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First Impressions: Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande, Sigrid And More

Written By the interns on 07/19/2018

First Impressions is our review roundtable where our writers give a chance to give their true opinions on some of the most noteworthy new songs. This week they take on everything from new, summer-tinged Childish Gambino to Ariana Grande’s holy God Is A Woman.

Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic

Bailee Wilson: This is NOT the Gambino I know and love. For some reason it gives me the impression that he sat down at midday to write this in the hopes of selling it to someone else but when nobody bought it he kinda just went “meh ok i’ll do it.” That being said after the recent success of Redbone I think radio will pick this up pretty quick so better start giving it a chance I suppose. 2

Rosalind Farrell: I’m pretty neutral on this. I love Gambino’s singing voice, and I think the production on this is really slick and satisfying. Is it the most interesting thing he’s released? No, but it’s perfectly enjoyable and has good mass appeal. All in all completely fine and likeable, just a little bland and unexciting. I’d much prefer hearing this on the radio to whatever Drake single they’re pushing right now. 3

Sam Murphy: This really caught me off guard after This Is America and even after Awaken, My Love. Childish is entitled to his straight-up pop moment but this feels like he’s heading backwards to Sober and it’s just kind of lazy. I know it’s tailored towards the US summer market but as a lead-single off a forthcoming album it totally misses the mark. 2.5

Sigrid – Schedules

Bailee: One of my favourite feelings is when you see the artist live and they play unreleased music, and even though you don’t know the song at the time when it finally does come out you instantly recognize it and are brought back to that memory. That’s the case with this song, and it takes me back to Coachella where she played one of my favourite sets of the festival. This song is fun and upbeat and it’s probably one of my favourites off the now complete ‘Raw’ EP. 4.5

Roz: I. Love. Sigrid! When “Don’t Kill My Vibe” came out last year, I knew I was gonna be on board with pretty much wherever she went next. She has such a unique voice and is so charismatic, and she just keeps putting out bop after bop. I got a little bored waiting for this EP to finish out, since they kept slowly trickling out each track, but this is a solid conclusion to a well-rounded EP. This probably has the most mass market appeal of any track on the record, although “High Five” still goes harder. 4

Sam: High Five just got a contender for my favourite song off the Raw EP. Sigrid has had such an intensity with each of her previous releases and it’s so nice to hear her let loose, say “fucked up” and explore the oddities of her voice. It’s a lot of fun and I think it’s right up there with the best pop songs of the year. 4.5

MØ & Diplo – Sun In Our Eyes

Bailee: Didn’t even realize MØ and Diplo put out a song this week tbh. The song’s not great but also not bad, and I found myself on first listen kinda zoning out and had to go back and listen a second time. The chorus is really nice and pretty though I’ll give it that. 3

Roz: MØ and Diplo have been such an intoxicating combination in prior combinations, and this just doesn’t quite meet that standard for me. “XXX 88” was one of the best tracks on No Mythologies to Follow, and obviously “Lean On” was a massive smash. This is perfectly fine, but the production feels so bland that I would never have guessed Diplo had even touched it. This melody is perfect for MØ’s voice though, and I’m very excited that we have an actual album coming. I really like this as a MØ song, just not as a MØ and Diplo song. Still gets a good score for such a lovely chorus though. 4

Sam: MØ has been coasting for a few releases now but with her second album firmly in sight she’s shifted back into gear and this is a great song. It’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard her and Diplo do since XXX 88 because it moves away from that dance drop formula and cruises towards pure pop territory. It also regains some of what made MØ great on her debut. I really love this. 4

Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman

Bailee: I can’t seem to understand the massive hype going on around this at the moment. Though I do think it’s a good song nothing really just sticks out as special to me. However I do love how it’s promoting a message where the female is in control and dominating both emotionally and sexually, which isn’t something usually talked about too often in music especially mainstream pop. 4

Roz: I wasn’t sold on this until I got to the final chorus. The choral-style vocal layering and embellishments are super impactful and mesmerizing. I love slower, sultry numbers from Ari; “Dangerous Woman” was a stroke of genius in my opinion and this seems like this era’s equivalent. I do wish the chorus had a bigger hook but it’s still been stuck in my head all day so it seems to be working anyways. I love what she’s done with the video, although the gopher screaming still perplexes me. 4

Sam: Ariana is stepping it up big time for this record. God Is A Woman isn’t a euphoric No Tears Left To Cry moment but it’s no less impressive. The control and confidence on this is what makes it so brilliant, from the elongated, sensual chorus to the snappy, playful bridge. I love how she lets go vocally and the way she belts it over that choir at the end is enough to make me believe god is a woman. 4.5

Benny Blanco – eastside (Feat. Halsey & Khalid)

Bailee: Finally something with Benny Blanco’s name on it after all the hits he’s done for others! I really like this song; it’s mellow but still upbeat enough to keep it interesting. Didn’t know how I felt about Halsey and Khalid together when I first found out about this song but I actually think their voices fit together really well. 4

Roz: I was so excited to see Benny putting out tracks under his own name, but this just feels a little bland to me. It’s perfectly likeable, it’s just not that exciting and I was really expecting him to do something more out-of-the-box for his first single. It still sounds like something he did for someone else instead of himself. 3

Sam: It’s a good song by a great songwriter that probably would’ve been very mediocre if it wasn’t in the hands of Blanco. I think he’s chosen the right vocalists and radio is going to absolutely eat it up but as far as making a statement with your first solo release it’s a bit cute-sy. 3

Channel Tres – Jet Black

Bailee: I haven’t heard this song before so this really is a first impression. The beat is really groovy and I surprisingly really like the talk-singing he’s doing which isn’t something I usually really like. The first time he says “Jet Black” really brought me into liking the song tbh. I actually really like this song it makes me bob my head listening to it. 4

Roz: I also haven’t heard this one, but it’s pretty catchy. I like the grooviness of the beat, and the lyrical delivery is really precise. 3

Sam: We don’t have enough good rappers rapping over house/dance beats so I’m very glad that Channel Tres exists. His last release Controller is one of my favourite songs of the year so far and while I don’t think this moves with the same swagger, it still oozes cool. It’s taking me back to like 2009 Tiga which is something I didn’t know I needed again so badly. 4

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