despite all the awfulness happening in the world this year, there have been some excellent albums released, and this week's selection of tracks definitely reflects that.
1. fifth harmony
i am so late to this party, but luckily fifth harmony are bringing all the jams needed to get it started. despite looking forward to the second album from the group, its actual release date completely passed me by. though it was released in may, it was only when one of my favourite artists/humans troye sivan tweeted about it a month later that i rushed to spotify to check it out, and i was pleasantly surprised. fifth harmony have always frustrated me because i want to like them so much, and though they have produced some excellent singles in the past, including sledgehammer, bo$$ and worth it, their first full-length release reflection failed to fully capture my attention.
enter work from home, aka my song of the summer. it's on the verge of becoming totally overplayed but for now i still can't get enough of its ridiculously catchy chorus and the excellent choreography. so with the release of such a great single, my hopes were high and i was confident that fifth harmony would finally release the album i always knew they were capable of producing, though i couldn't shake the doubts from the back of my mind after the disappointment of reflection.
i needn't have worried though, because on first listen i fell in love with pretty much every track on the girls' sophomore release, 7/27 (named after the date they were put together as a group). from the arresting saxophone and foot-stomping beats of opening track that's my girl (if there's one thing fifth harmony do best, it's a female empowerment anthem) to the laid back breeziness of squeeze, this album has it all. other highlights include not that kinda girl (hi missy!), i lied, the life, and their current single, flex (all in my head), the video for which i have watched a disgustingly large amount of times (because my crush on lauren knows no bounds). they were also kind enough to include the rap-free version of worth it, reigniting my love for the song all over again. also: a moment of silence for big bad wolf, which for some reason is only included on the japanese version of the album. why cruel world?!
another excellent album we were (finally) blessed with came from up-and-coming indie pop artist shura, who i have talked about before in various other new music friday posts. it feels like i've waited an eternity for this album, so july 8th could not come quick enough for me. once again, i was definitely not disappointed. after a string of excellent singles including touch, white light (the eight minute version on the album is particularly fantastic) and the dreamy farway-ness of make it up, which i played incessantly in the days leading up to the album's release, the rest of the album continued to provide hit after hit. my favourites include tongue tied, what happened to us? and the disco-infused opener nothing's real, and if i had to pick a favourite song of this year so far, the latter is most definitely a contender. anyone who knows me knows i have an immeasurable love of disco music, so to hear it given a modern reworking fills me with so much joy. and as if shura couldn't be more excellent, she interviewed tegan and sara, which just about made my heart burst with pride because as i've always said, representation is everything to me, and hearing them openly talk about being queer makes me feel like i'm not alone in this.
the elusive elohim (so elusive that's not even her real name) released her self-titled debut in may, but it was only when i heard her song sensations in a spotify playlist of new pop music the other day that i fell in love with the rest of the album. lately all i seem to have been listening to (bar the 1975's glorious second album) is female electronic singers, and i have absolutely no problem with this. i was familiar with a few of elohim's tracks - bridge and the wall and she talks too much - prior to the release, but my enjoyment and occasional listening of these tracks has developed into a full-blown obsession this last week. other favourites include guts and the album's closing track, all that gold, which combines fantastically empowering lyrics - you could spread your wings too, but yes i'm flyer - with a sultry, slowed down beat.
4. olly murs
this track came as a complete surprise to me; never did i think i'd see the day when an olly murs track would give me goosebumps, but it arrived yesterday when i first pressed play on his latest single, you don't know love. now let's be clear, there's nothing wrong with the clean-cut, pedestrian pop tracks we've heard from the runner up of x factor 2009, but i never particularly had a strong emotional connection to any of them, and that's the one thing i need in order to truly love a song, regardless of genre. that all changed when i heard a snippet of the aforementioned track in a spotify ad and hurriedly clicked the link which took me to the playlist in which it resided. for the entire hour i spent getting ready that morning, i had it on repeat and was nearly word-perfect by the time i left the house. i can't explain what it is that sets this song apart from any of olly's previous releases, but i suspect it's in the finer details, like the shimmering synths hidden away behind the verses, giving it a slightly 80s feel. it's also an excellent getting-the-fuck-over-someone kind of song, and the line i know i made some bad decisions / but my last one was you is one i'll take great satisfaction in belting out at the top of my lungs.
5. phoebe ryan
i first discovered phoebe ryan thanks to her excellent track dead which surfaced in march last year. i was obsessed, then as i so often do, i completely forgot about her. but last month i stumbled upon the video for her song boyz n poizn, and was transfixed. there's something weirdly hypnotic about her electronic sound and breathy vocals, which had me hooked throughout the song. the fact that i have a ridiculously huge crush on her may also have been why i replayed the video at least six times, and have playing it again non-stop this week. she can also be empowering though, and the other track i've been obsessed with is mine, and i've been singing the line i'll pull it together and fix myself eventually in my head while things have been particularly tough lately.
i truly can't help myself; i've fallen for the 1975 in a big way, as the millions of posts i've written about them on this blog would suggest, but i'll keep it short and sweet. this week's honourable mention goes to their performances at both glastonbury and t in the park, which i devoured while back at my uni house last week, playing them at full volume through my shitty laptop speakers and bawaling like a baby when they played fallingforyou at t in the park. it's like a domino effect; when i think about my love for this band, i think of what they represent for me; my hometown, my family and my best friend, and how grateful i am for all of them. i'm also going to see them at the o2 in december (did i mention this? i definitely mentioned this), and watching these performances made me a billion times more excited than i ever thought possible. they also released the video for their latest single, and (probably) my favourite 1975 song ever, somebody else, last week and i've watched it nearly every day since. it's completely crazy, but i wouldn't expect anything else from matty and his incredible mind. the famous breakfast at tiffany's quote "no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself" perfectly sums up this video.
this week's playlist is here.