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First Impressions: FKA twigs, Macklemore, Miike Snow And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/23/2016

First Impression1

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Shura, FKA twigs, Azealia Banks, Miike Snow, Macklemore and Mossy

Shura
Touch (Feat. Talib Kweli)

Sean Singh: This one’s a re-release that was given the Kweli treatment, and I definitely prefer the original. I far from dislike Kweli, but his contribution seems formulaic. That aside, it’s honest, emotive, and the ‘love has no boundaries’ presentation of the video is current. Side note, is this Kweli’s B.O.B. moment? 2.5

Courtney Worrell: Shura is always so hit and miss for me. This track definitely has potential but the only memorable part is Kweli’s verse, even then I think that is just because his vocals juxtapose the music a bit more than Shura’s vocals. There is so much musically in here that makes the music itself interesting especially during the chorus but it’s still a bit meh. My favorite bit is the video, that says it all. 2

Sam Murphy: I am a little bit confused as to why this is being released again but as long as it gets more attention the second time around I’ll be happy. I instantly loved this song when I heard it the first time because it was so intimate and subtle but at the same time really affecting. Nothing has changed with this version. Kweli’s verse is as gentle as it needs to be and doesn’t detract from what Shura’s already set up herself. 4

FKA twigs
Good To Love

Sean: FKA Twigs’ voice is hypnotic, and this track puts you in a headspace that bridges love and desperation. Listen to this one privately, when you can hit pause on life and feel what she’s singing, both lyrically and melodically. 4 Sean’s Pick

Courtney: I just can’t with FKA twigs. I know she is talented but how is her voice/music that much different from people like Birdy? This sounds like every other FKA twigs song, good but nothing amazing. 2

Sam: To me there is no artist right now as good as FKA twigs. Everything from the production to the melodies to the visual has her stamped all over it and she’s doing some of the most mind blowingly creative stuff around right now. This track is so interesting because it strips her of all the intricate, innovative production she usually trades in and instead gives us a simpler aesthetic. And yet she just creeps into the heart with starkly intimate lyrics and a melody that’s hard to predict where it’s going next. Same goes with the visual. She takes a simple scene and manages to inject it with little oddities and unusual camera work that subtly takes it from something simple into something spectacular. I couldn’t love her work more. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Azealia Banks
The Big Big Beat

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/azealia-banks/1800bigbigbeat[/soundcloud]

Sean: If I had never seen Azealia Banks in the media, I’d love her a lot more. But I have, so I don’t. Looking past that, she’s talented and I’d listen to this. But that’s all I have to say aside from that I could live without seeing her name again. 3

Courtney: I too hate the person that is Azealia Banks. That aside I get total 90’s club vibes from this track and can picture many a people tripping out to this at da clubs, I’d trip out to this at da club 3.5

Sam: Every time she steps close to the edge she manages to pull her back. I was a huge fan of Broke With Expensive Taste but was a little turned off by some of her work on Twitter. Yet, once again I’m creeping back to the Banks train thanks to this delicious slice of detroit house. Aside from maybe Goldlink, there are no rappers marrying electronica with hip-hop as successfully as Banks is and this song is her doing it best. She oscillates between singing and rapping, bringing jazz-infused tones at times. An excellent return to form. 4

Miike Snow
The Heart Of Me

Sean: Oh, this one is like musical sorbet. I can see this in a euphoric post-festival wrap video so on that note, hey Splendour, tell us Miike Snow are on the bill? 3

Courtney: When I listen to this song I imagine myself having free reign in a candy store or an ice cream parlour and that visual makes me very happy. I’m not a huge Miike Snow fan but I like this. It’s so fun and vibrant, I feel like I have synesthesia, I’ve always wanted synesthesia so thank you Miike Snow. 4

Sam: Excuse me while I pause my one thousandth listen to Genghis Khan to listen to this. The journey to III has been an interesting one for me. I thought Heart Is Full was a bit of a bore and that Genghis Khan was a spectacular return to Animal-era form. This one is half way for me. Melodically, it’s really delectable but the instrumental breaks just detract from its flow and pull us away from what is otherwise a great pop song. Maybe if the instrumental fodder was replaced by a stronger chorus I’d be on board. 3

Macklemore
Buckshot

Sean: My favourite thing about Macklemore is that he can cop so much flack from the hip hop community but loop legends like KRS One and DJ Premier on a track. I’m a fan of this, and the story Buckshot paints. Take it to the streets, Mack. 3.5

Courtney: Macklemore’s voice makes everything magic. He just has this timbre that I can’t help but love, it’s like Morgan Freeman’s when he narrates a space documentary. The beat on this is so OG and KRS One absolutely decimates during his verse. I feel like even Ice Cube could roll up with this track playing. 4.5 Courtney’s Pick

Sam: Macklemore is the type of person who would take to Facebook to complain about Australia Day only to happily take the day off and throwback beers with his friends. It just feels like he’s consistently picking up a new issue that he can vaguely touch on before he moves onto another novelty track. This one sits somewhere in between the two. It’s half about his “struggle” and half mindless lyrical fodder. The real clincher is when he says, “Imma paint a better world until the cans are empty.” Honestly, are you fucking kidding me? I don’t care how many people he gets on a track. He could get Tupac and J Dilla together and I’d still turn a blind eye. 1

MOSSY
Electric Chair

Sean: I think when people catch on to Mossy, he’ll blow, and we’re not far from that. He fits nicely into the slot on I OH YOU left when Snakadaktal disbanded, without overlapping. Call me a fan, plus I dig Kris Moyes’ work on the video. 3.5

Courtney: DAMN IT! I heard that dirty bass at the beginning of this and thought F Yes! but then that annoying synth came in and made me want to tear my headphones off. There just feels like there is too much happening on this for me to concentrate, someone send drugs so I can understand this song. 2

Sam: Yeah the bass line at the start of this is dirty as hell and I agree with Courtney, I like it more than the synth but I think it all makes sense once the vocal comes in. It’s weird and off-kilter but he manages to deliver this really beautiful melody. He reminds me of Kevin Parker in the way that he is able to tear his vocals apart with reverb and distortion but maintain a certain element of pop sensibility to it. 4

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