A premature look at what’s winning for us in 2016…
The only songs worth listening to this week to be quite frank.
First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by ZAYN, Nao, Charli XCX, Baauer, Tokimonsta and All Saints.
Zanda Wilson: If this song was a drink; it would be a non-alcoholic beer, but one that you expected to be alcoholic, and so therefore you are taking on maximum carbs at minimum efficiency. 2 out of 5
Sam Murphy: Im glad that we finally get to hear some of the Malay material from ZAYN and its definitely a different vibe to Pillowtalk. His voice is near-perfect and its great to hear some runs that we werent really able to hear on his 1D tracks but I cant help but think hes got more to give us. Theres gotta be some real gritty stuff on the album and thats what Im hanging out for. Also I cant help but think this is a slowed-down version of 1Ds Gotta Be You. 3.5 out of 5
Annie Cooper: I was excited to hear Zayns solo stuff initially, but between this and Pillowtalk I cant help but feel really underwhelmed. I mean, at least with 1D there was that guilty pleasure aspect, but this track is kind of just nothing. His vocals are good and so is the production, but quite frankly I cant remember what it even sounded like and the track stopped playing about two minutes ago. Hopefully his album will come bearing grittier tracks but Im not getting my hopes up. 2 out of 5
Jack Cain: Fuck off, Zayn. 0 out of 5
Meshell Webb: Nice to see Zayn being all grown up…leaving behind the childish realm of boybands and instead writing songs for the next Twilight film (theyre still making those…right?) 1 out of 5
Average score: 1.7/5
Fool To Love
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/thisnao/nao-fool-to-love-1[/soundcloud]
Zanda: If this song was a drink; it would be a spiced rum or whisky, think Sailor Jerrys or even Canadian Club Spiced. Smooth as hell but with a slight kick that you probably werent expecting. 4
Sam: Nao has nailed that funky-electronica aesthetic. It feels like shes got the perfect toolkit and shes sticking to it which means all her stuff is starting to sound really consistent. This is another knockout. Its effortless but also sounds really modern and fresh. Her voice is interesting but not in your face and it doesnt seem like shes forcing anything. So natural and so bloody good. 4
Annie: This track grabbed me from the start, and it only got better as it progressed. Something about it is giving me early ’00s vibes, which I cant get enough of- though its still undeniably very modern. 4 Annies Pick
Jack: Another song like this, how fun. This song takes me back to 2013 when the first lot of producers started bringing this sound back. Not modern. Recycled. Kaytranada and Snakehips made this shit when no one cared. Still kinda cool, but yeah, not mind blowing. 3
Meshell: Will add to my cooking dinner playlist [I like to cook to sexy R&B…what of it?] but Im with Jack when it comes to the production, its incredibly recycled. Luckily, its got some solid melodic content going on. 3.5
Average score: 3.7/5
Paradise (Feat. Hannah Diamond)
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/vroomvroomrecordings/paradise-2min-edit-charli-xcx-4416[/soundcloud]
Zanda: If this song was a drink; it would be a European Radler or American hard lemonade. You might be worried about it being overly sweet, but theres some real substance there. Some may say that theyre not a fan of the style but you might surprise yourself by indulging. 4.5 Zandas Pick
Sam: Im going to be really biased because I love Charli XCX to death and that love only grows stronger with every batshit crazy thing she does. Shes literally just established herself as a mainstream popstar and then she goes and starts her own label and released sugar-high tunes like this just because she wants to make cool shit. Its a shame commercial radio only accepts different shades of vanilla because this could be a runaway hit if given the chance. 4.5 Sam’s Pick
Annie: I dont know why it took me so long to get into Charli XCX, because this track and everything else shes released as of late is killer. Shes come a long way since Boom Clap, and im very thankful for that. If her future releases follow in this direction, shell be making a big fan out of me. 4
Jack: Scooter called, they want their Logical Song back. What is this exactly? Sounds like a bunch of Minions shit into a sampler. 1.5
Meshell: I would rather listen to the Donald Trump says China REMIX than ever have to listen to this all the way through ever again. 0
Average score: 2.9/5
Kung Fu (Feat. Future and Pusha T)
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/baauer/kungfu[/soundcloud]
