Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue have announced their respective new albums, Troye Sivan made his comeback, Rita Ora is taking over the charts and Cardi B is still, everywhere. For some reason all the pop queens have decided that a country sound is the way to go at the moment and I am waiting for one of them to release an absolute banger and pave a new path.
On another note, the Grammy and Brit Awards are quickly approaching, and it will be interesting to see who will clean up. My money is on Kendrick and SZA who I think will come out strong. But anything could happen as last week we saw Camila Cabello release her predictable but promising debut album as well as new singles from some chart favourites.
ALBUM REVIEW: Camila Cabello – Camila
In 2017 we saw Camila Cabello depart Fifth Harmony to launch her solo career and whilst it may have been a slow start she had an incredible end to the year with “Havana” going number one all over the world. Her appropriately titled debut album “Camila” boasts 10 personal tracks that explore love, loss, heartbreak and growth. Opening with current single “Never Be The Same”, the synth and drum ballad looks at falling in love with someone and being forever changed by the impact they had on you. She continues to hit you in the feels with the minimalistic and impressive ballads “All The Years”, “Consequences” and “Real Friends”.
But not all the ballads are slam dunks with “Somethings Gotta Give” becoming bit forgettable. She then injects her Latin vibes with the smash hit “Havana” and continues them with the enjoyable “She Loves Control” and “Inside Out’. But “Into It” becomes the seductively driven pop track that you didn’t realise you needed so badly in your life. She croons through the verses to give you this empowerful hook which is sexy and strong and will be instantly stuck in your head. This album is a very strong debut for an artist who had a lot of criticism for leaving the hit girl group. While it may not be absolutely perfect and does have a couple of skip worthy moments it’s still very much worth a listen even if it’s just purely to hear “Into It”.
SINGLE REVIEW: Kylie Minogue – Dancing
Kylie Minogue is back! And that should be a really exciting sentence however her lead single “Dancing” from her forthcoming fourteenth studio record “Golden” is a little underwhelming. The country tinged pop-dance crossover sounds like an Avicii song from 2011 and that isn’t a compliment. Usually Kylie is ahead of the game and delivers massive lead singles, but this song just lacks the wow factor you want and need from the songstress.
Kicking the track off with a guitar she shows a vulnerable side to her vocals which are usually hidden behind oozing synths. However, as the song progresses the EDM production starts getting more prominent until a recycled beat drop is introduced during the chorus. It’s quite anti-climactic and you are waiting for a Rita Ora “Anywhere” esq moment but instead you get an Avicii moment. SNORE. The song looks at living your best life and just having a good time because you never know when it will end. A little dark in places but it has a very cute and empowering sentiment. It does eventually grow on you (slightly) with the chorus annoyingly getting stuck in your head. But for the record, it’s no “Into The Blue” or “All Of The Lovers” which were both killer lead singles.
SINGLE REVIEW: Troye Sivan – The Good Side
It’s only been a week since Troye Sivan released his comeback single “My My My” and he is already delivering us another track to thank his fans for being so patient while waiting for new music. “The Good Side” is a vulnerable and emotional ballad that show’s a tender side to Sivan compared to the empowering synth pop his lead single offered. This track explores the break-up he went through while recording and touring his debut album and serves as an open letter to the guy asking for an apology. He recognises that he got the good side of the break up because he got to tour the world and perform songs that were written about him night after night which served as a unique therapy. He apologises and sympathises over how hard it would have been and hopes that one day this song will serve as bridge to start a friendship again. The simplistic ballad is beautiful and is the perfect polar opposite to the lead single. The production continually grows with synthesisers and mellow beats being added. It shows a deeper vulnerability that his fans fell in love with on his debut record. It’s a very personal song that will touch a lot of people instantly and will slowly grow on others in time.
SINGLE REVIEW: Rudimental feat Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen - These Days
Rudimental is responsible for some of the catchiest drum and bass and electronica crossovers of the past six years. The band is currently working on their third studio album and they've teamed up with Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen for their euphoric second single. "These Days" is a feel good anthem which looks at being thankful for the relationship you had with someone and hoping that one day you could be friends again and look back at the memories you shared together. Macklemore opens the song with a honest and reflective intro which perfectly sets the mood and allows Dan Caplen to take over the verses while Jess Glynne soars during the chorus. Macklemore then returns at the end to deliver one of his signature raps. It's been produced very well and returns to their original sound that they introduced on their debut album with a little extra pop polish. The chorus will instantly be stuck in your head and will have you hitting replay quickly.
SINGLE REVIEW: Betty Who – Ignore Me
After releasing her sophomore record “The Valley” early last year, Betty Who decided it was time to part ways with her record label and go independent. This decision came from the songstress deciding she wanted to have more creative control over the music and the frequency that her fans got to hear new material. So, she’s kicked off 2018 in a massive way with a vibey new single before embarking on a massive final tour before she says farewell to “The Valley” era.
“Ignore Me” perfectly continues the production and emotion her last record created with a more experimental layer. The DIY feel of the song stems from the dreamy synthesisers that lead the verses and continually grow depth throughout the song. Lyrically she reflects on a break up where the person is trying to crawl back into her life a year later and she wants none of it. The slightly sassy and empowering track will have you feeling emotional and fiery all at once. It grows on you with each listen and is a strong indication of the material we will receive from her now that she has full creative control, which is very exciting.
SINGLE REVIEW: The Chainsmokers – Sick Boy
It comes by no surprise that I think The Chainsmokers are a bit of a joke. The EDM duo have made a career out of recycling the same beats and making commercially ready pop crossover tracks. They’ve become the master of gimmicks so every time I see their name I can’t help but eye roll. However, they’ve stated that 2018 will see them rebranding their sound and heading towards a darker production and they have actually followed through with that statement. Well, for now anyways.
“Sick Boy” hears them ditching their usual formula and offering moodier beats along with a radio ready hook that will still hear them receiving heavy rotation. Lyrically they combine political undertones with a sense of irony while debating between the two mindsets and values of the east and west coasts of America. It’s a strange concept that surprisingly works. It will instantly get stuck in your head and you will find yourself singing along without hesitation. It’s not cheesy unlike their previous material and that’s what I really appreciate about it. I wonder how long this will last?
SINGLE REVIEW: Justin Timberlake – Supplies
Next month Justin Timberlake will release his fifth studio album “Man Of The Woods” days before his highly anticipated Super Bowl Halftime performance. He’s following that up by kicking off a massive world tour that will have you swooning, dancing and screaming along to his biggest hits. After he dropped the lead single “Filthy” a couple of weeks ago I was quite excited and intrigued by the new DIY sound he’s introduced but his follow up track “Supplies” has got me a bit worried. The RNB influenced track carries on the downbeat production with the big-band funk influence that attempts to uplift the track. However, it just becomes a bit cringe worthy and doesn’t really go anywhere sonically. There’s no smooth or impactful hook nor is there something that will easily get stuck in your head. Instead it kind of does the opposite. Everything about this song makes you want to press skip and not even the try hard “woke” music video can save it.
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Want to listen to some of these songs? Then check out the #BLEACHED playlist on Spotify which is curated each week by Thomas Bleach featuring his favourite new releases.