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First Impressions: Selena Gomez, Years & Years, Playboi Carti And More

Written By the interns on 05/16/2018

A diverse week of new music begs for a diverse set of ratings. This week our writers take on everything from Years & Years to Playboi Carti.

Years & Years – If You’re Over Me

Ti Butler: Why did they lead this era with Sanctify and not this? It’s perfectly fine but I feel like it could go up a level on the chorus. It’s still not as memorable as King. 3.25

Sean Tayler: I’ve never got into Years & Years but I’m impressed enough by this pop ballad to check out the rest of their catalogue. The vocals are very Troye Sivan and I enjoy the guilty tropical instrumentals. Side note: is this the same slap bass that Sylvan Esso use?? This is also the first perfect score I’ve given for a first impression. 5

Sam Murphy: Well, thank God, they still know how to write a massive pop song. Sanctify had me a bit worried but they’re right back on track with this one. It’s full of those classic Y&Y melodies that just drip from one line to the next. It doesn’t try too hard and it doesn’t need too either. 4

Hopium – Sunglasses

Ti: I know this is First Impressions so I’m meant to give my first impressions of a song, but after listening to this the first time, I didn’t really feel anything. After three or four listens though, I decided I liked it. Those horns on the chorus really stand out, and help the song feel really grand. Also, have to make special mention of that video clip – it’s just gorgeous. 3.5

Sean: ‘Sunglasses’ comes across as a weird mix of bedroom pop and moody electropop. It’s not as fluffy or lovable as recent releases of comparison by Zac Sunset, Obseen or Sam Bluer (all worth checking out), but it does have some interesting production that makes the song sound like it’s being heard through a filter. It’s a gimmick, but it saves it. 3

Sam: I truly think Hopium is one of the best writers in Australia and I think that’s going to become more widely known when the EP comes out. He’s got a knack for writing dark, experimental pop songs that feel emotional but also otherworldly. This is a classic example of that and it’s got a huge chorus to boot. 4

Buddy – Trouble On Central

Ti: This is real nice. Pleasant. Cool. 2.75

Sean: Am I listening to an audiobook right now? To me, ‘Trouble on Central’ sounds like a rehash of songs by Lil Uzi and Kendrick and it honestly doesn’t fit together right. I wanted to like this song because the lyrical quality is very strong and it delivers important messages; but as a song, it plays out off-key. 2

Sam: This is so slick, I’m obsessed. I’ve loved everything Buddy has done so far because it feels like he’s in his own lane and still managing to remain diverse. This is his most soulful cut yet and it moves with a certain unreplicable swagger. 4.5

Playboi Carti – Poke It Out (Feat. Nicki Minaj)

Ti: The only redeeming feature of this song is the line where Nicki describes her wifebeater top as “torn like Natalie Imbruglia”. This song is a soulless, forgettable pile of shit. 0.01

Sean: The only Playboi Carti song I’ve heard before this is ‘Summer Bummer’ by Lana del Rey, so this was quite a different vibe. Less is more and I think Playboi Carti could have used less production because it sort of blurs what’s going on. The Nicki verse is fun and it’s nice to hear her have restraint and slow down a little. I’m sure this song will grow on me, but for a first impression. 2.5

Sam: This is so ridiculous and fun, I love it. He’s rapping about next to nothing in the hook and yet manages to pack it with this addictive, playful wordplay that moves from one line to the next effortlessly. Then, Nicki comes through and smashes her feature but you already knew that was going to happen before you hit play didn’t you? 4

Peking Duk – Fire

Ti: Love this. Props for shooting the video at Sovereign Hill and living out their cowboy/western fantasies in music video form, and some more props for that ending on the song. (Also please nobody tell Sarah Aarons how much I adore her.) 4.5

Sean: This is the first Peking Duk single from memory that doesn’t have a credited feature. It’s much better than ‘Stranger’ or ‘Let You Down’ which isn’t a big feat, however it still lacks the smooth charm that made ‘High’ and ‘Take Me Over’ two of the best Australian releases of the century. 3

Sam: I like it. I’m never going to hate a Sarah Aaron’s vocal to be honest and her topline really grabs me, particularly at the beginning of this. I’m just not feeling the drop or that lightly funky guitar. 3

Selena Gomez – Back To You

Ti: Autopilot. Colour by numbers. It’s like a robot assembled a Selena Gomez song from parts it found lying around. It’s completely fine and listenable, but if Selena doesn’t sound like she cares, why should we? 2.5

Sean: Is this what people who listen to commercial radio think indie music sounds like? Sorry Selena Gomez, I don’t want to go back to you. 1

Sam: Selena was on such a roll with solo releases and this has broken it for me. I don’t know what the logic is of recreating the last two features she did (Kygo and Marshmello) but whatever sells I guess. I can’t even imagine her liking it so why should we? 2

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