>> About New Music Fridays
More fresh tunes are released every Friday than on any other day of the week by artists all over the world, and I’m here to offer some insights on a selected few. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, a local artist I haven’t heard of, or a breakthrough artist releasing his/her first single, feel free to leave comments with any music release you’d like me to keep tabs on.
>> Spotlight Reviews: New songs I particularly enjoyed today
- Not going to lie, it took a few repeats before this song really catches on for me, but once it does, the rest is history. This is the second single by Tomlinson as a solo artist, and this time, he delivers a techno pop track about loving and hating a person at the same time. This love-hate theme is made evident by lyrics such as, “I love it, I hate it, and I can’t take it / But I keep coming back to you.” Having Rexha on this song is a brilliant decision, not only because her voice complements Tomlinson’s really well, but also because the man-woman contrast makes it sound as if both parties are taunted by the drug-like compulsion of the relationship (or as the lyrics put it, “addicted to the drama”). Rexha’s voice gives the track a strong start, and her signature falsetto as well as texture inject it with unique sounds throughout. Additionally, it still surprises me how nice it is to listen to Tomlinson’s vocals alone after trying to distinguish it from four to five others for the past five years. His voice has such a defining David Archuleta-like characteristic that makes it instantly recognisable. I think the equaliser and filter applied to Tomlinson’s vocals during the bridge is a nice touch, because the resulting megaphone-like effect underlines the conflicted tone. Furthermore, having only vocals and piano at the start of the last chorus run makes both singers sound all the more bothered and contemplative. Melody-wise, this song gives off clear pop vibes, and the verses somehow sound like a slowed down version of Liam Payne’s Strip That Down. I’m not saying that this is bad, because most of pop music is recycled melodies anyway, but as Tomlinson and Payne are former bandmates, it’s reasonable that they’re drawn to similar melodies. Lastly, I love the variety of diction used in the verses and pre-choruses to reiterate the overarching love-hate feel; this highlights the frustration that comes with being in the troubling relationship.
She’s On My Mind by JP Cooper
- Yet another lovely tropical house/pop/reggae tune from the English singer-songwriter JP Cooper! His songs are always so likeable and playful to listen to, and this one’s no exception. With She’s On My Mind, Cooper sings about being unable to shake off an ex, as exemplified by these lyrics from verse two: “My friends say that she’s a keeper / But I let her go / Didn’t know how much I need her / ‘Til I was on my own.” I tend to find excessive repetition of phrases in a song tedious and uninspired, but that’s not at all the case with this song. The repetition of “she’s on my mind” is catchy and persistent, as if it symbolises the pressing and recurring nature of the thoughts about the ex. Having the voice of a woman on the intro and interlude also helps represent this, because it illustrates that this ex is on the forefront of the speaker’s mind. Vocally, Cooper’s voice is so distinctive and pleasant to the ear that listening to his songs is honestly always a treat. The lyrics of this song is also well-written; I especially like the rhymes on the verses. Accompanying Cooper’s vocals only with the plucking of an acoustic guitar at the start of the bridge is a delicate touch that makes his voice more heart-wrenching and the lyrics more personal. Finally, it’s easy to just end the song by repeating “she’s on my mind” four times again, but Cooper added two concluding lines about why this is. “I can’t sleep at night / ‘Cause she ain’t by my side” leaves the song on a confessional yet helpless tone, implying that the speaker just has to weather the storm until he/she gets over the ex.
- I almost didn’t want to write a spotlight review for this song because I was running out of time. Almost. But I enjoyed the song so much that I just had to write a quick review! Right off the bat, I love Mae’s voice. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and having it on a dance pop track such as this one is really fitting. The lyrics and drop of the chorus are rather catchy, especially the part that says, “We’re drowning out / And you know I’ve been thirsty for a while now / Drowning out / But you won’t taste a drop with your mouth.” Prior to this song, the brother DJ duo KREAM have previously collaborated with Mae on another dance pop hit song called Taped Up Heart. In fact, I think I like Drowning because it’s similar to Taped Up Heart in many ways. The techno tune created by KREAM and the Rihanna-meets-Ellie-Goulding quality to Mae’s vocals prove to be a powerful combo for both Taped Up Heart and Drowning, and something tells me this is not the last of it.
>> Honourable Mentions: Other great songs released during the week that I wish I have time to review
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