Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Semi-acoustic twang, overcooked delivery & self-hatred. Shawn Mendes really cannot write about anything else, though this isn’t so bad. The tempo, tone, feel may be rote but the revision of Death Cab’s ‘Tiny Vessels‘ beat is fun and unexpected. The suggestion that casual sex and alcohol actually aren’t shortcuts to long term mental well-being is a fair point. But the conclusion that the only thing holding us back from self-destruction is sheer force of habit seems a strange & sour note to end on.
It’s direct – though maybe blunt is a better word, and certainly not a single. This one should be on side B.
David Guetta & Sia – Flames
David Guetta is actually improving, after all these long years of being almost incomparably shit. ‘Flames’ has a satisfying throwback feel – beginning with disco flair before the squiggly bass and gated drums of 1983 rear their head. Sia may not have a great deal to do, but she seems to have a natural feel for Guetta’s material, which this time round packs surprising symphonic punch. Who’d have thunk it.
HANA2K – Pretty Enough
Defiant chiptune banger from an 18 year old wiser than her years. Jaunty production and synthetic slap bass gives the tune an off-kilter, free-wheeling sound pleasantly at odds with Top 40 rigidity. Empowered, and by turn empowering.
Kelly Clarkson – I Don’t Think About You
Kelly Clarkson’s earnest, heartfelt appeal to be Adele. And she has the podium and solemn maxi dress to prove it.
Kelly Clarkson has picked herself up, dusted herself down, shook off her former lovers, so many times, that even the most doting BFF would have told her to get a fucking grip by now. It feels like Clarkson has released this exact song, drippy sad-pianos, diva performance drowning in mellisma, about seven times already.
Just because you can hit a note doesn’t mean you should if it doesn’t sit easily in the song. The greatest irony being that if you really were over him, then you wouldn’t have written, produced, mixed, released and promoted a song just to say so.
Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining
Emo melodrama sounded great ten years ago, but Brandon Urie’s latest struggles to justify it’s own existence. Not a throwback to Kerrang! cover boy glory nor contemporary by any means, it’s a faintly pleasant tune with little raison de vivre. May please a few Gen Y coffee dads.
Trixie Mattel – Break Your Heart
It may be a joke, and jokes never translate seamlessly into songs – but enjoyable still. The greatest irony being that this country tune from a flamboyant drag queen is more exciting than anything Country-Bro music has produced. Slip it into rotation on local radio in the deep South and you’d have homophobes hollering along like nothing was up.