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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, November 8, 2019

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

The Chainsmokers, Push My Luck

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1: THE CHAINSMOKERSPUSH MY LUCK: The Chainsmokers drop the sixth single from their forthcoming LP World War Joy with the irresistibly catchy Push My Luck. An electronic ballad, this taps into the tender side of the producing duo, focusing on Drew Taggart’s vocals and some subtle instrumentals. Indeed, there’s barely a back-beat in place, barring some finger clicking. But the club sound that they’re sometimes more synonymous with is missing. And that makes a nice change. Replacing this, instead, is a fragile guitar loop and those finger clicks. As the track progresses, there’s the odd atmospheric synth surge, a mid-track breakdown with warped vocals and a few more beats. But in the main, this is a minimalist offering that endears itself by virtue of its relative simplicity. It’s a love-lorn offering that finds Taggart wanting to take things to the next level with the object of his affection, asking whether he can stay over. It’s sweet, with an element of sexy. And it’s the sound of The Chainsmokers at their most universally appealing.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Mulimba, Damn

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2: MULIMBADAMN: Mulimba (aka Ash Mulimba) releases his explosive debut single Damn and immediately makes you want to pay attention. The London-based singer and former frontman with HAUS is attempting to bring a new raw energy and ferocious attitude to the indie pop scene, combining elements of classic Gorillaz and The Heavy with something that’s resolutely his. Damn drops funky beats, lively piano arrangements, an urgent chorus and the odd sample here and there (“I’m a survivor”, for example). The ‘damn’ of the chorus is dropped in suitably explosive fashion, forcing you to stop and pay attention, much in the same way as one of The Heavy’s funky choruses. But there’s so much going on within the song that there’s always something inventive and genre-flipping to keep hold of your attention. It’s a blast. Speaking about the new single, Ash reflects: “To me, Damn is a reflection on all past times. Good ones and bad ones, it can be a reflection of a relationship, an old childhood memory or friendship, your first day at school, the first gig you went to etc, anything. The point is no matter how bad or how good the past time, you should always remember it because it’s the one of many that have shape you into who are you are today. The artwork resembles a fresh start for me. My friend has a weird obsession with taking pictures of people whilst they’re brushing their teeth and one morning I woke up at a mutual friends’ house and Rae asked if I have my toothbrush, I replied yes, he then grabbed his camera and took the shot. I like it because it was a fresh start to the day, and this single is a fresh start for me.”
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Coldplay, Everyday Life

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3: COLDPLAYEVERYDAY LIFE: “Because everyone hurts, everyone cries, everyone sees the colour in each other’s eyes”… with lines like this, you can probably tell that the latest offering from Coldplay has more in common with REM’s Everybody Hurts than it does some of their more euphoric offerings. This is strictly ballad territory, selling the idea that everyday life can be tough. But there’s a note of optimism, as Chris Martin suggests “you got to keep dancing when the lights go out”. The surrounding instrumentals are suitably low-key, beginning with swirling electronics of the atmospheric, ethereal variety, before the piano kicks in. It’s a thoughtful, considered offering, tailor-made for those ‘cigarette lighter in the air’ moments of old when played live. But it will also resonate with anyone going through their own hard time, offering support and the realisation, perhaps, that we’re all in it together (“what in the world are we going to do? Look at what everybody’s going through. What kind of world do you want it to be? Am I the future or the history?”). With sentiments such as this, it’s also hard not to look at the song as one that takes aim at the wider problems facing our planet, environmentally. Like we said, it’s extremely thought-provoking and – in that context – highly poignant.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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SebastiAn, Sober

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: SEBASTIAN feat. BAKARSOBER: Innovative French artist SebastiAn has released a new video for his latest single, Sober, which features vocals from rising London artist Bakar. The track is taken from his sophomore album, Thirst, which is available now via Ed Banger Records/Because Music. The provocative track is driven by surging electronics and slick beats, with lyrics that border on the melancholic as they contemplate ideas like “no need for your advice to make me tempt fate” or “you always give a fuck about what they say”. It’s the chiming synths that really lend the track its appeal, however, grabbing you from the outset and emerging like some futuristic Vangelis (a la Blade Runner). Produced by world-renowned fashion house Saint Laurent and directed by Saint Laurent Creative Nathalie Canguilhem, the striking video stars French actor Félix Maritaud and SebastiAn. Sections of the video were shot in the Turkish town of Mudurnu, which features row after row of abandoned gothic castles. Nathalie says: “Sober is a visual metaphor for the meandering of the human brain. A sinuous introspection into SebastiAn’s past, lost in the middle of an infinite repetition, stuck in a psychedelic labyrinth, he is persistently drawn to his inner demons and finds himself forced to fight them and himself. Félix Maritaud appears as his malicious body double, the one that he must face to set himself free.” It’s well worth taking the time to check out!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Beck, Dark Days

