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First Impressions: Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator And More

Written By the interns on 07/19/2017

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 Selena Gomez, Kllo, Empress Of, Lana Del Rey, Cosmo’s Midnight and Tyler, The Creator face the jury.

Selena Gomez – Fetish (Feat. Gucci Mane)

Sam Murphy: I haven’t heard a pop artist in a long time pay such careful attention to wordplay and every single word that goes into making a song. Both this and Bad Liar are so captivating because they take a simple instrumental and pepper it with personality and clever melody. Fetish is so enticing from the first few lines as Gomez wraps her increasingly impressive vocals around some real tongue twisters. It’s just a really clever song that really doesn’t need to do much in order to be successful. 4

Nic Kelly: I love this dark, weird pop phase for Selena – the pace of the wording in the first part of the verses is on a quirk level only Sia was really attempting in the mainstream pop sphere. It’s a perfect follow-on from Bad Liar, the rap verse makes sense contextually and Gucci Mane’s probably the perfect level of unknown in popland to do that verse, it feels like an A&R’s dream of an album to put together. 4.1

Kllo – Virtue

Sam: My immediate reaction with every Kllo drop is to think it sounds like every other Kllo song but as I sit with it longer and I can really see the growth. The beat of this is lovely as always but it’s the lyrics and vocals where I can really see the growth. It’s probably the most soulful thing they’ve ever done and it also has a lyrical intimacy that’s been missing in their previous, vaguer songs. “I cannot count on you to be there with me now,” is a great, forthright line and something I wouldn’t have expected to hear from them in the past. 3

Nic: I was over these Australian duos doing the ‘whispy’ vocal over ‘electronica’ production thing about two years ago, but apparently they’re still trying it. It sounds like every second upload on triple j Unearthed, nothing stands out or excites me, and I really feel this act could easily fade into obscurity with their derivative brand that’s attempting to be edgy. Bonus points for jacking the xx’s On Hold drop though! 1.8

Empress Of – Go To Hell

Sam: Empress Of embraces the popstar within and knocks it out of the park with this one. I love how everything about it is so sweet but then the lyrics are packed full of sass. It’s so subtle and intricate but manages to be so powerful thanks to that hook which is a hearty celebration of proving everyone wrong. Without a doubt, the best single she’s ever released. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Nic: I have this newfound obsession with Dej Loaf & SZA’s brand of pop – it’s a type that’s packed with hyper-specific and snarky lyrics, juxtaposed with really pretty, positive melodies and this invitational tone to it which makes you feel like they’re asking you to sing along. Empress Of joins that club more than she ever has before with this. It’s so much fun. 4.6 Nic’s Pick

Cosmo’s Midnight – Mind Off

Sam: Cosmo’s Midnight have such a strong aesthetic now that you’re never really going to be surprised by what they release. This one really feels like a companion to Mind Off and while that’s ok because History was great, it means this one doesn’t have the same initial impact. It’s still slippery and wet though, in a very PG way, and is likely to swirl around your head for months to come. 3.5

Nic: It’s so simple, it’s so pretty, it’s so the same as their other singles… but it works. It takes a lot to be able to really carve out a style that becomes yours and there aren’t many Australian artists that can say they own a format of production and song structure. Cosmos know how to make great pop songs with just the right amount of edge on them to keep them fresh every time. 3.9

Lana Del Rey – Summer Bummer (Feat. A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti)

Sam: I just love the idea of Lana Del Rey so much that she’s probably never going to put a foot wrong for me. Her relationship with A$AP Rocky is so unexpected but this song proves that despite her very distinctive aesthetic, she’s actually very versatile. She sounds just as great over a Boi-1da beat as she does with Dan Auerbach on production and while those two worlds are so different, she bridges them together with her melodrama and melancholy. She’s in her element here singing of summer love and beaches and she totally benefits from the hip-hop production surrounding her. 4

Nic: Playboi Carti doesn’t even manage a verse in this thing, instead thinking that yelling ‘yup!’ and ‘wut!’ along with the beat constitutes a feature, whilst A$AP just adds to the feeling that this entire song just feels like a masculine mess. Lana ran the show on Lust For Life, and also on Groupie Love with A$AP – it’s not even that she does the most of the vocal work, it’s that the concepts feel owned and ran by her and have the genuine, femme spirit Lana provides to her best music. This is such a disappointment. 1.5

Tyler, The Creator – Boredom

Sam: I’ve always liked Tyler, The Creator as a personality more than I’ve liked his music but I’ve been totally won over by everything from Scum Fuck Flower Boy so far. This is no different. Boredom should induce what its title says because of its sleepy beat but its soulful hook and Tyler’s fast-paced verse make this really intoxicating. His lyrics are also getting deeper and more intimate demonstrated with the line, “I been starting to feel like I don’t know anyone.” He’s growing up. 4

Nic: In case you haven’t heard, Tyler’s a new gay icon, so he automatically gets two points for that! It feels like he’s mellowed a bit on this – it kind of reminds me of when Gambino entered the last album and began playing with more chilled beats that sound best after a couple of doobies. I’m excited to enter this new Tyler phase thinking positively of him and it’s so cool to hear Anna Of The North’s vocals on this too. 3.7

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