelings pushed through the Golden Record project, has been the subject of numerous moments in popular culture; one of which being this song.

As someone who’s massively interested in space, and a fan of The Avalanches and Leon Bridges, this song is a match made in heaven.

‘Interstellar Love’ is available to listen to now via Modular Recordings.

Jake Bugg – ‘All I Need’

Jake Bugg’s newest song, ‘All I Need’, is, in a phrase, bloody fantastic. It’s got a cracking beat behind it, with some heavy drums and accompanying clapping, and a brilliant rhythmic delivery from Bugg himself.

Twangy strings help open the track, breaking for a second for a choir to jump in behind Bugg’s vocals, and that’s when the song really gets going. It’s irresistible to tap your foot along to, and is massively engaging, to the point that if you close your eyes, you can almost imagine what it looks like whilst it’s being performed; Bugg in a spotlight on a stage, clapping his hands as the choir rise up behind him in all their glory. It’s near-enough cinematic.

Bugg’s signature Nottingham twang is accompanied by a spirited choir, making the song even more hard-hitting. It feels celebratory, like that feeling post an important revelation; this is especially prevalent since Bugg nearly quit his music career a few years back. His journey throughout his time in the industry has been a rough one, but ‘All I Need’ feels like a promise of sorts to keep going and keep trying.

‘All I Need’ is available to listen to now via Sony Music.

Other Selected Releases

SINGLES

Dua Lipa ft. Angele – ‘Fever’

Paloma Faith – ‘Gold’

Kawala – ‘Pure Desire’

Black Honey – ‘I Like The Way You Die’

Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Ramona’

Liam Payne – ‘Naughty List’

Steps – ‘Something in Your Eyes’

H.E.R. – ‘Hold On’

Against the Current – ‘that won’t save us’

Busta Rhymes ft. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’

ALBUMS

Bring Me The Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror

Dizzee Rascal – E3 AF

Camelphat – Dark Matter

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 this week’s biggest releases, so just sit back and listen to the good stuff. Updated every Friday.

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records editor 2020/21 !! 3rd year film and english student. can be often found arguing about costuming in the avenue cafe or crying into a beefy novel in hartley

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