It’s officially 2021, which is a terrifying but somewhat hopeful concept. Here’s some of the tracks that we were obsessed with as we came into the new year!
ALBUM: Lizzy McAlpine – Give Me A Minute
One of my favourite records of last year is Lizzy McAlpine‘s Give Me A Minute, a tender, sometimes gloomy, catalogue of a singer-songwriter in the throes of heartache. It’s repeatedly found its way back into my listening since it came out in August and stands out from its saturated genre thanks to McAlpine’s beautiful, pillowy vocals and lyrics which rival Phoebe Bridgers in their specificity. Warm production and soft performances also line Give Me A Minute with a muted, sometimes stirring, sonic palette through which Lizzy is able to shine. Any fans of indie folk or singer-songwriter music should get on this one.
Give Me a Minute is available to listen to now. Check out ‘Pancakes for Dinner’ down below.
SONG: The Pretty Reckless – ‘Death By Rock and Roll’
In anticipation of their upcoming album Death by Rock and Roll, which is set for release on February 12th, I’ve been listening to the title track from The Pretty Reckless non-stop. It feels like we’ve been missing some of that hard rock style from our lives recently, and there’s nothing better to make you feel more rock and roll than the legendary Taylor Momsen. Considering Momsen is only 27, she’s got one of my favourite voices in the rock scene, with her incredible vocals making any song from the band sound like a classic that you’ve known for years. ‘Death By Rock and Roll’ is a real treat, allowing you to cast yourself back to days at festivals and gigs with strong guitar riffs from Ben Phillips and fast-paced rhythms from Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums) adding that needed element of excitement to life. Whenever I listen to the track I can imagine myself at Download Festival, surrounded by biker leather and rockers. If you’re looking for a tune to give you that much-needed boost on a Monday morning then ‘Death by Rock and Roll’ is the one to help!
‘Death By Rock and Roll’ is available to listen to via Goin’ Down. Check out the lyric video below.
SONG: Foo Fighters – ‘Waiting on a War’
As someone who listens to a range of music genres any and all hours of the day, it’s a rare occasion that I become addicted to one song in particular. Yet in January of this year, Foo Fighters released the single ‘Waiting on a War’ from their tenth album Medicine at Midnight, and it is no exaggeration to say that I have a listened to it non-stop. With a mostly acoustic vibe, this song seems to have a more sombre tone than the other songs from Medicine at Midnight. The relaxed guitar riff lulls the listener into a false sense of security as the second half builds to a crescendo of energy-fuelled rock commonly associated with Foo Fighters. Although ‘Waiting on a War’ is highly politicised, this doesn’t detract from the song itself. The relatability of the lyrics referring to a dark future only adds to the listening experience — an experience I would highly recommend.
‘Waiting on a War’ is available to listen to now via Roswell Records. Check it out down below.
SONG: Lindsey Stirling ft. Mako – ‘Lose You Now’
When it comes to exam season, it’s no surprise that Lindsey Stirling‘s discography makes up the majority of my revision playlists. And it just so happened that in January, she released a new single titled ‘Lose You Now’. Even though her most recent album Artemis was released in 2019, its work continues to inspire new creations.
The video is littered with easter eggs of people Stirling herself has lost, and it’s beautiful. The human touch is there throughout, and the engrained message comes across even stronger for it. The video’s slow-motion shots are gorgeous, and you can sit there rewatching it over and over again. And I recommend that you do, it’s entirely worth the three and a half minutes.
Just like a lot of her work, the song is one you can play over and over again, appealing to all of the emotions you need it to – with the powerful beat of the bass and her violin giving the strength and uplift from a song constructed around melancholy and lasting memories.
‘Lose You Now’ is available to listen to via Lindseystomp Records.
ALBUM: Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts
I’ll admit, it took a bit of time for this album to properly grow on me, and I still retain that the first half is a lot better than the latter (bar the impeccable covers and remixes that close the record), but Plastic Hearts has really stolen all my attention this last month. Rife with amazing collaborations (Joan Jett, Billy Idol, STEVIE NICKS?? I mean COME ON) and a refreshing badass ‘I don’t care what people think of me’ honest attitude from Miley Cyrus, Plastic Hearts is truly a great rock-pop album. It takes up pretty much all my top listened to tracks on Spotify for the last month, and honestly I’m not mad about it. It’s the 2020 glam rock album I’ve been dreaming of, giving me Runaways, Blondie and Depeche Mode vibes, as well as a sprinkling of Twisted Sister and KISS. I really hope that Miley continues down this sound root, because it’s got to be the area that in my opinion suits her most so far; her bright blonde mullet and red lipstick is also a LOOK, giving me major Debbie Harry vibes. Favourites from the album include the eponymous track ‘Plastic Hearts’, glam rock bangers ‘WTF Do I Know?’, ‘Night Crawling’, ‘Gimme What I Want’, and ‘Midnight Sky’, as well as the albums lead single, ‘Prisoner’. The covers of ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Zombie’ also deserve all the attention. My number one track, however, has got to be ‘Edge of Midnight’, a remix of ‘Midnight Sky’ mashed up with Stevie Nicks’ iconic banger ‘Edge of Seventeen’. I’m a massive Fleetwood and Nicks fan, so obviously I’m biased, but the songs work beautifully together, creating a perfect feminist powerful woman anthem. All in all, it’s a brilliant album, perfect for headbanging and screaming along to.
Plastic Hearts is available to listen to now via RCA Records. Check out ‘Edge of Midnight’ down below.
ALBUM: Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
Jessie Ware‘s What’s Your Pleasure? was released to huge critical acclaim last year, but for some reason I completely missed it at the time. However, I’m grateful that I can appreciate it in all its glory now, although to be honest I’ve found myself hooked on the same few songs. Its soulful, joyous disco sound would have been perfect in a club alongside the likes of Future Nostalgia and Chromatica (in a COVID-free parallel universe, of course), with the title track, ‘Save a Kiss’ and ‘Spotlight’ standing out as dancey, glamorous pop songs. However, the highlight has to be Ware’s latest single, ‘Remember Where You Are’, which closes the album on a triumphant but chilled-out high. The stunning, gospel-like harmonies contrast the pretty bleak lyrics telling us that ‘the heart of the city is on fire’, but she tells us all hope has not been lost. There are some proper bangers that shine out on this album, and with Jessie Ware hopefully coming to see us on tour at O2 Southampton Guildhall in December, listening to these tracks has offered some great escapism from the strange reality of 2021 so far.
What’s Your Pleasure? is available to listen to now via Universal Music. Check out ‘Remember Where You Are’ down below.