This Week in Records (17/5/2021) – Years and Years, Orville Peck and Olivia Rodrigo

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Uni is drawing to a close, and Summer is finally starting; and with it comes a whole bunch of new tunes. There’s a big variation this week, with a mournful, theatrical piece from Years and Years, some country music, alt-pop and a dash of indie-folk. Keep reading to hear about what you should be listening to right now.

TUNE OF THE WEEK: Years and Years ft. Elton John – ‘It’s a Sin’

‘It’s a Sin’, originally released by the Pet Shop Boys, is a beautiful song by itself, speaking of the pressures and prejudices of the Catholic Church. Olly Alexander’s solo cover of the piece brought the track to a new generation of fans, and now this secondary cover with Elton John appears to unite two eras of LGBTQA+ music history. I love that both artists kept to the original dramatics of the track, which is renowned for being one of the most theatrical of the Pet Shop Boys’ backlog, and arguably the thing that makes the song so great; huge synths, backing choirs and strings accompany the heartbreaking lyrics, taking the listener to a whole new level of emotion. 

Olly Alexander shines on this song, putting everything into his vocal delivery, and the way that his voice works against the deeper, iconic tones of Elton John’s is simply magnificent. Having Elton specifically sing the lyrics relating to the past (‘’So I look back upon my life/ Forever with a sense of shame’’), and Alexander those speaking of the future (‘’For everything I long to do/ No matter when, where or who’’) in the tracks final verse was a stroke of genius, bringing together two separate generrations in their frustration, sadness and anger, all culminating in the bitter conclusion of ‘’It’s a sin’’. This song could get tune of the week for the emotional depth and background to it alone, but honestly it’s the sheer vocal power of the two artists that really makes it for me. A shining homage to an already legendary track, ‘It’s a Sin’ is a beautiful cover that stands for so much more than its 4:44 runtime.

‘It’s a Sin’ is available to listen to now via EMI.

Trixie Mattel and Orville Peck – ‘Jackson’

EXPOSED- I’m secretly a country fan. When I heard that Trixie Mattel and Orville Peck were going to be covering one of, in my opinion, the best staple country classics out there (ESPECIALLY one by Johnny Cash), I was excited. I’ve enjoyed Trixie’s kitschy country style before, and adore Peck’s forlorn, crooning delivery; I couldn’t really imagine how their voices could work together, but they do, to a certain extent. There’s no denying that Peck outshines Mattel on this track; his vocals are just undeniably striking, and the deep tone of his voice is straight honey. It does pair well with Mattel’s higher tone, especially on their harmonies, but Peck certainly wins out on this one. I really like seeing more of his playful side on this cover, especially with his backlog of slower tunes, and hope he does more of this style of country in the future. Overall, ‘Jackson’ is another cover of this country tune to add to the pile, but it’s an enjoyable addition nonetheless.

‘Jackson’ is available to listen to now via Brian Firkus.

Olivia Rodrigo – ‘good 4 u’

I’m not going to lie, I’m loving Olivia Rodrigo’s sound at the moment. ‘good 4 u’ definitely leans more into an alternative vibe following previous releases ‘deja vu’ and ‘driver’s license’, and I’m really liking it. You can definitely hear the clear Lorde and Billie Eilish influences here, maybe with a dash of Taylor Swift (who Rodrigo herself has stated is an idol of hers). Rodrigo is bringing angsty teen-pop back to the airwaves, a la Swift’s Red era, and honestly I’ve missed it so much. Wearing your emotions on your sleeve is the new cool, and in ‘good 4 u’ Rodrigo is ANGRY; she sings ‘’Maybe I’m too emotional/ Or maybe you never cared at all’’, directly calling out the evil ex that has been the subject of her last two singles. Rather than sadness this time around though, Rodrigo is furious, matching the new alt vibe of this track, and I’m loving it.

‘good 4 u’ is available to listen to now via Geffen Records.

Cavetown – ‘Ur Gonna Wish U Believed Me’

I do love Cavetown, but after a while, all his songs seem to sound the same. ‘Ur Gonna Wish U Believed Me’ is no different; it’s certainly Cavetown, with the soft vocals, simple guitar and introspective lyrics, but at this point I’m acheing for something new from him. To his credit, ‘Ur Gonna Wish U Believed Me’ breaks away from the bedroom-indie sound of his previous songs with a more refined production quality, complete with a synth-led bridge and layered vocals. However, I just can’t help but want more.

‘Ur Gonna Wish U Believed Me’ is available to listen to now via Sire Records.

Other Selected Releases

SINGLES

Katy Perry – ‘Electric’

AJ Mitchell – ‘Growing Pains’

Bella Poarch – ‘Build A Bitch’

Leon Bridges – ‘Motorbike’

Vaccines – ‘Headphones Baby’

Easy Life – ‘have a great day’

Django Django – ‘Kick the Devil Out’

Wolf Alice – ‘No Hard Feelings’

ALBUMS

Black Keys – Delta Kream

Nicki Minaj – Beam Me Up Scotty

St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home

Jorja Smith – Be Right Back

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.

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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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