Friday, 13 May 2016

new (and old) music friday #4: ariana grande, lights, the stone roses, dua lipa

this week something pretty special happened; the stone roses released their first single in twenty years. twenty years. that aside, the last seven days saw me revisiting new and old favourites. 

1. LIGHTS 

honestly i can't remember how i started (re) listening to lights; i think someone on my tumblr dashboard reblogged a post about her which led me to revisit her 2014 album little machines as well as old favourites toes and muscle memory, also from little machines. overall the album isn't anything spectacular but like with most albums there's one song that stands out in a league of its own, and that was slow down. the somewhat reflective nature of these lyrics took me by surprise. when we are gone, tell me where do we go so fast? she ponders in the chorus. it's a question children often ask their parents when they first grasp the concept of life and death, but its clear she's still searching for the answer. 

2. dua lipa

the internet is awash with young, upcoming singers these days, and dua lipa is one of them, though with a name like that (thanks to her albanian heritage) she certainly stands out. her voice is just the right side of husky, and she combines her sultry vocal with a tropical-house influenced sound, best seen in her latest single hotter than hell, which i've had on repeat since i discovered it last weekend. her album is due for release later this year and if this single is anything to go by, she'll be riding high at the top of the charts.

3. depeche mode 

last week i watched an excellent BBC documentary called synth britannia (if you're in the UK it can be found here) charting the origins of synth pop from the early 70s to present day, and it introduced me to some great new tracks as well as allowing me to rediscover old favourites from the likes of new order, eurythmics and of course my beloved pet shop boys. the controversial (at the time) lyrics of depeche mode's master and servant, as well as its catchy hooks, mean i've been playing it non stop. if you're just getting into them like i am, a good place to start is the compilation album the best of depeche mode, volume 1, which can be found on spotify and includes some of my other favourites including enjoy the silence and just can't get enough (might i add that the saturdays did an excellent cover of this a couple years back if pop's more your thing).

4. baltimora 

a few days ago i heard this song playing in an advert for some kind of insurance and found myself rushing to shazam it because i just couldn't get enough (pun intended). the song turned out to be tarzan boy by one-hit-wonders baltimora (apparently they did well in their native italy though)if terrible cheesy 80s pop is your jam, this will have you up and dancing in no time. it reminds me of africa by toto, in that we all love it but nobody will actually admit to it. i however, have no shame, and will be dramatically belting this out, hand actions and all. 

5. WU LYF

i know i'm so horrendously late on this, seeing as the band released their first (and only) album in 2011 and disbanded the year after, but i listened their song heavy pop after someone on tumblr was talking about them and i'm hooked. the band gained notoriety for not giving interviews, and after rejecting offers from several record labels decided to record their album in an abandoned church in manchester. clearly they are a band after my own heart as they hail from my hometown and make the kind of music that makes me feel every kind of emotion at once. maybe it was recording in a church that gives the album an almost reverential feel, but there's something so hauntingly beautiful about their music. the entire album is incredible, but the aforementioned heavy pop has to be my favourite, with its lyrics, "you know i can't stay / i want to feel at home" and "to the girls and boys calling out wolf noise / one day you’ll find a home" hitting me right where it hurts. part of me thinks its a tragedy that they only made one album before disbanding, but seeing as it's so good, i'll let them off. 

6. ariana grande 

of all my favourites this last week, this is the one track that i haven't stopped listening to, and i mean it when i say it's the only thing i've had on repeat for the last four days. ariana grande's latest single, the club-ready into you is by far my favourite track she's released from her upcoming album dangerous woman, and if this is anything to go by, i have a feeling her album is going to be one my favourites this year. this stereogum article perfectly sums up her influence in the current pop climate, something i live for reading about (both ariana and the current state of pop music are subjects close to my heart). 

7. grimes

monday saw the release of grimes' latest music video for her art angels track california. the video itself is excellent, but it's the new version of the track released along with it that i'm obsessed with. it's a tad more upbeat that the album version, something a lot of fans seemed to have a problem with, but as a passionate pop music lover, it sits just right with me. the lyrics are alarmingly on-the-nose too, and though grimes herself describes the song as "a hate track towards pitchfork"it's just that tad bit too real when it comes to describing my relationships with certain people as of late - "you only like me when you think i'm looking sad / i didn't think you'd end up treating me so bad" - but playing this song at full volume is helping me move on. 

8. CHVRCHES

synth pop trio CHVRCHES released a new song yesterday, titled warning call. the track is taken from an upcoming video game, mirror's edge catalyst, of which i know nothing about, though who cares when the song is so good? much like the stone roses, they've managed to retain their signature sound while still creating something fresh. it also led me to revisit some of my favourite tracks from last year's excellent album, every open eye, one i frequently overlook then berate myself for going so long without listening to. it's heartbreaking but there's a certain strength behind their lyrics, best seen in my favourite tracks down side of me and high enough to carry you over.

9. the stone roses 

of course i saved the best until last. as i mentioned earlier, this is the first time the stone roses have released new music in 20 years, just in time for their four night stint at the etihad stadium in manchester, the second one of which i'll be attending on the 17th june. it's safe to say that seeing them in person will be a big deal for me, as their music has meant so much to me over the years and with their rocky relationship, i was never sure they would reunite and allow me to witness my favourite songs live. so when i first heard they were making new music, my expectations were sky high. their new single, all for one, had its first play on radio one last night, and the way i felt just before it was played is only a fraction of what i imagine i'll feel when i'm standing amongst the crowd next month waiting for them to take the stage. basically i was an emotional wreck and found myself tearing up just a few seconds into the song. they certainly didn't disappoint though, and have managed to retain their signature sound while creating something new and exciting, though i'm sure the fact they are even releasing music again will bring many people immense joy in itself. 

finally, this week's playlist can be found here

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