Friday, 14 May 2021

new (and old) music friday #57: tia kofi, VINCINT, years & years, addison rae, tinashe

i was incredibly alarmed to see that it's been two (2) months since my last post, but a combination of lockdown-induced depression and a lack of good music to write about means i've taken yet another shamefully long hiatus (apologies to the three (3) people who actually read this blog). 

but since then, more restrictions have been eased in the UK and we've been able to meet up to 6 people outside, so despite the torrential rain that continues to engulf manchester, i've spent the last few weeks freezing to death outside our favourite gay bar and regret nothing. 

from monday we'll be allowed to eat and drink inside and i couldn't be more excited, and i'm hoping some of these songs will be played. 

i've also started writing for safe and sound, and so far i've reviewed the excellent new CHVRCHES single and slayyyter's latest release, which might just be one of my favourite songs of the year so far. 

speaking of which, this edition of new music friday will see several songs go head to head in a battle to be crowned Song Of The Summer (SOTS for short). 

i know it's only may and the temperature shows no sign of increasing, but after completely missing out on any kind of summer last year, i wanted to get a head start.

so in no particular order, here are the contenders. 

1. tia kofi

first up is rupaul's drag race UK alumnus tia kofi, who appeared on series two and was declared baroness basic by her fellow queens thanks to her bargain bin outfits, so naturally i didn't lose sleep over her elimination. 

like many queens, she began releasing music after leaving the show and i was pleasantly surprised by her first single outside in, co-written by tom aspaul of black country disco excellence and victoria hesketh, aka little boots, responsible for the Absolute Banger that is remedy

it's been stuck in my head since february, and just when i thought the melody was fading, she released another single with dance producers cahill, who have remixed tracks by selena gomez, demi lovato and Gay Icon cheryl, so i knew that tia's track look what you've done would be a bop, and of course i was right. 

the Incredibly Camp production means it would fit right in at any canal street venue and providing the clubs open as planned in june, i can't wait to yell along to this song at 3am, watermelon VK in hand.

she's also booked to appear at manchester pride so hopefully i'll get to hear them live as well. 

2. addison rae

at 25, i consider myself far too old for tik tok and only made an account a few weeks ago, where i follow a grand total of 3 people. 

but try as i might, i haven't been able to avoid hearing about addison rae, best known for her tik tok dance routines and unlikely friendship with kourtney kardashian

like tia kofi, she's also embarking on a singing career, and when i first heard her debut single obsessed, i found myself hate-listening to it occasionally, until i eventually came to the realisation that it's a low-key summer smash in the making. 

the internet has not been kind to ms rae since the song's release, with cries of "too much autotune" and criticisms of the song's lyrics flooding her instagram posts promoting the song. 

however, when it comes to pop songs i don't discriminate, and i couldn't care less who wrote the song or how edited the vocals are if i can play it at full volume ten times a day and not get bored of it, so for this reason obsessed has the potential to become an inescapable SOTS.

3. years and years

when olly alexander of the band years & years announced that it would become his solo project, i was hardly surprised, as he's always been the face of the group and wrote the majority of their second album palo santo himself. 

i was praying for more songs that echoed the dance-pop production of palo santo and starstruck definitely didn't disappoint.

it feels far more euphoric and upbeat than previous years & years releases, and i know it will be A Moment when we can finally hear it in Tha Club. 

4. troye/regard/tate mcrae  

by far my most played song on this list, i was obsessed with you the second troye sivan began teasing it on instagram, playing the five second snippet an embarrassing amount of times until it was finally released in full last month.

a collaboration with dance producer regard and canadian singer-songwriter tate mcrae, the song is incredibly versatile and could be played in the background of a low-key, government approved, garden gathering or at full volume in a club once such things are allowed. 

it also has the potential to bring troye into a more ~mainstream~ space as regard is best known for his work with rising star raye and his mega hit ride it, a remix of jay sean's 2008 song which, like many things, went viral on tik tok. 

but regardless of the new audiences troye might reach, he'll always have the support of The Gays, no matter which producers he works with. 

5. VINCINT 

another song i was obsessed with from the get go was higher by VINCINT, whose 80s-inspired bops have been firm favourites of mine since 2019. 

when it comes to Huge Bangers, it's definitely on a par with his impeccable 2020 single hard 2 forget and i find it hard to believe that there are people who wouldn't rush to the dancefloor if either of these songs came on. 

