My Limb
Hayley Williams

Though there were glimpses of other influences in their discography, the songs of Paramore tended to be bold, brash, gutsy, loud and largely commercial. But today you have to hear lead singer Hayley Williams take us off the beaten track to a much quieter, more introspective place with the lead single from her somewhat surprise drop album FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

It speaks to an artists ability to command attention when a chorus consisting of a two word phrase repeated sixteen times is compelling, never boring and the antithesis of generic. Usually we might call it lazy writing, but the melody choices (and how incredibly sexy Hayley sounds when she sings it at its lowest) just make for required listening.

Set to a somewhat eerie backing that originally consists of simple guitar picks over a singular monotone note, it is about just what the title might suggest - losing a limb - and what happens if the part of ‘you’ that you’ve lost is in fact a significant other. ‘I guess we were collateral damage, kissing in the crossfire’ she sings, adding ‘don’t let go’ at various points in the background. It matches the tone of the music aesthetically in that it’s clear it’s written from a pretty dark place. It is the aftermath of a war zone - in song.

It’s somewhat of a puzzle, starting out very sparse, but by the end when the drums, piano and additional guitar are added with the interlocking backing vocals, a really full picture is painted. There’s build, but it’s always a restrained piece of art. Muted, but still absolutely powerful. The kind of thing you have to pay attention to, despite it never doing the most to reach out and grab you.

For fans of: Florence & The Machine, musical melancholy, singers who can show you every moment of the spectrum and do it well.

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what’s the point?
beaux

You might never have heard of beaux before, but you will almost certainly be able to relate to the lyrics of the song you have to hear today, an anthem for Coronavirus times that seems to chart the thought process behind life in lockdown.

It’s not as miserable as it sounds - far from it - there’s a strong tempo throughout, so we aren’t talking downbeat music to cry your eyes out to, but despite that, there’s a very chill vibe, everything quite smooth, a little muted, but still catchy.

It puts us in mind of New Light by John Mayer, a midtempo guitar jam with charm and replay value but without ever popping off or bashing you over the head. To call it background music would be very unfair, but to use it to soundtrack your day as you went on your way with things would be a delight.

Lyrically it touches on going for walks (check), having time to have baths instead of showers (check), and the general frustration of having to play the waiting game (check check check). We haven’t quite got our heads around what seem more personal references in the post chorus, but it is so laden in falsetto goodness that we can enjoy it anyway!

In fact, stick this on while you’re having one of those long baths.. and thank us later!

For fans of: Lauv, the musical equivalent of the smoothest peanut butter, letting all your COVID based frustrations out.

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Animal
Lucy Spraggan

If you haven’t heard of or seen Lucy Spraggan since her appearance on The X Factor 9 (!) years ago, then you may be surprised by the change in her both aesthetically AND stylistically. This new single is a far cry from her guitar-backed, everyday, almost comedic output of back in the day, and it’s so good that you have to hear it.

It’s a strong, fast paced pop song with a catchy chorus melody and Lucy’s northern roots stamped into the sounds of the vocal. Lyrically, it appears to be about being capable of more than others telling you you are - with plenty of animal references to act as analogies. It’s a lyric about stepping out of the darkness and finding your power, and this seems to be an apt descriptor of her own story.

There’s big production, with elements that at times sound exotic/almost Eastern inspired and other times a little eerie, and it’s really nice to hear Lucy in this sort of setting with unusual backing as opposed to just an acoustic guitar. The whole song sounds so full, Lucy sounds strong, defiant and in control.

We defy you to not be singing ‘feed me to the lions, throw me to the wolves’ mere seconds after you’ve heard it. Earworms are not one of the animals that get a name check here - but maybe they should be.

For fans of: Paloma Faith, being able to hear accents and dialects in a vocal, Strong Ass Females Singing Strong Ass Songs.

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Where The Lights Are Low
Toby Romeo, Felix Jaehn & FAULHABER

In the wake of the week where Sea Shanties met Tik Tok and produced a top three UK single (!), we present to you a huge Saturday night banger that flirts within the same realm, but without being anywhere near as…. shiver me timbers. Today you have to hear the new effort from Toby Romeo and friends!

The reason we make the comparison is that the chorus has a definite nursery rhyme quality to it, showcasing a simple but effective earworm melody. The rest of the song offers much more complexity though, with stabs of strings decorating the bridge, deep bass punctuating throughout and plenty of synths. Though it does bring a childlike refrain to the party, it also knows it’s a party and remembers to bring a big dumping of cool too.

It’s a song about… shagging in the dark, basically. The age old tale of saying you aren’t going to go there this time…. and fully going there this time. ‘I can tell your body feel the same, feel the same, put our hands in places we don’t want them to know… come and meet me where the lights are low’. Somebody has the lockdown horn, ladies and gents.

It’s a short little banger clocking in at just over two minutes, but still lodges the chorus in your head and finds enough time to throw around plenty of interesting melody ideas, for sure the kind of song you and your mates would bellow out once the dancefloor is a safe place again!

For fans of: Avicii, having very little self restraint, wanting to get back on a bloody dancefloor.

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The Program
Tom Aspaul & Funk LeBlanc (ft. Madeleine Wood)

Following up one of our top three albums of last year, the fabulous Black Country Disco, Tom Aspaul returns with a slice of the eighties from his upcoming remix album, and you have to hear how slinky and sexy it is!

‘I am the glitch in your program, I won’t be stripped of who I am’ Tom sings over a pulsating drum beat. It’s a song that could have various readings, touching on the ideas of being performing monkeys and being controlled by others - which could read as a letter to a record label. But what’s for sure is it’s core message of authenticity and not being robbed of what makes you unique.

It’s a really interesting lyric, particularly ‘the loudest voice - it has more to hide’, and we always appreciate a song that makes us think about what we are hearing.

On a purely aesthetic level, from the opening triple clap, it is a romp start to finish, but it does have layers, growing from a simple beat and bass verse (with lovely layered harmonies from guest Madeleine) to a more blossomed, fuller production in the pre-chorus and chorus double whammy. And (perhaps unusually for queer pop music?) even packs in a guitar solo for good measure. In a way, it doesn’t let up much - but in the best ways!

For fans of: Years & Years on an Initial Talk vibe, multiple melody ideas whacking you on the head one after t’other, Big Gay Disco Energy.

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