Weezer – Happy Hour
Los Angeles quartet Weezer have returned with their latest single ‘Happy Hour’, taken from their forthcoming 11th studio album Pacific Daydream. ‘Happy Hour’ marks a return to the more pop-oriented sound showcased on previous albums Everything Will Be Alright in the End and Raditude, with vocalist Rivers Cuomo’s quirky yet melancholic melodies intertwined with an almost hip hop-esque bounce in the verses.
Like previous singles released from Pacific Daydream, ‘Happy Hour’ is a summer anthem with a catchy chorus that would feel perfectly at home in a festival field with a cold alcoholic beverage in hand.
Words by Callum Hurst
MGMT – Little Dark Age
With an intro so Kraftwerk you’ll think you’ve put the wrong song on, ‘Little Dark Age’ is the first glimpse of years of hard work from Connecticut’s psych-magicians MGMT. The promise of new music from them has been floating around for what seems like decades, and the wait was not in vain.
The song is a return to pop, but with a sound rooted around 30 years in the past, accompanied seamlessly by the Robert Smith/Adam Ant image they’ve nailed in the video. The verses are sung on a single note but never feel stagnant or dull. Layer upon layer of synths and drum machines swim frantically like a swan’s legs beneath the surface, all the while Andrew VanWyngarden maintaining composure at the helm.
MGMT – the sweethearts of 2000s indie – have come a very long way, but have found themselves once again writing pop songs worthy of 1980s behemoths.
Words by Maddy Hardman
Frank Turner – There She Is
Frank Turner – who once released music under the guise of a people’s revolutionary – dealt with some particularly heavy criticism over the past summer, primarily in response to his involvement in Campfire Punkrock, a so-called ‘punk’ experience with the man himself for a mere $1,999… that’s not very punk-rock of you, Frank.
Onto the music, and Turner’s latest release ‘There She Is’ doesn’t redeem too much of the love-loss. The most basic of Springsteen soundtracks accompanies an equally uninspiring lyrical melody. The most bitterly disappointing thing about this, though, is that Frank Turner used to be a dude who just fucking said it straight, whereas he sings for 4-minutes on this track without ever saying anything. Sadly, Frank, your reputation accurately precedes you.
Words by Rupert Taylor
Mariah Carey – The Star
Having defrosted a little early, the queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey has returned with the lead single for the film soundtrack of The Star.
With Carey’s powerful vocals mixed with the sweet innocence from the children’s choir, the ballad has everything you want for an animated film which follows the story of the nativity told through the perspective of the animals. Compared to ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, ‘The Star’ sees Carey keep to the religious side of Christmas with lyrics such as, “Strong and wise/keeping the Lord as your guide”.
Ultimately, Carey could release anything during the Christmas period and people would listen.
Words by Charlotte Miles
Taylor Swift – Gorgeous
As a complete contrast to ‘Look what you made me do’, ‘Gorgeous’ expresses themes of admiration and joy. Starting off with a warped but catchy riff, it’s easy to sit down and give it a chance. But a few minuets in, hearing “You’re so gorgeous” over and over gets a little unbearable. The single doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as if she’s stuck for ideas. Boring.
Seems unlike Taylor to be letting a love interest get the better of her. “I guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats, alone” With simplistic, repetitive synths the entire track sounds childlike as if she’s describing a schoolgirl crush while messing around on a keyboard in music class, awful. But it does everything an average pop song should.
Words by Rosie Chalk
Keir – Squeeze Me
Bristol-born singer-songwriter Keir is unlike any other. The 23-year-old’s unique style and vocals has not only captivated the likes of BBC Introducing this year, but has made him stand head-and-shoulders above his musical opponents. Infusing the energies that once emanated from the likes of Bowie and Debbie Harry, new single ‘Squeeze Me’ is an ethereal work of art.
The infectious track has a heavy, alternative edge whilst also carrying an irresistible electronic pop sound. The emotion within not only displaying his overwhelming abilities to blend genres effortlessly, but also screaming just why we should be paying attention to him.
Words by Hayley Millross
Protoje – Truths and Rights ft. Mortimer
Jamaican reggae artist Protoje has released his second single with a substantial message – ‘Truths and Rights’ featuring Mortimer.
This is not the first time that the two reggae artists have worked together as Mortimer features on Protoje’s most recent studio album, 2014’s Ancient Futures. The song focuses around both the artists’ commitment to activism; “Are we gonna wait around//or are we gonna make a sound”.
Protoje offers a calming reggae groove that plays perfectly off of the synths layering the track, whilst giving a direct drive that would be expected from a song with a message. This is the second release this year that has seen Projote take a political viewpoint in his music – the first being ‘Blood Money’, which spoke out about how corrupt officials use tainted funds to carry out businesses and pay for lavish lifestyles in Jamaica.
Words by Matt Smith