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First Impressions: Harry Styles, Haim, Maggie Rogers And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 11/27/2019

First Impressions is our weekly chance to go head-to-head on the new tunes of the week. Each of the contributing writers reviews the track and then slaps a score out of 5 on it. This week the Maggie Rogers’ newie goes up against Haim, Harry Styles and more.

Maggie Rogers – Love You For A Long Time

Sam: I can just tell that Maggie Rogers is going to be one of those very dependable artists like Haim that rarely releases anything off the mark. Love You For A Long Time isn’t going to change the world but it’s a warm, lovely pop song that just feels really, really good. I think that’s what she set out to do. 4

Georgia Griffiths: This track feels like the perfect start to the bridge between ‘Heard It In A Past Life’ and whatever Roger’s next album is. It’s not groundbreaking like Alaska was, but it’s enough for now. I particularly love the backing ‘oohs’. 3.5

Keeden: Whilst not being the biggest Maggie Rogers fan, I found myself bopping along and falling in love with this song! It’s fun, easy going and happy. It’s that cute little bop that you would put on in the morning to cheer you up and start your day. 4

Stormzy – Own It (Feat. Burna Boy & Ed Sheeran)

Sam: This actually may be one of my favourite songs from this latest Stormzy era. Burna Boy is one of the best artists in the year in my opinion and that sways my opinion but Stormzy bodies this afrobeat instrumental too. Ed Sheeran’s inclusion is completely unnecessary but the man has his eye on the top of the charts. 4

Georgia: I’m a pretty big fan of Stormzy but this one just falls a bit flat for me. While I can appreciate the shift away from really grimey beats, it all feels a bit boring. Compared to Wiley Flow or Sound of the Skeng it’s clear that this one is made to capture new fans, rather than satisfy old ones. The Ed Sheeran verse feels like an afterthought but I’m sure it’ll have the desired effect on radio play. 2.5

Keeden: I found this track to be quite average, compared to his last three singles from his forthcoming studio album ‘Heavy Is The Head.’ Burna Boy kills it once again but it’s the inclusion of Ed Sheeran that really throws it off for me. It creates a softness that really falls flat on me. 3

Haim – Hallelujah

Sam: I could not fault a thing Haim have done this year. They picked up their pen and decided 2019 was the year they weren’t going to leave anything off the sheet. Hallelujah is their most emotional cut yet reflecting on friends past and present and the strength that can be found in depending on them. It’s a gentle, raw moment that creates so much strength simply from coming together. 4.5

Georgia: After the girls posted the stories that inspired Hallelujah before its release I really had to steel myself to listen to it. Musically it’s pretty stock standard Haim, but knowing the history behind the lyrics makes it pretty devastating. While I always think they’re at their best on more upbeat tracks, I can appreciate Hallelujah as a labour of love for Haim. 4

Keeden: This is such an intimate, emotional and honest track from Haim. The pain and struggle in this song and from where it comes from truly is a clear reflection of how strong the bond that the Haim sisters have and they portray it beautifully in this song. 4

Tinashe – Save Room For Us

Sam: Some people leave major labels and just get completely lost because they’re still chasing the success they once had. Tinashe decided to bin everything she was doing at RCA and go back to her late night R&B vibes. Songs For You is brilliant and Save Room For Us is a very obvious highlight. It’s a slick, glossy track with light disco flavours that highlights her masterfully tender vocals. 4

Georgia: It’s amazing how far Tinashe has come in the past few years. I wasn’t a fan of ‘Nightride’ or ‘Joyride’, but this new album has me hooked again. Save Room For Us is the ideal R&B track in 2019. It showcases Tinashe’s vocals in a range of situations, set over the top of a sultry synth beat. Who’d have thought the girl from The Polar Express would be soundtracking a generation’s romances? 4

Keeden: Tinashe really did release one of my favourite albums from 2019 and Save Room For Us is a standout. It’s fun, sensual and the tracks sultry flow is incredible! Over the top of MAKJ’s production, Tinashe’s sensational vocals really are the cherry on the cake. A Match made in R&B heaven. 4.5

Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar

Sam: It took me a while to consider myself a Harry Styles fan but I made it. This latest music sounds so much looser than anything on his vanilla debut album and this song alone proves that. It’s a song that’s all about feeling. It’s basically just metaphor after metaphor that may or may not be alluding to oral sex. Regardless, it’s full of charisma and personality from Styles’ slick delivery to the perky horns. 4

Georgia: I’m glad we’ve finally reached Harry’s hedonistic period. As we’ve seen with many of the greats, the songs that are blatantly about sex and drugs are often the strongest. Watermelon Sugar is no exception. If the rest of ‘Fine Line’ sticks to a similar path, this could be the breakthrough Styles needs to fully shed his 1D past. 4

Keeden: I am so excited for Harry Style’s forthcoming album ‘Fine Line’ and Watermelon Sugar made me even more so. It’s so fun, it’s catchy and repetitive without being annoying and the instrumental production is superb! 4

Kesha – My Own Dance

Sam: I absolutely love the verses of this. “Hungover again like 2012…fuck it,” is just a great line from her and it’s one of many. Unfortunately for me, the chorus tears apart the verses. I can hear the Imagine Dragons influence (Dan Reynolds is a writer) and it just sounds like a brick hitting the ground. 3

Georgia: I put this in my playlist on Friday without really listening to it and didn’t think anything more of it. It came on at one point yesterday and I had to stop and check who it was, which is generally a good sign for me. I agree that the verses are much stronger than the chorus – it almost sounds like two separate songs. While I think Kesha has much more to offer in this new era, I don’t think this is a bad track. 3.5

Keeden: Out of both singles from her upcoming album ‘High Road’ My Own Dance is the song that caught my attention. The track is an assertion of where Kesha is in her career, She isn’t the girl she used to be. Now she’s the strong, powerful woman calling the shots. However, lyrically, the chorus is the downfall of this song no matter how catchy and fun it may sound. 3

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