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First Impressions: Lorde, Major Lazer, Peking Duk And More

Written By the interns on 06/06/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week Lorde, Major Lazer, Fifth Harmony, Duke Dumont, RL Grime and Peking Duk face the jury.

Lorde – Perfect Places

Alistair: Anytime that Lorde brings out a new song it’s a great day. Perfect Places has continued that feeling. Lorde always seems to find the perfect balance between her voice and the backup band, neither of which overpower the other. The hook… I’m sure we can all relate to those words in some shape or form. Exactly like she says “what the fuck are perfect places anyway.” That all comes down to the eye of the beholder doesn’t it. The ending of the song where it’s just Lorde slowing her voice down and the piano accompanying it perfectly creates a huge emphasis on the song. 3.8

Sean: Lorde’s never wrong. Sean’s Pick

Sam: Bloody hell, Lorde is on a roll. There’s something about all the songs she’s released so far that perfectly captures the high and the hangover. Perfect Places oscillates between euphoria and melancholy with a healthy slice of existentialism too. I love that the verses feel spacious and melodic and then it bursts into this somewhat chaotic chorus that’s as if you’re in the middle of the dancefloor, trapped by bodies, hands splayed in the air.  And then the chaos ends and we’re left with Lorde in solitary, coping with the hangover on her own. Perfect. 5 Sam’s Pick

Average Score: 4.26

Major Lazer – Know No Better (Feat. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello & Quavo)

Alistair: Being a huge Major Lazer fan I’m massively disappointed with this latest track of theirs! I’ve just spent the last 8 weeks travelling the United States and their radio stations play the same garbage dance pop songs over and over again, I swear there’s only about 5 or 6 songs in the rotation. I guarantee you this will be there alongside that garbage because it is a garbage song. They have hit their target market of mainstream America that’s for sure. PLEASE Major Lazer I beg you to bring back the dancehall and moombahton sounds on your next track! 0

Sean: I expected more. 1

Sam: I listened to Diplo premiere this on Zane Lowe and I love that he said he had to get Travis Scott to record his verses in the morning so that he’d rap on the beat. I really love hearing Travis like this. It reveals melodic capabilities to his rapping that I never knew existing. As far as I’m concerned, this song is a 5 until the drop hits. It’s been two years since they popularised this drop with Lean On and I feel like it’s time to do better. Apart from that, I’m here for this. 3.5

Average Score: 1.5

RL Grime – Stay For It (Feat. Miguel)

Alistair: I’m guessing that Stay For It will feature on RL’s long awaited sophomore album that will be released in the upcoming months. Beautiful and solid production throughout the whole track. The solid beat that RL has produced is bending genres as per usual. Miguel’s voice is the masterpiece of this track that holds all the pieces of the puzzle together ever so tightly. 4

Sean: Feels phoned in. 1.5

Sam: Miguel is one of the only male vocalists in the world with a voice strong enough to go into battle with an RL Grime beat and match it. The power in these verses is just so overwhelming and I’m actually a fan of the abrasive synth that follows the drop. I am a little concerned that it’s more of the same for RL. There’s not a lot to differentiate this from the material on his debut album but it’s a good song. 3.5

Average Score: 3

Fifth Harmony – Down (Feat. Gucci Mane)

Alistair: Another song for the US radio station rotation list. Looks like a couple songs will finally get the boot! Down and Major Lazer’s Know No Better to replace them. I half expected Gucci Mane’s voice to save this track but it did nothing of the sort. 0

Sean: Bring Camila back. 0.5

Sam: This is the love child of Work From Home and Terror Jr’s Come First but it’s not as good as either of them. It’s a fun bop but beyond that there’s not a lot to really sink your teeth into here. Through no fault of their own, Camila’s departure has left a gaping hole in the group and Gucci Mane sure ain’t gonna fill it. His verse is so watered down and dialled in that it’s laughable. All that said, it’s been in my head for four days now. 3

Average Score: 1.16

Duke Dumont & Gorgon City – Real Life

Alistair: Yesssss this got me moving right from the get go. That house sound of theirs is as prominent as ever. This has all the elements of a good dance track being tightly produced and working well together. The main beat and vocals are easy on the ear yet addictive in a a way that makes you want to dance. I can picture this going off in Ibiza this coming season! 4.5 Alistair’s Pick

Sean: Duke’s on fire #swishswish 3.5

Sam: Honestly, how many times can you recycle the same beat and chuck and chuck a soulful vocal over it? 2013 would really love this but it’s 2017 and both Gorgon City and Duke Dumont have really failed to prove they can give us anything new. Duke’s beat for Swish Swish is definitely better than this and that’s saying something because that song is sure to go down as the year’s most laughable. Another same same house song in the casket. 1.5

Average Score: 3.16

Peking Duk & AlunaGeorge – Fake Magic

Alistair: Surprise surprise AlunaGeorge on yet another dance track. At first I found this song to be quite boring and repetitive but then the last minute of the song seems to pick things up. This saved the song in my eyes. What I really dug was the funkiness of the song that’s created by the slap bass. 2.8

Sean: Funky radio banger 3.5

Sam: I heard Peking Duk play this one out live and it packs some serious energy. It’s just a fun, funky tune that’s probably not going to leave a huge mark on the world but I can enjoy it while it’s here. The wobbly bass in the chorus is bang-on and the horns in the final chorus are triumphant. I just can’t help but feel it’s being a little let down by the over-production on Aluna’s vocals. 3

Average Score: 3.1

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