Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Singles Summary: March 2015

Carly Rae Jepsen // "I Really Like You"
TBA, Interscope

You really like Carly Rae Jepsen, don't you? Like, really, really, really, really, really, really like her? If so, you're in luck, because her return to pop radio is here: "I Really Like You." With her manager in fear of her pending status as a one-hit wonder, Jepsen geared this song for the bubblegum pop jugular. Spiraling synthesizers, an easy-to-remember hook, lyrics that can be taken at face value, and a video co-starring Tom Hanks and Justin Bieber? Jepsen has pulled out all of the stops on this one, and it should really, really, really, really, really, really pay off.

M83 feat. Haim // "Holes in the Sky"
Insurgent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Interscope

The seven-track soundtrack to the second installment of the Divergent series doesn't seem to have a jaw-dropping line-up, but at least it has been saved by Woodkid, Lykki Li, M83, and Haim. While work on the band's follow-up to Days Are Gone is underway, Haim has branched away from their summery alt-rock backgrounds in collaborations with Calvin Harris, and now, M83. The production is scaled back from M83's bombastic electronic soundscapes, but it draws attention directly to Haim's vocal work. The young women's voices delicately float over the strings and percussion; it may be the best vocal work we've heard yet from the girls of Haim.

Grimes // "REALiTi"
scrapped demo, self-released

Six months after releasing "Go" midst the news that she had scrapped an entire album, electronic artist Grimes is back (kind of). To thank fans for attending shows in foreign countries, she dropped "REALiTi," a demo recorded for the album that she never released. Although the released product is an unmixed demo, it still reveals the promising direction Grimes was taking at the time. "REALiTi," like "Go," carries a mainstream-friendly sound without diminishing in quality. If she continues to take this direction on the next album she decides to release, it could eclipse the critical success (and commercial success) of Visions.

Grimes, Bleachers // "Entropy"
Original song for HBO's Girls, RCA

March must be the Month of Grimes. Commissioned for Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls, she teamed up with Jack Antonoff's solo project Bleachers to create "Entropy." Bleachers' production paints a lighthearted, easygoing backdrop beneath Grimes' reverberated vocals. While the song is definitely more mainstream than Grimes is probably used to producing, her voice suits the style perfectly.

Krewella // "Somewhere to Run"
TBA, Columbia

After the "forced" departure of Kris "Rain Man" Trindl, electronic outfit Krewella continues strong as a duo. Following 2014's "Say Goodbye," the duo of sisters has unleashed "Somewhere to Run." The electronic piece utilizes a rougher texture (similar to the production styling of Madeon) that still allows the vocals to shine. It'll definitely be an essential jam for summer.

FKA twigs // "Glass & Patron"
EP3, Young Turks

Already riding off of the critical acclaim of her debut album, FKA twigs is wasting no time releasing new material. As part of YouTube's 2015 Music Awards ceremony, twigs released the self-directed video to "Glass & Patron." The song starts on a dull note, but by the 2:00 mark, electronic elements and accelerated vocals begin to take over the song. This is the farthest we have seen twigs stray from her unique spin on alt-R&B. While the emotion is stripped from her fragile voice by the digital tempo changes, the song still manages to impress; I'm still chanting, "1, 2, 3, now hold that pose for me."

Florence + The Machine // "St. Jude"
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Island

Last month's introduction video to Florence + The Machine's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful begged for additional story line that didn't seem fulfilled by the video for lead single "What Kind of Man." Luckily, the second chapter of album's "odyssey" came in the form of "St. Jude." Lyrically, we get another poetic delivery from Florence and her Machine: "St. Jude, the patron saint of the lost causes / we were lost before she started / we lay in bed as she whipped around us / maybe I’ve always been more comfortable in chaos." However, sonically, "St. Jude" is a harsh contrast to past work. Unlike songs on Ceremonials, this is a understated, down-tempo song that lacks a hard-hitting chorus or unbreakable vocal belts.

Ed Sheeran & Rudimental // "Bloodstream"
x, Asylum / Atlantic

Ed Sheeran has spiced up his usual "white boy with a guitar" shtick and it has paid off. Teaming up with Rudimental, Sheeran added a kick to his sound on "Bloodstream." While many of his songs rely on the mushy language of love to melt the hearts of teenage girls and soccer moms alike, I guess that Sheeran's wild side proves to create the best material; "Bloodstream," originally produced by Rick Rubin before Disclosure's re-work, is based on Sheeran's experience under the influence of MDMA.

Rihanna // "Bitch Better Have My Money"
R8, Roc Nation

What a strange mix R8 is bound to be... Following the release of lead single "FourFiveSeconds," a stripped guitar-and-vocal collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, Rihanna has dropped "Bitch Better Have My Money." The trap track caters to Rihanna's urban club scene and has some of Rihanna's most laughable lyrics yet: "Your wife in the back of my brand new foreign car / Don't act like you forgot / Bitch better have my money / Pay me what you owe me." Despite its lyrics, it somehow ends up being an enjoyable guilty-pleasure banger, much like Beyoncé's "7/11."

Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ // "Lean On"
Peace is the Mission, Mad Decent

Diplo-fronted electronic project Major Lazer has announced a third studio album, which is set to include features from Ariana Grande, Ellie Goulding, Elliphant, and more. Danish singer-songwriter MØ, best known in the United States for her Charli XCX impression on Iggy Azalea's "Beg for It," teamed up with Major Lazer and DJ Snake for the album's first single. The song is drenched in Bollywood influences and features an infectious instrumental break. Like the Krewella track featured earlier in this post, "Lean On" will be another must-hear for the summertime.

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