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First Impressions: Drake, Charli XCX, Florence + The Machine And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/06/2018

First Impressions is our roundtable review feature where our writers give their take on some of the biggest songs from the week past. This week Charli XCX, Drake, Florence and more are in the hot seat.

Charli XCX – No Angel

Kate Carnell: The backing to this song is super Fancy (and just quietly Iggy could probably use a feature on one of Charli’s tracks these days)! So Charli has gone from Number 1 Angel to No Angel in just over a year; but unlike RiRi before her, this good girl gone bad attitude is a little cringeworthy (even though Charli was never really a good girl – she’s been breaking the rules ever since that time she didn’t want to go to school). The track’s sound is heaps of fun and while there are brief examples of decent lyrics, it’s hard to take anyone seriously who uses cliché lines like, “Baby I’m bad to the bone”, “I party, get naughty” and “I’m bad news”. Like, do actual bad people refer to themselves this way? Do gang members go around telling people that they are “bad to the bone” and “bad news”? I sincerely doubt it. Good song but I’ll probably go back to thinking ‘bout boys. 3.5

Sara Tamim: I love Charli XCX and I love this track. I find that it has an 80’s pop anthem essence (It might be the drum sample that enhances this). This track makes me want to dance and yell and 3am in a glitter bodysuit. I mean, I like ‘no focus’ better from the release but this one still bangs. 4

Sam Murphy: SOPHIE dropped this song over a year ago in a sweaty Sydney club and I haven’t forgotten it since. It’s classic Charli finding the sweet spot between pop and hip-hop, giving us all the attitude and party power that we deserve. It’s one of those songs that gets you in a ratchet party (cc: Drake) everytime you hit play and that’s exactly what I want from my Charli XCX. 4.5

Drake – Ratchet Happy Birthday

Sara: All the spotify advertising for Drake has been so funny, even funnier because it didn’t persuade me to listen to the 1000 track long album at all. This is a form of pastiche I guess because the piano sample sounds like it’s from 1940. He sounds so out of time hahah something is wrong with this, but i kind of like it as well? I kind of want to hate it but i don’t hate it actually. He has a nice texture to his raps.The ‘brrrrr’ part where he rolls the ‘r’ on birthday is a scary plot twist. 2.5

Kate: I didn’t have high hopes given the title but then the intro began and I was pleasantly surprised. It kind of reminded me of the intro to ‘The Nosebleed Section’ by Hilltop Hoods only with piano. But then Drake cut in. Terrible. I can’t help but wonder if this is Drake’s attempt at becoming a meme that falls somewhere between Big Shaq and 50 Cent’s “Go shawty, it’s ya birthday…” lines. There’s awful use of autotune, the vocal timing is completely separate from the backing track and makes no sense and TBH I’m just glad it’s not my birthday. 1.5

Sam: If you’re going to give a song this title you just cannot wait until after the minute mark to drop the beat. I’m actually a fan of the song. I think it’s one of his best melodies on the record and I’m not even annoyed by the “brrrrrr” part but I’m just annoyed it’s not more ratchet. 3

Florence + The Machine – Patricia

Sara: This is amazing. Every Florence track is amazing imo. It’s not too different from anything else she’s ever done, but, I like that she’s consistent with genre and style. I was really into Florence in highschool and this kind of made me feel nostalgic, also i feel like it’s hard to sing ‘Patricia’ in a song and make it sound so nice…it’s a tongue twister, so I applaud that. 4.5

Kate: With this amazing tribute to Patti Smith, Florence (a poet in her own right IMO) has delivered a beautiful track with stunning vocals that put all of us fan-girls to shame. Thanks to Florence it’s no longer enough to simply tweet about loving Harry Styles; the bar has now been raised and we need to compose god damned poetry about it. 4

Sam: This whole album is so restrained and beautiful. I think this is probably one of the highlights of the album. I love how it starts so dark and subtle and then she switches up the tempo. It’s classic Florence grandeur but she doesn’t go over-the-top to the point of no return. 4

Teyana Taylor – Rose In Harlem

Sara: Ok from the start of this track, I figured this was not ‘my thing’. But once the vocal started I decided I might’ve misjudged it. I just don’t like the hook part ‘A Rose In Harlem’ it sounds so tacky 🙁 and it’s a real shame because the rest of the track is so good. 2

Kate: The title and chorus are an obvious nod to Tupac’s poem ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete’ but the song deviates almost completely from echoing any sentiment expressed within the poem. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it does make the chorus feel a little obscure and separate from the rest of the subject matter. It’s still a great track and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of her album K.T.S.E. 4

Sam: One of my favourite songs of the year from one of my favourite albums of the year. There’s just not enough R&B around right now that is this autobiographical while serving those throwback vocals. This is without a doubt my favourite vocal of the year. Dripping with tone and feeling. 4.5

Years & Years – All For You

Sara: This is so great! This topline sounds so different to how I thought Olly’s voice sounded in my head (laughs). The chorus is so fun! The lyrics are sad but it’s such a bop. Bitter-sweet bop hunty. 4

Kate: Years & Years have certainly stayed true to the hearty pop-banger formula they found success with in 2015 on their first album Communion. Über-catchy chorus and I’m trying to work out whether it is actually both sides of a conversation happening in the referenced scene that he may or may not have concocted or altered in his head. Years & Years = thinky-feely-pop. 4

Sam: I was getting worried for a bit that Years & Years’ new album wasn’t going to be dripping with the same kind of pop excellence but this restored my faith. It’s got that big ol’ pop chorus that they do so well and that pounding beat is taking me back to Desire. 4

Kito – Ego

Sara: This is very Tove Styrke to begin, then for a second it’s very Lorde, and then it’s like Lil Yachty or Kali Urchis or something… i can’t decide what this sounds like or pinpoint this one. This is too full on for me? It was a lot for my ears…very cool like polished prod and vocals…but i may have a headache now? 3

Kate: Chuck these lyrics into Charli XCX’s tune and you’d have a badass 5/5 my friend. Not a bad track but it’s just a tad bland for my taste and I’m not in a hurry to add it to any playlists. 2.5

Sam: It’s taken Kito six years to reignite her solo project and while I don’t think this is the best she’s got in the tank, it’s a damn strong start. I agree with Kate, I’m getting Charli XCX vibes from this but the experimental production is giving her a identity and keeping me on my toes. I think this is a really exciting electronic pop song. Big fan. 3.75

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