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First Impressions: P!NK, Kehlani, Maren Morris And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/28/2019

First Impressions is our chance to have it out over the songs from the past week and slap a score out of five on them. This week, we’re putting P!NK, Kehlani and more under the microscope.

Kehlani – Nunya (Feat. Dom Kennedy)

Roz Farrell: This track is pretty middle of the road for me. Kehlani’s voice sounds effortless and beautiful as always, and that makes it an automatically pleasant listen, but beyond that nothing really stands out. Dom Kennedy’s verse doesn’t really add anything, and I think the track could’ve been vastly elevated by a different feature or an interesting bridge in its place. 2.5

Ti Butler: It’s 2019, we’re beyond artists doing songs which are merely “good”. This doesn’t really feel like it goes anywhere, or does anything. 2

Sam Murphy: I don’t agree that this is average at all. Kehlani is one of the greatest vocalists on the planet. She understands her own voice so well and it slithers through this song like falling velvet. She doesn’t go for big hook on Nunya rather winning with silken harmonies fast-paced verses that fall from the tongue. 4

Tierra Whack – Only Child

Roz: I’ve been meaning to check out Tierra for quite awhile now, and just haven’t ever gotten around to it. So as a true first impression of not only this track but of her as an artist, I’m intrigued enough to want to listen to more. The contrast between her singing and rapping styles is interesting, and I like the production here, although it’s a little repetitive. The fact that the fucking pixar hopping lamp in this video isn’t in time with the beat in places is also making me a little crazy but I’m pretty sure that’s the point, so well done. 3

Ti: Tierra’s rapping is absolutely where she’s comfy. I appreciate her efforts to do sound so different, because that’s what we need, but I would have loved to hear this with raps on the verses and singing on the middle eight rather than the other way around. The second it ended I instantly jumped back to 2:28 to listen to that rap again. That rap was the absolute highlight for me. 3.25

Sam: I feel so magnetised to everything that Tierra Whack is doing right now. She’s carved out her own lane with wonky hooks and oddball flows and yet it always sounds so comfortable. She flicks between singing and rapping with ease here reminding me only of Andre 3000. 4.5

Alice Ivy – Close To You (Feat. Flint Eastwood)

Roz: This is more up my alley. Alice Ivy has a knack for producing tracks that should ostensibly be labeled pop or EDM but don’t quite fit with the sound I associate with either of those names. Flint Eastwood is an enjoyable addition, and the production on this is bubbly and airy but still carries weight. This reminds me a bit of Louis the Child a la the “It’s Strange” era, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. 4

Ti: Really like this! The production is really current, but as you listen to it you’re not quite sure where it’s going, or what’s going to happen next. This is really great. 4.25

Sam: I’m so surprised by this. Not because I didn’t think Alice Ivy was capable of making anything great, I just wasn’t aware she was able to make something this big. This is a festival-ready bop with a chorus that’s euphoric. The Flint Eastwood vocal is charismatic and warm too. A real slam-dunk for Ivy. 4

P!NK – Walk Me Home

Roz: I mean this is just perfectly fine, isn’t it. The sentiment is one I appreciate, but it’s really repetitive and yet the chorus won’t stay with me beyond this listen. I was really excited to hear that P!NK was working with Betty Who’s main producers, but this is one of those songs I’ll be happy to hear on radio rotation but won’t ever put on intentionally. 2.5

Ti: This is P!nk’s best song in a long time. If we made a chart of her top 5 best-recent songs, it’d contain What About Us (2017), Just Like Fire (2016), the Ellen song (2015), Just Give Me A Reason with Nate Ruess (2013), and this, and I would put this in the top two or three on that list. There’s a real urgency and immediacy to this, which makes it stand out, and it’s less than three minutes, so it definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome. Is this going to be Pink’s one big hit of the year then? 3.5

Sam: I’m not afraid to say I’m a big fan of plenty of P!NK bops but I’m really not here for this one. It feels like a Lumineers song from five years ago and the lyrics are so sweepingly general it comes off as ignorant and insincere. I think this will do well for her but, my goodness, it’s so vanilla. 2

Offset – Clout (Feat. Cardi B)

Roz: I just. Really don’t have any interest in the goings on in the world of Offset. I can’t be the only one who finds the adlib-echo thing incredibly irritating. Cardi’s verse flows well I suppose so we’ll throw in a point for that. 1

Ti: Why do The Interns keep adding shit Offset songs to the First Impressions playlist? They’re not getting better. Cardi, you’re better than this. 0

Sam: Offset has perhaps that most potential out of all the Migos and despite plenty of hype his album just missed the mark. Clout is good enough but with two of the biggest names in rap right now, it should’ve been better. It feels like they’re both on cruise control. 2.5

Maren Morris – The Bones

Roz: Not sure I’ve actually listened to any of Maren’s solo work, but her vocals on “The Middle” are pretty incredible so that’s enough to have me curious. Her voice sounds as good as expected on this, but I’m not particularly excited by anything else here. Another one for the “perfectly listenable, but will not seek out again” pile. 3

Ti: I think what impresses me about this is the way Maren is tweaking her trademark country sound to add more pop-sounding production, and The Bones out to keep fans of her country roots and fans who discovered her through The Middle happy. Really like that pop percussion sound alongside that guitar. 3.25

Sam: Maren Morris’ voice is so good and I think this is a really enjoyable cut but I hope she’s got some more personable cuts coming. Everything we’ve heard off the album so far has been slow and meandering. Surely she’s got something with a little more oomph on the way. 3

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