Singer-songwriter Sia has released a new single ‘Bird Set Free’ and has informed us that her new album This is acting will be out on January 29th. The Ozzy has become a well-known pop artist for her unusual approach to sticking behind the scenes and her voluminous belting vocals.
The track commences with a solemn piano and in great Sia tradition, tells a story of struggle. The emotional ballad was written in collaboration with lady of the moment, Adele, originally intended to feature on the Brit Legend’s future album.
Sia wails of sympathetic contradiction “Clipped wings, I was broken free…had a voice but I could not sing” but the question is, is the haunting ‘Bird Set Free’ written about Sia or Adele?
Two outstanding young British artists Mura Masa and Shura join forces to bring us the dreamy ‘Love For That’. The track begins with a solemn combination of violin and an earthy Pocahontas vibe of a flute. Shura’s hushed vocals speak of potential heartbreak whilst complimenting the artfully arranged background, Shura confesses “I need some time from you to know if this is best for us” before a deep voice interrupts “London, let me see your lighters” adding a refreshing twist to a song about love. “Love for that” is a precise and clean track that has evidently been moulded and sculpted into a unique arrangement of organic bells and strings as well as a pleasant absence of a heavy beat that most dance tracks can’t go without.
Phoenix’s auburn adolescent Kacy Hill has recently released her debut album Bloo after being signed to Kayne West’s iconic label G.O.O.D.Music. The EP features ‘Foreign Fields’, an organic track representing perfected minimalism. The American singer song-writer haunts the track with her dreamy vocals whist in juxtaposition with the frequent clapping in each verse, the tune feels unbalanced but still manages to work beautifully. Hill has managed to make such a complex song sound so effortless. For example, the scattered piano and subtle cracking in the background appears accidentally genius.
“I make music you don’t know about” states the intellect in her twitter bio, I predict that’s going to change soon.
Renowned R&B favourites Tinashe and Chance The Rapper grace Snakehips’ new subdued track ‘All My Friends’. The London duo have crafted a mellow track with an innovative concept, the bitter-sweet feeling of the party scene. Tinashe describes herself as the “only human in the heaving heat of the animals” in the first verse. The psychedelic mood makes the track outrageously tangible, making you immediately envision a dizzy club scene. Tinashe and Chance The Rapper come together for the catchy chorus, exclaiming “All my friends are wasted and I hate this club…” in company with the occasional shimmering base. The feel-good anthem is sure to contradict itself by being played in the majority of most clubs in the near future.
Gwen Stefani has shared a second single from her upcoming album This Is What The Truth Feels Like (out March 16th). ‘Make Me Like You’ is a revitalizing pop track about her new relationship with country singer Blake Sheldon after a long-term break up. The track arises with twinkly Stefani harmonies before her characteristic vocals thump in with “I was fine before I met you.” Stefani is expressing her wary feeling of trusting someone new. The indie icon turned pop artist is now churning out fun bubble gum pop with a Katy Perry/ early Kylie vibe. ‘Make Me Like You’ is a velvety with a simplistic fluffy form, overall an easy listen to transform your mood.
Swedish contemporary artist Ellinor Olovsdotter (better known as Elliphant) has vaulted between different dance subgenres and has plateaued at Living Life Golden; a jagged album that is inconsistent in its quality. For the most part it is a respectable Electro Pop album but there are definite hiccups.
The opening track ‘Stepdown’ is far more docile than Elliphant’s regular style, it feels alien compared to the rest of the album. Her grainy disjointed vocals bluntly suggest: “Why don’t you just step down from your high?”. The track was produced by Joel Little who was abundantly involved in Lorde’s Heroine, yet the only comparison being both of their feisty personas.
The Swede jumps from intonations and tempos throughout, tracks from “Not Ready” to “Love Me Long” (feat Major Lazer and Gyptian) have a more reggae feel that I would advise Elliphant to stick to.
Regrettably I lose interest in the middle where it all gets a bit tedious. “Spoon Me” is a far more dance fuelled track, which is no surprise considering the Skrillex collaboration. A trippy base and shadowy sonics are fluent throughout the constant references of “spooning” and “touching the booty.”
The album ends on a high, there is an exotic jungle-like feel with the use of tribal drums and finally Elliphant is taking advantage of her raw Scandinavian vocals in the track “Living Life Golden”.
Stockholm-based producer NEIKED has dropped ‘Sexual’ (clever or corny?) prior to two singles that earned him a Spotify Spotlight nomination.
It’s safe to say this track has no deep hidden meanings – it simply explores the sexual attraction between two people. Airy vocals poise the expressive filled song as the unnamed vocalist bluntly announces; “I’m feeling sexual, we should be sexual'”. The frank message juxtaposes the nonchalant melody causing a carefree state of mind for the listener.
The track reaches a new level before the penultimate chorus, when a high-pitch tune that is familiar to a distorted saxophone is thrown in, making the track far more distinctive whilst adding to the narrative, as if it is the moment when two people have finally got together.
NEIKED is quickly distinguishing his style through his use of highly auto tuned instrumentals in addition with old school aspects that listeners can’t get enough of.