6. shift K3Y/tinashe

i've always been somewhat underwhelmed by tinashe's muted R&B-inspired pop - though i think we can all agree that 2 on was A Moment - so when she teamed up with house producer shift K3Y for love line, i was hooked straight away

hopefully this won't be a one-off and she'll fully embrace the dance-pop sound that made both the MAKJ remix of just save room for us and the alarmingly catchy dance like nobody's watching some of my favourite songs of 2020. 

much like troye sivan, tinashe can simultaneously appeal to gay and straight audiences, with love line being appreciated equally by the pornstar martini-sipping huns at slug and lettuce and the gays who've supported her since her 2016 album nightride and her struggles with RCA records; we do love an underdog after all. 

i also just discovered that she came out as bisexual last year, so we can officially claim her as a Gay Icon. 

7. becky hill 

one of the most unexpected things to happen during last year's lockdown was that i became an all-out becky hill stan, something i wrote more about here

her newest single last time doesn't deviate too far from the formula that made her previous releases so successful - this usually involves collaborating with producers and remixers like sigala and MK - but there's something about last time that i can't get enough of. 

it has that same carefree, euphoric feel as the other songs competing for SOTS, and her recent announcement that she's queer will hopefully attract legions of dance-loving gay fans; i'm already manifesting her being the final mystery headliner for manchester pride this year. 

8. bebe rexha 

i've already professed my love for sacrifice - which as i feared was the only good single on yet another new album full of underwhelming tracks - but then two new remixes appeared that have moved me to tears imagining how good they'd sound in Tha Club. 

first is the niiko x SWAEE version, which features the typical house production employed by so many remixers and would be a nice addition to a pre-drinks playlist. 

then there's the gorgon city edit that demands to be played before a sweat-drenched crowd at 4am. with its thumping bassline and trance-like feel, it makes the original seem tame in comparison. 

shamefully it only has 78,000 spotify plays - most of which are probably from me playing it at full volume in my room after drinking a bottle of rosé every weekend - but as i said before, sometimes the most underrated tracks are the best.

9. joel corry/RAYE/david guetta

i couldn't name a more iconic trio when it comes to Basic Bops, aka my new favourite genre of music. 

david guetta has been releasing music since the beginning of the millennium and is responsible for some of the most iconic bangers of all time, while RAYE has been gradually establishing herself as a mainstay of the pop and dance world, appearing on tracks with jonas blue and jax jones

then there's joel corry, who rose to fame on geordie shore before turning his hand to music. it's a gamble that paid off as his singles lonely and head & heart both reached the top 10 in the UK charts and he was nominated for 3 BRIT awards this year. 

their collaboration BED was released back in febuary and the chloe wilson remix was released at the beginning of may, and i've had both on repeat.

much like addison rae, i found myself "ironically" listening to him for a while - not like i had much choice as his songs received so much radio play - before realising how much i genuinely enjoyed it, and a few weeks ago i managed to convince my friend to come and see him with me in november at victoria warehouse

i'm hoping i'll be able to recapture the energy of the dance room at PRYZM, a club i attended most weeks at uni, but until then i'll settle for playing his songs in my room and hopefully hearing them in Tha Club. 

10. GRACEY/billen ted 

i wrote about GRACEY back in february, extolling the virtues of her low-key pop sound, but her latest release got you covered sees her heading straight to the (metaphorical) club with production duo billen ted, giving us a garage-inspired dance track that i can imagine blasting from every car radio this summer. 

i especially love the fact the song is dedicated to one of her closest friends as i've always believed that friendships are just as important as ~romantic~ relationships but never seem to be discussed in the same way in pop music. 

with so many of us being unable to see our friends in person over the last year, this song couldn't have come at a better time as we're finally able to socialise again, reminding us how important friendships are during tough times. 

~the results~

so now that we've discussed all the contenders, it's time to crown the Song Of The Summer. 

i feel it's always best to go with my gut when it comes to such important matters, but i've also taken into account the number of times i've played the song on spotify, how easy it is to sing along to, and the number of different situations it can be played in.

and the winner is... 

you by troye sivan, tate mcrae and regard. 

i was instantly hooked by the infectious melody, highly memorable chorus, the fact it can be played at both low-key and upbeat social events, plus its ability to appeal to both gay and straight audiences, so i'll continue to play it on repeat throughout the summer months. 

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