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First Impressions: Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, Grimes And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/20/2020
Billie Eilish - First Impressions

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 we’re looking at Billie Eilish’s Bond theme, a Tame Impala album highlight and more.

Billie Eilish – No Time To Die

Keeden – When it was announced that Billie Eilish would be singing the much-anticipated Bond theme, the reactions were varied. With such a soft and distinct voice compared to past Bond artists, many thought she would be unworthy to be in such a position. With the release of ‘No Time To Die,’ Billie proved those naysayers wrong. ‘No Time To Die’ is a perfectly crafted theme, showcasing how much range and talent that Billie and her brother Finneas hold. At the song’s climax, Billie’s vocals are pushed past her trademark style and coupled with the swelling sound of strings, it creates that enigmatic balance of power and emotion that bond films are known famously for. 4

Sam: I was one of those who doubted Billie Eilish’s ability to pull off a Bond theme (not that I’m a Bond purist, I really couldn’t care less). She really pulls through with No Time To Die though. It’s eerie and haunting in ways that Adele and Sam Smith’s just weren’t and she pulls out those vocals at the end. I don’t know where they came from but, damn, she could Celine it up if she really wanted to. 4

Sam Smith – To Die For

Keeden – Sam Smith announces their next project ‘To Die For’ and shares with us the next single of the same name. This track is very smooth, soothing and full of passion given that the songs main theme is about loneliness. With the inclusion of the Donnie Darko sample, the track becomes quite reminiscent and feels like it would fit on one of Bastille’s early mixtapes. Given such gorgeous vocals and catchy chorus, the simplicity and familiar sound hold ‘To Die For’ back from being as memorable as Sam’s previous singles. 3

Sam: On one hand this is another Sam Smith ballad, on the other hand, here’s an artist who has just started being interesting. They have come into their own and that new perception of self lifts this away from middle-of-the-road. It’s a really eerie, lonely moment that doesn’t have to be grandiose in order to achieve it (unlike The Thrill Of It All). 3.5

Grimes – Delete Forever

Keeden – In the lead up to the long awaited ‘Miss_Anthrop0cene,’ Grimes has gifted us with another glistening track. ‘Delete Forever’ really demonstrates her growth as a producer, blending somewhat 90’s contemporary pop with her modern signature sound. It doesn’t at all feel contrived or formulaic, the production, the lyrics and her vocals meld into an honest and emotional piece of heartfelt art. 4.5

Sam: I haven’t been overly sold on anything from Miss_Anthrop0cene but this one has grabbed me. I love when Grimes says real shit without coating it in sci-fi fiction. Delete Forever is a genuinely emotional song that shows that Grimes is a great pop writer when she actually lets herself do it. 4

Tame Impala – Breathe Deeper

Keeden – Kevin Parker’s signature sound is pure bliss and this track captures it perfectly. From the ‘Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’ inspired intro, dreamlike melodies, spacey synths, pulsating beats and incredible outro, ‘Breathe Deeper’ has become a stand out track from ‘The Slow Rush.’ The outro, however, really holds it own, the hypnotic synths make you never want the song to end. 4.5

Sam: Where have these songs been hiding? I was genuinely worried about this Tame Impala album but it really delivered thanks to moments like this. Breathe Deeper is a buoyant, melodic piece of psych-pop – a genre that Kevin Parker has crafted on his own. The lyrics and the hooks feels so simple but there’s a depth to the production which pulls you straight down the Tame Impala rabbit hole. 4.5

King Princess – Ohio

Keeden – The first single from King Princess’ deluxe edition of Cheap Queen and boy is it huge! ‘Ohio’ is an excellent rock and roll track reminiscent of the early years of Garbage and No Doubt.  From the quitter, intimate intro to the fast paced and energy filled climax, King Princess really shines and flexes her strength in production. I would be ecstatic for her future sound to move in this direction. 3.5

Sam: I just feel like King Princess has lived in another decade and she’s miraculously reappeared with a kitsch tribute show to herself. I mean that in the best way possible. Ohio is an instant classic from that smokey opening to the howling rockstar finish. Whether it’s an act or not, she throws herself into it wholeheartedly and it’s thrilling. 4

Cam – Till There’s Nothing Left

Keeden – ‘Til There’s Nothing Left’ is an ambitious country-pop love song that truly hits the mark. Cam’s rich, warm vocals, waning guitar riffs and thumping country-pop beats are a welcoming introduction to her work. I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us with her forthcoming album. 3.5

Sam: I just love Cam’s voice and while I don’t think Till There’s Nothing Left is groundbreaking, it’s a really strong country/pop song. She has a purity to the way she delivers her lyrics and it’s hard to not get swept up in the fairytale of it all. 3

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