Friday, 27 October 2017

new (and old) music friday #23: MGMT, hayley kiyoko, FAUX, rita ora

as another uneventful week draws to a close, i'm preparing - both physically and mentally - to go and see harry styles on sunday in london with some of my uni friends. the last time i saw him was with one direction back in 2011, not long after the group had formed, so seeing him in all his gucci-clad glory will be an emotional experience. 

below are some of the songs i've enjoyed this week, which will no doubt accompany my deciding-what-to-pack-and-discarding-half-my-wardrobe-in-the-process, process. 

1. rita ora

by far my most played song this week, it crept up behind me, at first a gentle tap on the shoulder and now roaring loudly in my ear; quite literally as i've listened to nothing else the last few days. clearly rita heard my somewhat scornful words about her in my last post and has redeemed herself with latest single anywhere. a lighthearted pop bop about running away with a lover, there's just something about it i can't get enough of. she also released a video this week in which she frolics around new york in a series of excellent outfits - unusual for her as i find her choice in clothing quite peculiar most of the time - including a candyfloss pink dress and sparkly veil that i absolutely must wear at my wedding, if i ever have one. 

2. morrissey

the pope of mope has returned with two singles; spent the day in bed and i wish you lonely, taken from his upcoming album low in high school, which is due for release on the 17th november. i might not listen to the smiths as devotedly as my fifteen year old self, but there's something about his new lyrics that still speak to a part of me which feels misunderstood. the guardian describes spent the day in bed as "a typically existentialist, eeyoreish song" which critiques the relentlessly depressing news cycle and urges the listener to ignore it, spending the day in bed as the title suggests. i wish you lonely wouldn't look out of place on any smiths album, yet there's something fresh about its sound, and hopefully the rest of the album won't disappoint. 

3. hayley kiyoko

an artists who's no stranger to these new music friday posts, last week she delivered what someone in the comments described as "the casual lighthearted gay bop we all deserve" in the form of new single feelings. shot in just one take and directed by hayley herself, the video is a neon-lit dream and as per usual, Incredibly Gay. her lyrics also continue to be alarmingly relatable, particularly the line i over communicate and feel too much / i just complicate it when i say too much as it reminds me of all the times i've tried way too hard to get a crush's attention. luckily the song is so good it distracts me from such incidents - as all good music should - and i've watched the video more times than i'd like to admit. 

4. george michael

a few weeks ago a new documentary about the life of george michael aired on channel 4. titled freedom, it was directed by george himself before his death last december. as GQ reported, the final edit remained largely unchanged and it was of course emotional but also a fitting tribute to a genre-spanning legend. it featured a star studded range of interviewees. it was clearly emotional for them too, with nile rogers being reduced to tears when listening to george's cover of they won't go when i go by stevie wonder. as the credits rolled, chris martin's cover of a different corner was played, and i've been obsessed with it ever since. though i couldn't find it on spotify, i did find fantasy, a collaboration between nile and george that combines both their signature styles for a disco-inspired track that has been played a few times at my work; literally the only thing making an eight hour shift bearable. 

5. MGMT

the beloved indie duo finally returned after three long years with little dark age. retaining their signature electronic style, the track is reminiscent of 2010's congratulations and their self-titled 2013 release, though much more minimal in production. my favourite part of their reinvention however, is the ridiculous video accompanying the song, which sees lead singer andrew vanwyngarden don a straitjacket and backcombed hair, the kind of 'do my sixteen year old self spent hours trying to create during my cure phase. i can only hope that their upcoming album - due some time next year - goes down the same path and delivers something on par with this Absolute Banger

6. FAUX

like most new releases, i discovered this one on noisey. the first single from london collective FAUX, led by songwriter josef page. take back time is a prince-inspired, funk/pop/soul/somewhere in between type of track with vocals by sherry davis. with more songs on the way, this could be the perfect antidote to pop music's seemingly endless stream of tropical house inspired tracks that have been clogging up the charts since this dropped two years ago. 

honourable mention: britney spears

britney's iconic album blackout turned ten this week, so may i refer you to this track-by-track analysis courtesy of noisey. my personal highlights include gimme more, break the ice, piece of me and bonus track everybody, which (flawlessly) samples sweet dreams (are made of this) by eurythmics. also worth a mention is this 2008 rolling stone cover story titled the tragedy of britney spears. though hard to read at times, it shows just how far the once troubled star has come, and i hope one day i can attain the aura of peacefulness she gives off in this video posted on her (incredible) instagram a few weeks ago.

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