A huge list of new releases were given to us this week, highlighting the quality of both artists and producers that we currently have. With the heat of May continuing, some of the tracks we’ve highlighted are perfect for a May barbecue whilst others are just beautiful to relax to. We can’t wait to give you more of the highlights of 2017 so far but in the meantime here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Joint Track of the Week: The Killers – “The Man”
After five years away from music, one of rock’s most glamorous and loved bands are back and in business with new song The Man. The track seems to see a new spark alight within the band and swaggering vocals from Brandon Flowers command everyone to focus their attention on him. Whilst The Killers have their roots firmly within indie rock, there’s a distinctive disco flavour to the song which proves irresistible to dance to. The Killers have always been a band not afraid of embracing their Las Vegas roots. The Man is every bit as flashy as the biggest of casinos and it’s Flowers whose vocal performance dances perfectly throughout the track. Line “I’ve got news for you baby / You’re looking at the man” highlight a brilliant confidence, ordering on arrogance, that’s reminiscent of Muse’s Matt Bellamy in The 2nd Law era. With more simplified drums, a commanding baseline and guitar line plus progressive synths, The Man is quite extraordinary. We always expect big things from The Killers but they have managed to pull to of the bag an anthem that bridges rock, disco and pop and we absolutely love it.
Joint Track of the Week: Arcade Fire – “Creature Comfort”
Never the predictable, Canada’s most loved band return with yet another track from their upcoming fifth record Everything Now. Creature Comfort is by far one of the band’s most complex tracks to date, with an intro of repetitive synths circling in repetition before a keyboard line of chords layer upon the top. Unlike previous track Everything Now, there’s a distinctive representation of Arcade Fire’s alternative sound right from the off. Creature Comfort carries a strong message throughout and whilst the lyrics carry a slight uncomfortableness to them, Win Butler’s vocal delivery is also something different, opting for a more half-rapped projection. Lyrics “Make me famous / If you can’t then just make it painless” reference society’s addiction to keeping with the trends. A hit out against image perceptions with lines such as “Some girls hate themselves, hide under the covers with sleeping pills,” Win Butler’s vocals command listeners to be true to themselves and the back and forth delivery between himself and wife Renee is a moment for fans to savour. Renee’s alarming “On and on, I don’t know what I want” chorus line screeches with a unique sense of addiction. The complexity of the production matches that of last record Reflektor with the added use of electronic elements and a mass of instruments. The break out of the track is a surrealistic piece of atmospheric rock and as a complete piece, it is staggering just what the group have managed to achieve. The Canadian group have forever kept themselves in the hearts of loyal fans and Creature Comfort sounds like a classic hit that begs to be sung by crowds.
Macklemore Feat. Skylar Grey – “Glorious”
One of rap’s heavyweight artists returns this week with his first track of 2017, Glorious. As the name might suggest, there is a real uplifting quality on what seems to be a spirited comeback single. Enlisting the help of heavyweight collaborator and songwriter Skylar Grey on vocals, the Seattle rapper showcases his unique blend of confidence and swag with verses that flow perfectly from start to end. A tribute to his grandmother who recently turned 100, Glorious is a true reflection on the rappers success over the past four years. Line “Been chasing dreams, but never slept” reflects on Macklemore’s constant quest to improve as an artist. Grey’s vocals are strong and carry a cutting edge which rounds the track off in perfect style.
Queens of the Stone Age – “The Way You Used To”
Josh Homme’s band of brilliant misfits return for the first time since 2013 with new track The Way You Used To, a staggeringly joyful blend of rock and funk. The quick natured bounce of a scuzzy guitar riff matches the simple drum click which provides an intriguingly addictive listen. Homme’s performance as vocalist and commander in chief is as always perfect, carrying enough charm to match his gnarly vocal approach. The track is nothing like the sensational record Songs For The Def but more like the recent charm of Like Clockwork…. In fact, we think The Way You Used To is a further development from the previous record, moving the band to an even funkier territory. The breakdown allows for a more aggressive approach to the song, whilst moments of pause add a refreshing taste to what, despite the increased tempo and simplified drums, sounds exactly like a Queens of the Stone Age record. Quite simply a stunning piece of music, the band have managed to somehow take themselves to an even greater height that we can’t wait to hear more of.
Calvin Harris Feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean – “Feels”
Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris has always found ways to adapt to music’s changing landscape. The beginning of the 2010’s , Harris had managed to refine his music to match EDM’s staggering rise but now as the genre appears to be diminishing, he appears to have taken a new direction. Opting for a more relaxed dance sensation, Feels is about living in the current moment and enjoying the present rather than looking back on mistakes. The slinking groove of the track allows Pharrell to shine with his sunshine vocals whilst Katy Perry’s chorus appearance is nothing spectacular yet still enjoyable. Harris opts to switch the beat for Big Sean’s verse, choosing a deeper bass whilst slowly weaving in a stylish bass line. The rappers verse is well crafted and touches on the dilemmas of starting a new relationship. Whilst there might always be issues with relationships, the Scottish DJ wants to show that it’s better living in the moment than looking back on the past.
