Following the first two weeks of this segment where I was inundated with recognisable and likeable tracks and albums, this week sees a step-back into what I would more expect from the dog days of January. In this list there are some promising singles, excellent vocal performances and a something short and sweet.
This week features a new and recurring portion where I explain briefly how I first came across the artists mentioned in this post.
SINGLES & LOOSIES
Jessie Reyez – Love in the Dark
The third single from Reyez’s upcoming debut album Before Love Came To Kill Us, “Love in the Dark” deals with unrequited love where there was once a relationship. It’s a slow, festering ballad where Reyez’s vocals take centre stage. The instrumental is nothing to write home about, mostly just your typical melancholy ballad chords but the vocals are what really steal the show with her accent and power coming to the fore.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: JESSIE REYEZ
As a feature on THEY.’s song “Broken,” a relatable song about broken people breaking others.
H.E.R. – Sometimes
Having real liked the single “Slide” released late last year, H.E.R. follows it up with this new single on a completely different trajectory sonically and in message. This is a track about adaptability and dealing with whatever may come your way in terms of change. Set to piano and guitar chords with minimal drums and other instrumentation, it should allow H.E.R.’s vocals to shine as usual and yet somehow it feels flat. I think that she was aiming for an old-school Alicia Keys vibe with the influence undeniable, and although the track is not terrible in any way, it’s just not as catchy or interesting as much of the work on her past 2 projects.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: H.E.R.
Recommended “Avenue” from her self-titled debut album by a friend.
Hayley Williams – Simmer
This new track is the first to be released from Williams’ upcoming solo debut Petals For Armor. It’s a dark, brooding track which builds layer upon layer of pent-up anger but also resilience. If you were looking for more 80s, upbeat music such as on Paramore’s last album After Laughter, it’s not to be found here. “Simmer” is much more like a mature, grown-up version of the youthful angst found in Williams’ singing and lyrics on the first 3 Paramore albums.
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: HAYLEY WILLIAMS
Hearing “Emergency” from a friend back in the first year of high school. Riot! and brand new eyes also hold special places in my heart.
ALBUMS & EPs
Kota the Friend – Lyrics to GO Vol. 1
This album is 10 songs long but comes in at only 14 minutes, with the longest track being a measly 1:48. It’s a modern, simplistic jazz-rap infusion of a brain dump; in and out before you know it. The tracks deal with thoughts on relationships, old friendships and raising his children. It is damn near the same flow and instrumental choices for all 14 minutes and with a longer run time could get stale, but with such a short project it fuses into one long train of thought. Kota’s style is not going to be for everyone, that’s for sure, but his mellow delivery and beats still itches a certain scratch in my mood music.
Top tracks (so far): Can’t Please Everybody, Open on Sunday, Berlin
MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO: KOTA THE FRIEND
Finding his album Foto from last year to be one of my favourites to put on and turn everything into a relaxing mood.