Zanda: If this song was a drink; it would be a decent-quality whisky or bourbon. Think perhaps Monkeys Shoulder or Makers Mark. Something that should probably be enjoyed alone but you might find yourself occasionally adding it to a playlist and mixing coke with. 3.5
Sam: The way I know Baauer is doing a great job at the moment is because I literally forgot that Harlem Shake existed until it popped up on my feed the other day. Hes forged ahead with dope tunes and this is another one of them. Getting Future on the track at the peak of his career is a clever move and it also helps that he suits the Baauer sound down to the ground. Still, Future adds the melody here but its Pusha T who raises hell. 3.5
Annie: Getting Future and Pusha T on this track only proves that Baauer is becoming a huge artist in his own right. With that said, I cant really get into this track. Its undeniably catchy and I could definitely hear this being played in clubs, but its just not for me. It feels incomplete, as though it was building to something that just never happened. 2.5
Jack: Big swing, no ding. 2
Meshell: Sorry to say that Im ready to fall asleep right now…but getting Future on your track is a smart move, now every fuckwit in Adidas Superstars and a Thrills t-shirt is going to think youre a trap god. 2
Average score: 2.7/5
Giving Up (Feat. Johnny Pierce)
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tokimonsta/giving-up-feat-jonny-pierce[/soundcloud]
Zanda: If this song was a drink; it would be a long island iced tea. There are a whole lot of elements here that work together so well, but theres nothing soft about what youre drinking. Each part is just as important as what together they create. 4
Sam: At different points in my life Ive wanted to be The Drums and Tokimonsta so this pairing is obviously right up my alley. The Drums were more of a circa 2010 thing for me but Tokimonsta is very much the sound of the future so shes able to bring Johnny Pierce into 2016. This doesnt hit as hard as the Anderson Paak-featuring Put It Down but it brings a haunting vibe that circles the ears nicely. 3.5
Annie: The pairing of Tokimonsta and Johnny Pierce was a great one, their combined talents make this track one of Tokimonstas best so far. Its pretty easy going, never reaching so far as to go over the top, but it really works. As a SoundCloud user stated, this some magical shit. 3.5
Jack: Hello, it’s me the guy who hates everything. I was wondering if you were all wondering if I’d end up liking something. This is it, this is great, fuck yes. A beat that kicks in and takes you tumbling through your head and into a dancefloor, vocals put in their place nicely and a thought-provoking arrangement. Its 2016, this is living, Barry. 4 Jacks pick
Meshell: A GOOD SONG! A GOOD SONG! Good to know those are still getting made. This is a clever and unexpected pairing. The piano is gorgeous and the choice of instrumentation in the chorus is charming and everything I love about Tokimonsta. 4 Meshells pick
Average score: 3.8/5
Zanda: If this song was a drink; it would be a smooth, dry white wine. Relatively inoffensive on the palate but not a whole lot else to back up the soft exterior taste. 2.5
Sam: For a group that really only have about three songs that Ive circulated, its interesting that I still really care about All Saints. I think Ill be forever paying them appreciation for adding a minute long monologue to the beginning of a pop song and thats why I was really excited about them coming back. The best thing is, theyre not reuniting to join some 90s tour with 5ive and Bewitched, theyre actually making good tunes that sound like 2016 but also sound like All Saints. The harmonies are on point here, the vibe is Pure Shores and they dont look a day past twenty. 4
Annie: Im pretty sure the last song I heard from All Saints was on a Total Girl CD back when I was 9. I probably appreciated them more back then, this song isnt really doing anything for me. Kudos to them for making a track that sounds more legitimate than a reprise of their old 90s sound, but theres still nothing too memorable here past the point of listening. 2.5
Jack: Ill never ever be listening to this again. 1
Meshell: Im glaring at my computer screen cursing a certain somebody I know would have made sure this got a spot on the First Impressions list because its 2016 and there is no place for All Saints in my musical spectrum. Frankly Im offended by the blatant attempt to rebrand as some sort of Haim rip off…and thats coming from somebody who doesnt even like Haim. 0.5
Average score: 2.1/5
Now time for your vote:
Here at the interns we give our ears and proper workout so we thought we would give our eyes a chance to prove their worth. Here are the best threads worn this week by people in the music biz, from Glastonbury stunners to some front row shockers.
