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First Impressions: Khalid, Billie Eilish, Sigrid And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/13/2019

First Impressions is our weekly roundtable review series where our writers dish their takes on the latest music. This week, we zone in on Ava Max’s newie So Am I, Sigrid’s album highlight Mine Right Now and more.

Ava Max – So Am I

Brent: I’m getting huuuuuge Marina & the Diamonds/Electra Hearts vibes and I am NOT mad about it. It’s a pop-centric athemic banger that would feel at home on any Spotify playlist next to Christina or Born This Way-era Gaga. 3

Wolfjay: Another Ava Max track that sounds like it could be from a Disney Channel child star’s debut release in the best possible way. Totally Inoffensive and the chorus has a hint of ABBA in it. I dig! 3

Sam: Let’s just firstly acknowledge that this is a carbon copy of Sweet But Psycho both melodically and lyrically. I’ve honestly never seen an artist release something this similar to their previous single. That said, it’s another bop and the copy tactic is probably going to work for her. She’s a good popstar. She’s got a long way to go before she’s great. 3

Tayla Parx – I Want You

Brent: I listened to this song and end up listening to her entire discography. The lyricism in this is witty yet universal, without coming across overwrought or disingenuous. The beat is infectious and the production is the sort that would feel equally at home being played at a pool party and in the club. The only downside is that, because of her extensive writing for Ariana, it’s almost impossible to listen to ‘I Want You’ without comparing it to ‘Thank U, Next’ and it’s plethora of hit singles (7 Rings, NASA etc). 3.5

Wolfjay: Love that flip after the intro, I’m a huge sucker for minimal 808 bass lines so this is very my jam! Tayla’s vocals sound incredible and it’s great to hear them right up the front of the track! Very interested to see if these tasteful touches carry over to the rest of her upcoming album. 3

Sam: I’m obsessed with this. Tayla Parx’s writing discography already proves her greatness but she’s yet to really have her moment as an artist. I think this is going to do it for her. It’s a charismatic, instantly loveable pop song that doesn’t sound like anything on the radio right now. That wobbly, speaker-rattling chorus is brilliant. 4

Billie Eilish – Wish You Were Gay

Brent: It sounds like a lot of her recently singles but without the acerbic flavour we’ve come to expect. The melody in the chorus isn’t doing much for me and the lyrics are a bit tepid, let alone the title. Are we still queerbaiting in 2019? Really? I get it might be a witty insta caption but it lacks any insight or deeper engagement. 2

Wolfjay: I wish I never heard Billy talk about this song. The production is incredible, her vocals are arranged so tightly, and is that a double bass I hear in the second verse? I love all of it! Every single little bit EXCEPT for the fact that she wrote it about wishing a guy she liked was gay so that it would make it easier for her to process her feelings? I’m sorry, what? I wonder what all her fans who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community feel about that. Way to go, fam. 2

Sam: I don’t get it and I’m obviously not going to anytime soon. This is fine. 2.5

Khalid – My Bad

Brent: Here. For. It.

This is PEAK Khalid, and a welcome return to form following his shakey collab with Disclosure. This song is buttery and, while the production is a lil repetitive, the delicate guitar arpeggio combined with the trappy hi-hats mix so well with Khalid’s vocal delivery. I can’t be the only getting Craig David vibes?? This seem heavily ‘Born to Do It’ inspired and I have ZERO qualms! My only regret is we haven’t gotten a CD x Khalid collaboration yet. Someone DM RCA Records and make this happen ASAP. 5

Wolfjay: The latest from Khalid doesn’t do anything wrong, but it also doesn’t really give me much to latch onto. This tracks a bit like matching with someone and then the conversation doesn’t really go anywhere so they just get lost at the bottom of your tinder list. It isn’t bad, but there’s just not much of a spark. 2

Sam: I’ve loved everything Khalid has been doing for a while but this and Talk feel like they’re on auto-cruise. It’s so middle of the road that’s it’s difficult to remember anything about it even after the fifth listen. I hope Free Spirit is more memorable. 3

Sigrid – Mine Right Now

Brent: This 1980’s tinged tuned could feel a little saccharine in the hands of another artist and runs the risk of feeling like a Taylor Swift 1989 B-side, but Sigrid’s staccato delivery and boundless energy turns this cut into a certified banger. This is would amazing to watch live. 4

Wolfjay: This Sigrid track has been the highlight of my week. Her stuttering stabbing vocal delivery in the verses grab my attention straight away, before THAT chorus. The only word I can think of to describe it is “widescreen”. This is some 2.39:1, extreme screen, imax,  blockbuster stuff. I really, really, really like it. 4

Sam: Sigrid’s album is wall-to-wall pop hits. She’s found a way to make no frills pop music that doesn’t sound generic and Mine Right Now is a good example of that. Robyn would be proud of the throbbing bass in that monster of a chorus. It sounds like it’s got guts and that’s more than you can say about a lot of the stuff on the radio right now. 4

Kindness – Cry Everything

Brent: I’m not a huge house music fan, but if this was thumping at 3am at Club 77, you’d find me on the dancefloor. 3.5

Wolfjay: This is the kind of song that I feel like I have to listen to on every pair of headphones and speakers I can get my hands on, it feels like there’s just so much detail hiding in the corners of it. It’s intricate, it’s dense, it’s packed with angst and pain and release. I think I adore it? 4.5

Sam: Kindness and Robyn is one of the greatest musical pairings of the last decade and while this doesn’t have the same emotional core of Who Do You Love? It’s great in other ways. It’s hypnotic like it’s made to pull you out of your head at 3am on the dancefloor when everything feels a little woozy. 4

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