George Ezra – “Don’t Matter Now”
This week sees one of Britain’s most loved singer-songwriters, George Ezra, return with new music for the first time since 2014. As the first single from his second studio album, Don’t Matter Now is a relaxing and upbeat ditty, perhaps a more cheery Jack Johnson than darker Jake Bugg styled track. Written in Barcelona, the track is much deeper than what the light exterior of the track displays. Opening line “Sometimes you need to be alone” highlights the need to be honest with personal feelings and Ezra revealed that the song was written as a reminder that sometimes you can’t control everything that goes on in the world. A charming return single, Don’t Matter Now sees a smooth saxophone oozing through the chorus, which combines beautifully with Ezra’s distinctive bass vocals. Whilst Ezra has had to face up to the harshness of current affairs, it seems that he’s joyously picked himself back up.
Coldplay – “All I Can Think About Is You”
Having outlasted numerous rumours of a potential hiatus alongside a significant shift in musical direction, Coldplay are still one of the most dominant machines in music. Returning this week with a surprise track All I Can Think About Is You, Chris Martin and co have managed to demonstrate one of their most impressive all-round tracks. The extended instrumental introduction is reminiscent of The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony and once Chris Martin’s finally make an appearance we’re treated to beautifully slow and steady lines that sound more poetic than anything the band have produced in recent years. A romantic lamentation that builds towards the end into an atmospheric ending of celebration, there are hints of early Coldplay within the piano line. Whilst their recent music has been more directed to the changing pop market, the track encapsulates elements of the four piece from across their staggering career.
DJ Khaled Feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts”
Hispanic textures caress the latest track by the notorious DJ Khaled, who manages to pull of one of his biggest collaborations to date in latest track Wild Thoughts. As expected, the vocals of Rihanna bring a seductive and sultry notion of power to the track whilst current rap hero Bryson Tiller’s flow is admirable amongst the subtle twists of Spanish guitar. A cleverly produced track which allows a strong guitar riff to cut through the chorus, DJ Khaled has managed to prove that there is more to his skillset than just producing hip hop and pop bangers, but nevertheless Wild Thoughts will be a banger in its own right.
Dizzee Rascal – “Space”
One of the UK’s best rappers over the last decade, DIzzee Rascal returns to Grime for the first time since 2003 on new track Space. A heavy bass provides the main musical arrangement whilst Dizzee’s verses flow with such ease and style. There’s something marvellous in hearing this side to the rapper return. All traces of pop have been banished and replaced by a more unsettling style of rap. Line “Ain’t no point in playing it safe” sums up perfectly the change in style, and whether the choice was made due to Grime’s majestic resurgence, who knows, but we’re glad he’s back.
Blonde Feat. Astrid S – “Just For One Night”
Bristol house duo Jacob Manson and Adam Englefield aka Blonde have already had three Top 20 tracks since 2015. This week sees the duo team up with rising Norwegian singer Astrid S on Just For One Night, a dynamic track that blends influences from house, dance and pop music. Whilst there’s the stereotypical dance chorus buildup, the drop sees a surprise element of complexity come into play. Astrid S’s golden textured vocals are boosted by the duo’s decision to leave enough space in the synth line. Lyrics “If she was too cold to leave you kind / Can you forget her, look into my eyes / Just for one night” look positively towards the future and altogether the mix makes a charming and romantic dance track.
Eliza and the Bear – “Higher”
Having faded towards the end of last year just as they looked to be breaking through to be one of the UK’s most exciting new bands, London band Eliza & The Bear return with their first new track of 2017 Higher, which signifies a dramatic shift in direction. Their feel-good, communal indie rock sound gets blown out of the water with the first bar of the new track which hits you with complete surprise. Opting for a completely pop filled sound, the track raises eyebrows but come the end of the first verse, all doubts are cast aside and replaced with the infectious quality of the brass dominated chorus. A Nile Rogers-esque riff injects an addictive groove which becomes impossible not to enjoy. It’s shameless but brilliant pop from the London band, who have opted to take an admirably insane shift in direction for their second record.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Fickle Friends – “Glue”: Trance-like synths pulsate on this electro-pop bouncer by Brighton indie pop band Fickle Friends. Similar to the arena level synth pop of CHVRCHES and Prides, Glue’s addictive nature makes it impossible to dislike.
James Gillespie – “Don’t Let Me Get Me”: Dark and rugged cover of P!nk’s original track from the gravel toned London folk singer which highlights his craft of experimenting with sounds whilst remaining a voice more mature than his age.
Imagine Dragons – “Walking The Wire”: A simple arrangement from the Las Vegas giants on the pop friendly track which uses their typically huge choruses alongside raw and impressive vocals. Connecting more with the romantics amongst us, Walking The Wire pushes the band right into the pop spectrum of music.
Tom Speight – “My My My”: Warm, campfire-esque track from another brilliant rising singer-songwriter. There is an uplifting quality to the track, a celebration of love and life that resonates with the likes of The Lumineers and Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros. There’s an unpolished quality to My My My which gives it a communal feel, helped by the layered backing vocals towards the ending. An accomplished single from a singer to keep an eye on.
Jax Jones Feat. Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don – “Instruction”: Fierce dance giant from English DJ Jax Jones, who enlists US pop star Demi Lovato and Birmingham MC Stefflon Don create a commanding and confident anthem. There’s bucket loads of swag from the vocals whilst musically the track shifts between club floor filler and tropical heavyweight.