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First Impressions: Demi Lovato, Lil Uzi Vert, Katy Perry And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/11/2020
Lil Uzi Vert, Katy Perry & Demi Lovato

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 Demi Lovato’s comeback I Love Me, Katy Perry’s baby reveal song Never Worn White, an Eternal Atake highlight from Lil Uzi Vert and more.

Demi Lovato – I Love Me

Sam Murphy: I’ve sat with this for a few days now and my opinion keeps changing but I think generally it’s a good return. The lyrics are what people what were expecting from her but the production is unexpected enough to make it feel risky. I know the chorus has been divisive but I’m a fan of the way it flicks between the light and the heavy. 3.5

Georgia Griffiths: I’ve never really kept up to date with Demi but I do know the basics of what she’s been through in the past few years. It seems like she’s really turning a corner here – ‘I Love Me’ is an honest track about the struggles of self-love. It’s also pretty catchy, and there’s a great contrast between the soaring vocals and crashing drums, and the more minimal sections. 4

Reece Hooker: The juxtaposition between the big-time chorus and drip-drop verses could’ve easily felt gimmicky, but really adds an engaging dimension to ‘I Love Me’. The track feels like a neat chronicle of Demi’s personal growth without ever feeling on-the-nose or manufactured. Some lines gave me pause (‘Jedi-level sabotage’, ‘black belt in beating up on myself’) but on the whole Demi pulls through with that really feels like a proper start to the next chapter in her massively successful career. 3.5

Haim – The Steps

Sam: I’m loving the risks that Haim have been taking since last year. Lyrically, they’ve said, “fuck it,” and stylistically, they’re playing with grittier, raw production. The Steps is their biggest lo-fi moment yet and the angst cuts through. Still, they deliver that sugar-sweet Haim chorus we expect and it’s glorious. 4.5

Georgia: As I’ve said before, for me Haim are at their best when they’re upbeat. ‘The Steps’ is no exception. Lyrically it’s great – “everyday I wake up and make money for myself” is iconic. Add in some surfer rock guitar riffs and you’ve got the recipe for a hit. 4

Reece: You knew this one was going to be great from the opening ten seconds, right? Georgia tells no lies when she says the gang thrive when they go upbeat. ‘The Steps’ might be their best written song yet, opening up their sound while curating a nuanced picture of a nuanced relationship. Doing it all while loading the song with Instagrammable one-liners is an achievement from a group on a flaming hot streak, ahead of a hotly, hotly anticipated album drop. 4

Empress Of – Give Me Another Chance

Sam: I feel like Empress Of was almost making club-pop on her first album. She detoured away from it for the second but now she’s firmly planted her feet in it for Give Me Another Chance. I love that she swaps the role of the chorus and the verse, lending the verse euphoria and using the chorus as this woozy space of hypnotism. So sleek. 4

Georgia: I wasn’t so sure about this initially but once those ‘Pump Up The Jam’-esque synths kicked in I was a bit more into it. Overall I’m not as taken with it as I was with her earlier tracks like ‘Woman Is A Word’, but I can see it going down well during European festival season. 2.5

Reece: Every song Empress Of releases sounds meticulously crafted – every stab of synth, drum loop and yearning refrain feels painstakingly thought over and refined. ‘Give Me Another Chance’ has that simmering hypnotic energy of a Channel Tres masterpiece, offset by body shots of Eurodance from 20 years ago. It could easily fall apart if Empress Of’s voice wasn’t such an intoxicating guiding compass, steering this track towards something brilliant. 4

Katy Perry – Never Worn White

Sam: I hope Katy Perry succeeds. I really do. This, however, is not it. I don’t think Perry’s ballads have ever been particularly good and this one may fall even flatter than the rest. 2

Georgia: Look, if I was having a baby with Orlando Bloom I’d make a whole music video about it too. ‘Never Worn White’ is far from my favourite Katy Perry song, but I can appreciate the intention of it. It’s a good reminder of her vocal talent if nothing else. 3

Reece: The song’s not bad, but I feel for a ‘me and my piano’ ballad is a huge all-or-nothing swing. If it goes well, it’s spine-tingling stuff of legend (see: Adele, ‘Someone Like You’). If it doesn’t hit that lofty benchmark … it’s pretty boring. This one might resonate with people who’ve found their life partner, but for the loveless ghouls among us it’s a snoozer. 3

Lil Uzi Vert – I’m Sorry

Sam: Uzi is the most interesting name in hip-hop right now, in my opinion. He embodies the nonsensical theatrics of a popstar without shamelessly playing into the pop world. Eternal Atake is a cohesive journey but I’m Sorry is a definite highlight. It merges together so many genres from rap to dance to pop and yet it sounds unmistakeably Uzi. 4.5

Georgia: There is way too much going on here. My main issue is with the repetitive hi-hat accompanying parts of Uzi’s raps. It’s distracting and detracts from his flow, which is actually pretty good when you can focus on it. However, judging from the YouTube comments, which are primarily about listening to Eternal Atake at school, I’m probably not the target market for this anyway. 2.5

Reece: Lil Uzi Vert has the energy of a gifted student whose never truly applied himself, skating past most of his peers on the back of sheer talent and glimmers of brilliance. Eternal Atake is the revelatory moment he locks in and produces a masterpiece. ‘I’m Sorry’ might be one of the worst songs on the project, but it’s still pretty great. ‘I’m Sorry’ is some remarkably tight rapping from someone not exactly known for that, punctuated by a head-shaking beat and one of the best written choruses of Uzi’s brilliantly deep discography. 4

Megan Thee Stallion – Savage

Sam: I’m glad that Megan was trying new things on Suga and while Savage is not one of the biggest detours she took, it shows her ability to rap over a softer beat. There’s something about this cut that feels sensual with Meg trading her usual bulldozing flow for something more finessed. That hook is an instant classic and something I wouldn’t have expected from her. 4

Georgia: I love this. I know there’s been a lot of drama surrounding the release of SUGA and everyone was worried it wouldn’t live up to expectations, but I think Megan attempting to reach a new audience isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think ‘Savage’ is her strongest track lyrically but there’s still some absolutely killer lines. 4

Reece: ‘Savage’ tones down Megan’s lyrical fists of fury in lieu of something ready to blow on TikTok, which leaves me feeling mixed. ‘Savage’ feels like a compromise between Megan’s Southern rap roots and an accessible sound that could help her another jump on the charts, but it doesn’t work for me. Megan’s proven to be a worthy leader of the newest generation of Southern rapper, and she’s demonstrated incredible talent as a pop hero but this shot at marrying the two misses the mark. 3

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