Friday, 1 November 2019

new (and old) music friday #46: dua lipa, cher, vardaan arora, kitten

at the time of writing my last post i was preparing for a city break to malaga, which mostly involved drinking copious amounts of lemon fanta and trying not to sweat off all my foundation. 

since then, several exciting things have happened, including:

a) the arrival of cher's world tour in manchester: twenty years (!) after i first heard believe via one of the cassette tapes that came with my much-loved barbie karaoke machine, i finally got to hear it live and as predicted, it was a life changing experience. it was a Proper Show which included dancers, several (excellent) costume changes, the infamous elephant and a speech about the "two times" she turned 40 which ended with the already-iconic quote "what's your granny doing tonight?". highlights included the slept-on club banger woman's world, the disco-inspired strong enough, incredible power ballad i found someone and karaoke classic if i could turn back time. there was also her tribute to ABBA, where she reprised her role as sophie's grandma in the second mamma mia film, donning a blonde wig to perform fernando, waterloo and SOS

b) charli xcx's gig at the albert hall - it goes without saying that she was incredible and a full review will follow soon - followed by my second pilgrimage to girls night out, which was by far the best pre-birthday celebration i've ever had. i've already bought my ticket for their final event of 2019 which includes entry to a lady gaga club night in the venue upstairs; this is truly what dreams are made of

c) speaking of which, i turned 24 (!!) the day after and remarkably didn't feel bad at all, despite all the horror stories i've heard about how hangovers become even more unbearable as one enters their mid 20s (help). seeing as 24 isn't a particularly significant age, it was a fairly low-key occasion, made a tad more exciting by...

d) the news that my chemical romance are performing in LA this december, which sent the entire internet into meltdown. if more tour dates don't follow i'll be devastated, as i can barely remember any of the gig when i saw them in 2011. my glow in the dark band t-shirt has been sitting in a drawer patiently waiting for this moment, though if my reaction to yesterday's news was anything to go by, i'm not sure i'll be able to handle hearing their back catalogue again. 

i'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you that i wrote about my love of danger days for vibbidi a few months ago and have started writing for them again, making my return with a review of charli's latest self-titled album.  

it's safe to say i've had a wild few weeks but any fears i had about getting older have vanished and been replaced with a sense of clarity about where my life is heading. i'm still hesitant to talk about Good Things after the dreadful year i've had, but for the first time in months i feel excited about life again and this week's new releases definitely reflect that. 

1. dua lipa

ever since she made her debut with new love back in 2015, i've been largely underwhelmed by dula peep's musical outputs, but today she finally blessed us with a decent banger by the name of don't start now. a departure from the subdued electro-pop she cut her teeth on, dua began teasing the song a few weeks ago, sporting a newly blonde bob in the promotional images, and as soon as i heard the disco-tinged, ten second teaser i knew we had a banger on our hands. the full track doesn't disappoint and i'm prepared to hear it at least twice when i go out later. 

2. vardaan arora

i've been keeping tabs on this LA-based newcomer for a few months after i fell in love with his song dance like you last year. his latest release famous perfectly captures the pressure we all feel to cultivate an engaging internet presence, but he takes it one step further as he ponders whether his friends "would like me more if i get famous", bringing to mind lily allen's iconic track the fearreleased in 2009, the song undoubtedly foreshadowed our obsession with fame and celebrity culture. 

in a 2008 interview with the observer, she said the track was about "being scared that there’s never going to be anything real anymore that isn’t sponsored" and with instagram scrambling to establish new guidelines which force influencers to disclose whether the products they're promoting are paid for advertisements and trips to the maldives "gifted" by a brand, it would seem her fears have become our day-to-day reality. 

this isn't the first time arora has been so candid about the pressure millennials feel to have our shit together; the electro-pop bop thirty under thirty vocalises those worries we all experience while scrolling through social media in the middle of the night, bombarded by yet another "i said yes" announcement and smug-looking soon-to-be homeowners posing with the keys to a house that their parents no doubt helped them buy. luckily social media has allowed us to be more open about our fears and while there are some terrifying statistics floating around the web about how much worse off we are than our parents, at least we know we're all in this together

3. HAIM

the last time i wrote about haim was in 2017 following the release of their single right now, which i was incredibly disappointed with. things continued on a downward slope with the lacklustre want you back and little of your love, so by the time they returned with the jazz (?) inspired summer girl, i feared their glory days might be over. luckily they've redeemed themselves with new single now i'm in it, which features a thudding bassline and frenetic lyrics detailing the sisters' struggle with depression; they took to twitter to elaborate further, urging fans to "take care of yourself". there's nothing i love more than a Sad Banger, so this message has been much appreciated and i can only hope their next album will prove that days are gone wasn't just a flash in the pan.

4. kitten

if there's one track i've been yelling along to at the top of my voice this week, it's ME by the alt-rock LA band kitten. sitting somewhere between MUNA, pale waves and the 1975, the track combines an 80s-inspired synth refrain with a huge guitar-led chorus and a smattering of autotuned vocals to create something new that still manages to pay homage to the past. lyrically it speaks to that part of me which still feels ~misunderstood~ as i attempt to justify my life choices and desire to pursue my dreams to family, friends and total strangers on a regular basis, but with songs like this blasting through my speakers it reassures me that i'm on the right path.

5. NCT 127

my foray into k-pop began with BTS and their alarmingly catchy track boy with luv, and i now have another obsession thanks to NCT 127 and their track highway to heaven. forget all the heavy stuff, this is pure pop perfection featuring a Huge Chorus and lyrics about a blossoming love affair. they were also kind enough to record an english version of the song, so i can yell along to it at full volume. the ten-member (!) group has collaborations with ava max and jason derulo under their belt and have appeared on good morning america, so BTS-style world domination could be on the cards. 

6. MOODY

once again i have popjustice to thank for my introduction to this danish pop sensation. her latest track leave is pure 80s pleasure, with one of the best choruses i've heard in a long time, and after bemoaning the lack of same-sex pronouns in pop music in my last post, it's so exciting to hear MOODY sing them with pride. elsewhere, taboo is a crying-in-the-club banger in the making (camila cabello? i don't know her). 

7. CHAV

as well hitting the road as a backing dancer on dorian electra's latest tour, CHAV is establishing themselves as an artist in their own right with the release of two impeccable tracks; kickin' on the floor and the super-spooky patient zero. while i'm not sure how well their stage name will translate to UK audiences - "chav" has historically been a derogatory term for working class people - this rising star might just be the one to reclaim it. 

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