Florence Welch at Glastonbury
Dancing barefoot around the stage in her custom made Chanel suit, Florence Welch had just as much fun headlining Friday night at Glastonbury as everyone in the crowd did watching her. The chic – androgynous outfit allowed her to move freely and resulted in an enthusiastic and explosive performance. Foregoing her usual whimsical ’70s style for an outstanding high fashion look has become Florence’s style lately and it seems she’s onto a winning thing.
Pete Doherty at Glastonbury
Sending the crowd wild when being announced as the surprise act on the famous Pyramid Stage, The Libertines didnt disappoint and played an incredible set. Not as surprising however was Pete Doherty appearance in shambles. Despite recently coming out of rehab, the musican didnt exactly look fresh and well rested. His outfit of choice though suited the indie rock band and did look very similar to something his ex-girlfriend and unofficial face of Glastonbury, Kate Moss, would wear to the festival.
Paloma Faith at Glastonbury
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Her everyday look still has a fancy dress like feel to it, but I think she step it up for roaming around Glastonbury. Completely out of the ordinary and not everyone’s cup of tea, the English singers relaxed attitude towards fashion is that Getting dressed should be a fun experience! Playful and flamboyant in a multi coloured poncho and leopard print wellies, no doubt shes having a ball here.
James Bay Glastonbury
Call his music folk rock or indie pop, whatever it is his style looked everything bit typical Glastonbury. Wearing his signature hat, military jacket and reflective sunglasses, his best accessory was his red vintage looking guitar. The musican who was hand picked by Christopher Bailey to perform at the SS15 Burberry Prorsum show and where Mario Testino approached him for a photoshoot, seems like he will be transferring to the fashion world sometime soon.
Grace Chatto at Glastonbury
Whilst she does look like she could be going to the gym, sport luxe is the all the rave and is becoming increasingly more popular at festivals. Looking a lot more sensible than her on stage fur coat choice, which could hold up in a Russian winter. Wearing an Adidas outfit and Calvin Klein jacket, the Clean Bandit cellist and vocalist topped the look off with some very cool Linda Farrow sunglasses.
Everything Everything at Glastonbury
Looking like a modern Franki Valli and the Four Seasons in their matching suits (well, jackets), Everything Everything played to a large audience, where the only criticism of their set was that it was too short. As they climb the ranks of the later slots time in years to come maybe theyll upgrade from the red, orange and pink. Sorry, guys
Adele at Glastonbury
Shes back! For her rare appearance, Adele looked festival appropriate in an embroidered tunic, black jeans, ankle boots and a maroon Chanel bag. Looking comfortable yet stylish, Im sure her emergence has reminded all fans how excited they will be to hear her upcoming stuff. She is reportedly working with Pharrell Williams on her third album.
Elektra Kilbey-Jansson from Say Lou Lou
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One half of the Say Lou Lou duo. They describe their music as ethereal disco noir which pretty much sums up their style too. Elektra Kilbey-Jansson here in Paris looking understatedly feminine. Only having just released their debut album in April, they are definitely one to watch out for both music and fashion wise. Theyll be the new Florence Welch.
Johnny Hallyday, Lenny Kravitz and Liam Gallagher at Saint Laurent, Paris Fashion Week
The French rocker, the American rocker and the English rocker. Hallyday and Kravitz look every bit the divine rock stars they are and well Liam looks like hes just come off a trek in Nepal. Together they sit front row at the Saint Laurent menswear spring/summer 2016 show.
Sky Ferreira at Saint Laurent, Paris Fashion Week
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Saint Laurents favourite indie pop singer (she’s modelled for the brands style book twice before) usually has a classic cool girl look but in this instance looks a little unpolished for the front row. With her ‘couldnt give a fuck’ attitude and her tough accessories, I guess shes just staying true to her style. Props on the jacket though.
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Indie pop artist, Ryn Weaver certainly has presence. Somehow she makes this awkward pose look graceful. Proving the ’70s trend isnt going anywhere she models a dress that is reflective of her own style. Photographed for tumblr in a Gina Correll creation.
Joe Jonas and Zayn Malik at Maison Valentino, Paris Fashion Week
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Well looky here. I like the change in boy band style (or perhaps ex-boy band). Zayn Malik took a break from doing nothing to hang out at Maison Valentino menswear show in Paris with his homie (according to Jonas tweet). Both dressed in Valentino they almost looked like they colour coordinated. Even if they did, you cant deny, the boys have swag. This was also Zayns first fashion show. Good choice, Zayn.