Friday 5 August 2016

new (and old) music friday #8: brooke candy, demi lovato, kanye west, the spice girls

maybe it was the crushing realisation that my third (and final) year of uni is starting in just over a month, or a drunken conversation i had with my best friend a few weeks ago. either way, something caused a light to go on inside my head this week and i finally started to take responsibility for myself and try to change the things that are making me unhappy, meaning that for the first time in a long time, i feel excited about life again. 

that and the fact that in less than three weeks i'll be going to leeds, which is, at the ripe old age of 20, is going to be my first ever festival. i know. 

some of this week's tracks reflect that light-bulb moment, others don't, but it's been a great week for music (and music videos too) regardless. 

1. hayley kiyoko 

this is about as new as new music can be, as i discovered this song via twitter just a few minutes before sitting down to write this post, and though i've only listened to hayley's latest offering twice, it's already stuck in my head and i can guarantee i'll be racking up multiple plays of the track in the next few days. you know when you're feeling a certain way and a song just perfectly captures it? well gravel to tempo is exactly that (particularly the line i don't feel adequate / thinking i'm a monster in disguise) (like seriously, did she look inside my head and capture my exact thoughts and feelings when writing this song?). the video is also excellent, though definitely not as gay as her previous offerings, something her legions of fans are a tad disappointed about, though hopefully the other tracks from her upcoming citrine EP will deliver on this front. 

(on a totally unrelated - but also Very Gay - note, i finally saw the new ghostbusters this week and reached levels of queerness i never thought possible. if you still haven't seen it, let this article be the only reason(s) you need.)

2. fifth harmony

i know, i know. i've spoken about the girl group multiple times on this blog, but a few days ago i discovered a track from their first album reflection that had somehow passed me by, entitled top down. this is the perfect Sassy Walking Song, or if like me, you've recently taking up walking/breaking into a light jog in the more secluded areas of your route, this song is ideal. (it was this man repeller article that propelled me into finally starting to exercise, and i particularly enjoy the yoga videos. thanks adrienne!)

also: the girls did a tribute to destiny's child as part of ABC'S greatest hits series and it was everything (despite some questionable outift choices that should most definitely have stayed in the 90s). if you haven't seen it, then please allow me to give you life.

3. demi lovato

demi's latest single, body say, has definitely taken me by surprise (and led me to thirst-follow her on instagram. no regrets.), because even though most pop stars tackle the subject of sex in their songs, it's always been (not so) thinly veiled in metaphor (i see you, tinashe). however, body say takes it one step further, as demi actually uses the s-word! that's right, she explicitly uses the word sex in a song all about sex, which is great and all, though it does make me feel a tad awkward listening to it at full volume on public transport. nevertheless, if this is the shape of things to come from demi's next album, it's going to be a good one. 

4. phoebe ryan

i actually mentioned phoebe in my last new music friday post, but i discovered a remix of her song chronic that has by far been my most played song this past week. it's just really bloody catchy and never fails to put me in a good mood. 

5. brooke candy

i discovered this song quite a while ago now but still can't get enough of the excellent video and slightly more pop sound brooke candy is producing lately. the lyrics of paper or plastic lament our culture that still demands women look as youthful as possible, at whatever cost. unusually for brooke, the song features no rapping, just her sugary sweet and somewhat hypnotic vocals, and i'm hoping her forthcoming album, the daddy issues, will be in a similar vein, especially as sia is in charge of production.

6. flume

okay, so i know i'm super late on this one, but flume's latest track, say it, which features vocals from tove lo, has been on repeat all this week. it's infectiously catchy; perfect for mainstream pop radio while still retaining his signature style. though overall i think it was a tad too experimental for my taste, there was one track on his album that had me in tears after the first listen, arguably his most well-known offering, never be like you

this track has been doing the rounds since january and the jangly synths it opens with did feel somewhat familiar to me, but it was the lyrics that hit me hardest. guest vocalist kai says the song is about "a moment in my own life when everything was going really well and my inner sabotueur tried to do what she does best," and like, i totally get it. dealing with anxiety is like having an argument with yourself, in your own brain. you know that whatever this other voice is saying to you is untrue, and yet you can't help believe it. i can't count the number of times i've ruined something good; perhaps because of this fear i have that eventually the person i like will eventually discover i'm actually incredibly lame, and so my natural reaction is to destroy it before they get the chance to see what i'm really like. nevertheless, this track made me feel like i'm not the only one dealing with this, such is the universal power of music. 

7. the spice girls 

i rediscovered this track after reading an article on nylon about the best "forgotten" music videos of the '90s, and who do you think you are was one of them. there's really not much to say about this, other than the fact that it's a classic party track with an excellent saxophone riff, and i want every single look the girls are wearing in the delightfully low-budget video. 

honourable mentions

wolves: kanye west's latest music video or a glorified balmain campaign? who knows and who cares, because this video is one of the best i've seen in a long time. it's black and white and features lots of Arty shots of impossibly attractive models (and a statuesque kim k) in sparkly dresses, instantly gaining a 10/10 from me based on aesthetics alone. the song isn't one my favourites from the life of pablo though, and i would instead recommend 30 hours, fade and the cinematic brilliance of waves

if you're still sceptical of kanye's excellence, as i once was, may i direct you to his performance at glastonbury last year. it received mixed reviews, which i was surprised to hear, because it totally and completely changed my mind about how music can, and should, sound. seriously, was i watching the same show as the critics who took to the comments section of various online publications, declaring that this wasn't "real music"? for me, the greatness of west lies not in his vocal ability (he loves a bit (read: a lot) of auto tune, does kanye) but in his production, and his glasto slot was a perfect example of that. it's all in the details; the sample of diamonds are forever interspersed into his track diamonds from sierra leone is a perfect mix of old and new. perhaps borrowing so heavily from the past is the only way to create anything original these days, and if that's the case, kanye has got it down to a tee. 

finally, everyone's favourite pint-sized pop starlet ariana grande performed an excellent tribute to the late and great whitney houston, which i'm sure the icon herself would approve of. though i'm slightly disappointed she didn't cover my all time favourite whitney song, i wanna dance with somebody, she does make up for it with the madonna-esque choreography from her track be alright and the incredibly 80s look she's sporting (i have Mixed Feelings about the fringe though). 

i've also been re-obsessing over my favourite track from dangerous woman (it's a tossup between that and greedy), into you, which has served as another great track for my new walking/jogging routine this last week. 

this week's playlist is here

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