Crash and Burn
Maggie Lindemann

If you haven’t heard from Maggie Lindemann since 2017’s Pretty Girl then you may a) be surprised at the pop punk direction of this new release and b) have to concede that she was truth telling in the main refrain of that hit single. Back and hard hitting in 2020, you have to hear her rip roaring new single.

Evoking and packing the musical punch of mid noughties Paramore (the backing is very ‘Misery Business’/‘Riot’ era Hayley et al), this is two and a half minutes of pedal to the metal - from very literally second one this has a fury and an energy that never lets up, and various moments of great fast paced drum work in particular.

Maggie’s vocals are fantastic, the verses (and bridge in particular) showcasing deep, angsty tones which is in contrast to the chorus where she belts out higher, more colourful and almost more desperate - as she begs the person who has walked away with not so much as an explanation to talk it out with her.

Highlights include the lyric ‘you thought I was the killer…. you’re looking in the mirror’ and a ‘wooooooooah’ middle eight that was born for the purpose of a stadium full of fans singing it out - hopefully Maggie is on her way to that becoming reality.

For fans of: Chvrches, the Fueled By Ramen roster in 2008, songs that would make a belting addition to a spin class

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Black Hole
Griff

‘There’s a big black hole where my heart used to be, and I tried my best to fill it up with things I don’t need’ sings exciting pop newcomer Griff on the heartbreak anthem that you have to hear today - a lyric that continues a trend of relatable, gut punch levels of post-relationship longing.

It’s conversational, but it’s deep. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s casual. And there’s a great juxtaposition between the chirpy Casio Keyboard/Mario Video Game soundboard and the sadness in the lyrics (though there is a big moody bridge where the lyrics and the feeling intertwine) - like painting on a smile with clown make up.

The song puts us in mind of Ava Max - but with some restraint. What we mean by that is that this is pop music and unashamedly so, driven by strong melody, just with less of a ‘throw absolutely everything at it’ approach - a bit more subtlety, a bit more cool, but absolutely still a big pop record.

Off the back of breakthrough ballad Love Is A Compass, Griff is proving she can master multiple tempos, styles and moodboards - and we’re excited to watch her grow.

For fans of: RAYE, pretending that you’re over it and absolutely not being over it, exciting New Pop Females.

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Don’t Speak
Dark Heart

If you took our advice yesterday to keep the weekend vibes going, you’ll be pleased to know that today’s recommendation sees us reliving Saturday nights in a basement club with a moody, dark dance anthem from Dark Heart that you have to hear

Led by a sultry male vocal through the verses, the chorus is mirrored by a female slash falsetto slash pitched up vocal which works to great effect. Where some house and dance tracks fall flat for us is that while there’s a great beat, there’s also a monotony, like a government cabinet minister giving a briefing, and it just doesn’t keep you excited. Here, Dark Heart paints with colour - resulting in a heavily melody driven banger, much to our delight.

Where the ‘I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna know’ refrain on loop acts as the hook and an earworm, it’s the expansion on the same idea with the ‘I don’t wanna know where you’ve been, or you’ve gone’ chorus that proves super satisfying melodically. Playing out over a heavy bassline, this ticks all our relevant boxes and plays out like we’re bathing in music, the kind of song that is so big and full that you can feel it taking over you entirely.

There’s build, there’s bass, there’s the promise of a pint in hand in a pitch black party and we are here for all of it.

For fans of: Tiësto, dingy but amazing basement clubs where the music bounces off the walls, partying even though the world is going to shit

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Weekend Vibe
Jubël

Don’t want it to be Monday again tomorrow? Well, nothing we can do about that I’m afraid but what we can do is link you up with some people who feel the same! Keep the weekend chill going with this track you have to hear from Swedish duo Jubël!

It all starts on quite a simple acoustic level, just a JT-style ‘cool guy’ vocal over the plucking of guitar strings, but within seconds we are in driving down a coastline in the summer with your windows down (or with no roof on the car at all, treat yourself) territory. So fresh, so chill, so relaxed.

The twenty second mark sees the introduction of beat, of brass, of the bashing of keys, and we are up a notch. The track never goes into full kitchen sink mode, there is always an element of restraint that keeps things cool, it’s more ‘playing at a beach club’ than it is ‘all night rave’ but its upbeat, bright and made for sunny climes*.

*and if you can’t get there, then for blasting out in your flat on a Sunday evening while sat in front of the radiator.

‘Skip the Monday and Tuesday, right, I wanna stay on that weekend vibes’ might have been a better motto when we could more easily tell the days apart and they didn’t all blur into one, but it can be something we take into the latter half of 2021 perhaps - and may we emerge from our respective lockdowns as ice cool as this track!

For fans of: Charlie Puth on a dance music hype, things that are big, bold and brassy, being somewhere f*cking warm.

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It’s a Sin
Years & Years

On the day we finally get to see the premiere of the Russell T. Davies drama of the same name, you have to hear this reimagining of a Pet Shop Boys classic by cast member Olly Alexander and his group Years and Years.

You might expect based on the bands usually upbeat, euphoric output that they might have matched the disco vibes of the original or even gone bigger, brasher and bolder. Instead, this is a stripped back piano version that forces you to consider the lyrics more then you perhaps ever have before.

It’s a lyric that most queer people can probably in some respect relate to - the idea that what they were taught is ‘correct’ is something that they didn’t live up to, and that as a result the life decisions they ended up taking were those to be ashamed of. That the Yellow Brick Road they eased on down was the ‘wrong’ one based on heteronormative societal standards, and that even though these choices were the ones necessary to be made to be authentic, they were at the same time, sins.

If anyone is reading this and still feels that way, please know, being your authentic self is the most ‘correct’ decision you can make, and other people’s opinions are merely that.

It sits in Olly’s vocal sweet spot, he sounds beautiful against the simple piano backing in what must rank as one of Years and Years most melancholic moments. There’s a real honesty here too, even though we know he didn’t write the lyrics, there’s a distinct connection to them. Everything is impeccably done.

We stay very excited for the series this evening and this stunning lead in is a lovely little bonus.

For fans of: Sam Smith in their ballad days, a lyric with real meaning, holding up a mirror to the past then crying.

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