Wasted On You
Morgan Wallen

A change of pace today as we recommend a wistful country music track from a name we hadn’t heard of until the last fortnight. Judging by his 11 million monthly Spotify listeners, we might be among the last to catch on, but if you’re in the same boat, you have to hear Morgan Wallen’s letter of regret to an ex.

With an opening that could define the term ‘while my guitar gently weeps’ and a grit and a twang in his voice that pinpoints the genre immediately, Wasted On You also incorporates mainstream pop melody (you might imagine Hozier singing this also) to great effect, the chorus being a list of regrets that hits the same notes on a loop and sounds almost longer each time you hear it - a clever device. The harmonies on the chorus are beautiful, too, as if it’s actually one of those family country bands singing in tandem but is really just one amply mulleted gentleman.

It’s a story we can all relate to, perhaps not identically - we don’t all own a Chevy - but the person for whom you can do everything and it still not be enough. And especially the part about getting to the end of your tether and just pouring yourself a drink. Morgan, when you’ve exhausted time, money and prayer, we support your choices.

Country music doesn’t get much of an outing in the UK, but this is accessible, melodic, well constructed and catchy, and we recommend you giving it a shot (not just one of bourbon)

For fans of: Chris Stapleton, those moments in John Mayer songs where he fiddles with his guitar for a while in the middle, being better than your ex and being confident enough to say it.

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Pale Waves

Sounding like it’s soundtracking an early noughties rom-com and somehow managing to sound a bit like Andrea Corr belting out an early Avril Lavigne classic, you have to hear the latest ear candy from the wonderful Pale Waves.

There’s an angelic pop quality that doesn’t match the slightly grungy aesthetic - which makes everything all the more fascinating - and a euphoric chorus that bursts forth with brightness, hope and tales of love without limits. This is absolutely a song that many people will be able to call ‘our’ song. It has a beautiful innocence to it we just adore.

‘Oh my God, I don’t believe, how can it be? That you’re alive the same time as me’ is a lyric that probably we don’t often stop to ponder. We might think how lucky we are to exist in a time period with a great politician or musical legend, but how often do we thank our stars to be existing in the same era as those in our closest vicinity?

It’s a straight talking love song, set to the catchiest of guitar backings, with a huge explosion of positivity at its centre that sounds like it could come straight off the ‘She’s All That’ (insert any classic rom com here) soundtrack. You know, the part of any of those movies where theres a Prom scene and ‘the moment’ happens soundtracked by an upswell in music and mood. That. Truly.. what’s not to love?

For fans of: The Aces, first wedding dance songs that aren’t Ed Sheeran ballads, LGBTQ+ ICONS

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Pick Up Your Feelings
Jazmine Sullivan

You might well know the name from the megahit Bust Your Windows (though you should know that beyond that she has three flawless and varied records to her name) but you have to hear Jazmine Sullivan at her soul roots best with this offering from new EP Heaux Tales

One of the least risqué tracks on an EP that is largely about securing the bag and securing the D, this song is a big middle finger to a man who has wronged her one too many times and is fresh out of chances. Set to a sultry slow jam which is in no rush and has absolutely nowhere to be, Jazmine’s rich, deep tones have room to play and space to breathe.

The runs are remarkable, the riffs insane (though these are no new feature in Sullivan’s work) and the build from the deep part of her range to the absolutely letting rip in the latter choruses is a joy to watch, even if she is telling you to pack up and get the fu*k out.

There are few people smoother or more soulful in the game and on this release she dedicates time to proving that, her live acoustic recording of it being honestly.. an even better and more powerful vocal. Top of the game stuff.

For fans of: H.E.R, JoJo in her latest sexed up iteration, riffs and runs longer than the M6

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Julie Bergan

We don’t know where Julie Bergan came from (well we do, Norway, but you know what we mean) but we do know one thing… we are super glad that she has arrived! And you have to hear her banging ode to taking charge (no, it’s not about popping to Aldi with no knickers on)

Production and delivery sounding both like she’s been doing it decades and simultaneously fresh as hell, the pop banger uses a distorted ‘eh eh’ vocal to act as the basis for the track (even in the chorus sounding like it’s part of a call and reply with Julie herself) which recalls dance bangers from the likes of MEDUZA but keeps an unashamed pop twist throughout.

Our favourite part is the acoustic guitar fake out before the second chorus, when you might be led to think there’s about to be a calmer moment, only to be smacked over the head with the full effects of the monster chorus seconds later.

It’s sexy, it’s slinky, it’s sultry and it’s ‘won’t waste no tears on old mistakes’ mantra carries a warning for anybody who doesn’t make the time for her that she deserves, a lead we could all follow. A lot to pack in for a track that clocks in at 2 minutes 20!

And at just 29 minutes we recommend you listen to the full HARD FEELINGS album because it all absolutely slaps!

For fans of: Scandipop, not being messed around by some little man, amazing things in little packages

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Wild Youth
Champagne Butterflies

It’s the weekend, we all just want to chill out, so let us present to you the perfect pairing for your ears, an easy breezy funk-lite offering from Irish four piece Wild Youth that you have to hear.

Starting off as a fairly straightforward song - a declaration of love set to a restrained pop track (drums almost pulsing beneath the top line in the same way as if you were having a boogie in the alley outside the club), it hits a peak as early as the first chorus when the production hits its most sparse moment and the track is sustained by the most glorious multi-layered harmony vocal over a lone funky bass line.

Oh, the harmonies! This is really where the strength lies and what makes this group stand out, but the euphoric post-chorus explosion (that pretty much extends the finish line) sprinkled with liberal falsetto doesn’t harm either. We aren’t talking full Pentatonix here, if the phrase ‘acapella album’ makes you wish for mandatory self-isolation then you have no need to fear, but the vocals are strong and distinct enough to sound really solid in harmony and are paired intelligently with the music to allow them to really shine and be heard.

Bold, colourful, bright, unashamed pop music that doesn’t ever venture into fromage territory.

For fans of: Nick Jonas, playing that funky music white boys, popping a bottle for the flimsiest of reasons

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