BECKDARK PLACES: Any new offering from Beck is something worth celebrating… and Dark Places is another highly interesting offering, even though it’s more of a grower than the instantly gratifying likes of Saw Lightning. Melancholy, atmospheric and introspective (“some days, I go dark places on my own… some days I go dark places in my soul” he sings over the chorus), this is nevertheless an excellent showcase for the way in which Beck manages to change tones so effortlessly and remain appealing all the same. A late night vibe pervades, which heightens the dreaminess of the song. Yet, with lyrical observations about the uncertain state of the singer’s mind, there’s that darker undertow that’s in keeping with the song’s title and more reminiscent of Sea Change era Beck. It remains another strong offering from Beck’s forthcoming LP,Hyperspace, which will mark the seven-time GRAMMY-winner’s most collaborative effort to date, featuring co-production from Pharrell Williams, guest collaborators Sky Ferreria, Paul Epworth, Chris Martin, Greg Kurstein and more. The track comes with an equally hypnotic lyric video, directed by Eddie Obrand.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Iggy Azalea, Lola

IGGY AZALEA, ALICE CHATERLOLA: Iggy Azalea’s highly anticipated new single and video Lola, featuring rising UK star Alice Chater, has dropped and it’s a lively fusion of pop, R’n‘B, hip-hop and samples. The sample in question comes the iconic record Mambo Italiano and adds a welcome, fun touch of familiarity, softening some of the more sassy elements and some of the more urban rapped elements. But it’s clear throughout that these two girls are having some fun, the mix of vocals blending seamlessly with rapped and sung elements. The beats are edgy and lend the track atmosphere, which elevates it above the pop norm. But the sample and the playfully delivered chorus, which is high on vocal harmonies, veers the song back into mainstream, radio-friendly territory while adding that Italian/Latin American element that gives it more crossover appeal. It’s a fun listen. Lola is Iggy’s first release since her lauded sophomore album, In My Defense, this past summer.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Sarah Klng

SARAH KLANG – IT’S BEEN HEAVEN KNOWING YOU: Sarah Klang, the self-confessed ‘saddest girl in Sweden’, is celebrating the recent release of her second album, Creamy Blue, with a new video for It’s Been Heaven Knowing You. The song itself is a stripped back ballad, with grandiose string sections, bleeding heart piano, dreamy Americana-tinged guitars, that pays affectionate, yet somehow sad, tribute to a lifelong friendship. The lyrics are delivered with real meaning and should resonate with anyone wanting to celebrate their own lasting friendships. The sedate nature of the track lends it a more melancholy feeling than it probably deserves. But there’s something deeply affecting about it, too. It’s a sincere offering, with an equally appealing video. Talking about the video, Sarah said: “The video is just me and my friend Moa hanging around. We wanted to capture the friendship between us, while doing what we do best – nothing. The director (Marcus Söderlund) had the idea of doing like a modern version of Rebecca and Enid in Ghost World from 2001. We wanted to portray being best friends and also being bored together. Daniel Takács shot it on his old 16mm Bolex camera.” And of the song’s reverb-soaked melancholia, she continues: “For me, the song is about when you know a relationship is ending, and you try your hardest to be kind and gentle. To remember the good things.” The video arrives ahead of the Gothenburg-based alt-pop artist’s debut UK show at The Lexington on December 3, 2019.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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HRVY, Million Ways

HRVYMILLION WAYS: At just 20-years-old, HRVY is already a global star. He has 4.5 million Instagram followers, over 2.3 million YouTube subscribers and more than 850 million combined streams to his name. Now releasing his latest single, Million Ways, it’s easy to see why. The track is a lively, free spirited offering that channels Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran in the way that it creates effortlessly catchy pop confections. This is an ode to love that pleads with its subject to “let me love you, let me love you… got a million ways”. The carefree instrumentals combine melodic electronics and skippy beats, adding to the effervescent nature of the song as a whole. It’s a proper guilty pleasure. Written with JHart and produced by Red Triangle, Million Ways is the type of song that only looks set to broaden HRVY’s appeal further. You’ll be singing along, while dancing giddily, in no time at all.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Green Buzzard

GREEN BUZZARDCLUTTER AND MESS: Sydney based Green Buzzard (aka Paddy Harrowsmith) has released catchy new single Clutter & Mess, the final single to be lifted from his upcoming debut album, Amidst The Clutter & Mess (also out now). Speaking on the release of the new track, Harrowsmith said: “The reason I chose to name the album after this song was for a couple reasons: I felt it completely summed up the mood of the album lyrically – the line “amidst the clutter and the mess” is basically how all of 2017 felt for me. It was a pretty turbulent year. After I wrote this song, it really shaped how I wanted the rest of the album to sound. It was sort of a benchmark for the feeling and mood, a starting point, so it felt right to name the album after it.” The ensuing sound offers a throwback to classic Jesus & Mary Chain at times, with elements of Beck thrown in for good measure. It’s a lively, vibrant offering that combines psychedelia soaked vocals with a livewire guitar that zips in and out like a honey-drunk bee. The retro elements work well in its favour, too. But the song has an urgency and zip that makes it a welcome addition to the current autumn darkness. It’s a fun listen.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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