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First Impressions: Lana Del Rey, Khalid, Bhad Bhabie And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 09/24/2018

First Impressions is our weekly review feature where our writers have their take on the latest music from the week past. This week we look at Khalid, Lana Del Rey, The 1975 and more.

Khalid – Better

Zanda: This has got to be my favourite thing from Khalid for quite some time, although admittedly i’m not exactly his #1 fan. I love the references to aspects of electronic and bass-heavy hip hop that underpin his typically silky R&B vocals. I typically don’t find Khalid’s music to be “catchy”, but I can’t get this out of my head. 4

Kate: Not sure about the mumbly vocals but it’s a nice chilled-out song.  You could certainly add it to your Sunday sessions mix but I feel it’ll be a short-lived hit for Khalid.  Wasn’t a fan of the random electronica-voice at the end either. 3

Ti: There’s a certain momentum this song builds early on, so even though it seems to kind of sit on one level and not really build to anything, you almost don’t notice. 3.5

Sam: Both this and OTW have introduced us to this really understated Khalid and I’ve never been a bigger fan. His voice is all over the radio at the moment but he’s not catering to that sound with his solo stuff and he’s better of for it. This is buttery and beautiful. 4

Lana Del Rey – Venice Bitch

Zanda: There’s no denying Lana’s amazing voice, but this song is so boring to me. It just sounds like musical fuzz, just noise without anything grabbing me whatsoever. Not a fan. 2

Kate: I think this track works as more of an art piece in conjunction with its accompanying clip.  I really enjoyed watching/listening to the full-length version but without the visuals I can’t see myself driving along or running or brushing my teeth or doing any of the myriad of activities I do while listening to music without being tempted to hit the skip button after three and half minutes.  Uncensored radio edit ASAP pls Richard Kingsmill. Cheers. 4

Ti: It’s everything I dislike about Lana Del Rey, but even longer and even more boring. No official score, but an invoice for the nine minutes I spent listening to this

Sam: She’s certainly not going to be making any news fans with a 10 minute song but as a fan I think this is extraordinary. It’s like she’s gone “fuck it” and given us the most peak Lana song from all the Californian imagery to the wandering unphased length. She seems more comfortable and confident in her songwriting ability and even more amazingly has managed to make a song with Jack Antonoff that sounds more like her than him. This is some of the best music she’s ever made and a real highlight of 2018. 5

Jess Kent – Girl

Zanda: This is the kind of song that Jess Kent has threatened to deliver for some time and boy howdy what a ripper of a tune it is. Sure it may be her most commercially-appealing track to date, but that’s not a bad thing for me. It still embodies the fun, quirky nature of her music, but is also very accessible. This SHOULD be the song that really takes her profile to the next level. Over to you radio. 4.5 Zanda’s Pick.

Kate: Jess XCX! She has that unassuming attitude.  I love the idea of chumps singing along to these lyrics because of the bubblegum/punchy AF tune; without even realising what they’re saying.  Banger. 4.5

Ti: Do not sleep on Jess Kent. This is one of the best Australian pop releases of the year. The good news is it’s been added Australia-wide across the Hit Network, as well as at a number of excellent regional radio stations, making it the third most-added song to Australian radio this week. Well done all concerned. 5

Sam: This is a real moment for Jess Kent. It’s a great pop song with really intelligent lyrics and if it doesn’t do extremely well on radio then there’s something wrong with the programmers out there. 4

The 1975 – Sincerity Is Scary

Zanda: I wasn’t sold on this one until that choral vocal line came in. Man am I glad I waited, this track is so much fun and is a great example of so many of the things that The 1975 do well on a consistent basis.  3.5

Kate: I think the lyrics are amazing but there’s either too much or not enough happening in the background.  2.5

Ti: Didn’t Matty do a song about not wanting to be friends, and wanting to kiss your neck instead? It’s character development I guess. Good on them for trying new things and being creative. 2

Sam: The most pretentious band on the planet give us another meandering, uninspiring track. 2

Bhad Bhabie – Famous

Zanda: I just still find her rapping so abrasive. I feel like the emergence of Bhad Bhabie is best summed up by this eternal quote by Abraham Simpson. “I used to be with it, then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what i’m with isn’t it, and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me.” 1

Kate: I mean, she’s not a bad rapper and stuff but is she really that famous?  Like so famous that it’s inconvenient?  I truly doubt it. You won’t cash me outside screaming “Bhad Bhabie” or asking her for a pic; and I don’t think I’ll hear this song again in my lifetime and I’m OK with it.  How about that? 1.5

Ti: “They love me then they hate me then they love me again” m8 at least two of those things never happened 0

Sam: Honestly, Bhad Bhabie just keeps surprising me. By any standard this is not bad and there are far more established rappers making worse music than this. The hook is clever, the beat is great and she’s doing a formidable job. 3

Noname – Ace (Feat. Smino & Saba)

Zanda: I’m not normally one to focus in on the lyrics of a track on first listen, but I really enjoyed the rapping on this for that very reason. The production is fresh and fun too. There’s really not much not to like here. 3.5

Kate: The flows here are God-damned flawless.  So silky smooth. Noname making a name for herself for sure.  Illinois definitely bringing the illestnoise ATM. Sorry I know that’s bad but I’m’a stand by it.  Mum thinks I’m cool. 4

Ti: When I do this The Interns First Impressions thing, I get to the end and scroll down so that everything I’ve written is out of view, and then go away for an hour or so, and come back and try to remember which of the songs I’ve just written about left enough of an impression on me that I remember them. This week, it’s the Jess Kent song, which I’d already heard so it doesn’t really count, and then this. 3.75

Sam: Noname is on another level when it comes to lyrics and deliver. She sounds even more liberated on this album than the one before and that comfortability in her own skin is really evident here. She throws some really funny jabs on this one and it’s that sharp humour that makes it so enjoyable. Smino and Saba may occupy most of the song but Noname’s verse steals the show. 4.5

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