Music Reviews

Gemma’s New Releases Roundup – Liam Gallagher, Bladee, Rina Sawayama, You Me at Six, ELIO, guccihighwaters, 8485 & Dyzphoria and Smrtdeath

Gemma Cockrell

As we near the end of lockdown, Gemma gives us her take on her favourite single releases of the week.

Liam Gallagher – All You’re Dreaming Of:

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher’s first release since chart-topping sophomore solo record Why Me? Why Not? in 2019, All You’re Dreaming Of is a warm, festive ballad with all proceeds being generously donated to charity Action for Children, where the money will be used to help children who need it the most during the festive period.

All You’re Dreaming Of is an instant classic that is perfect for this time of year,” Gallagher boasts with his renowned braggadocious self-confidence. “Considering the year that we’ve all had, I hope this brings back some much-needed love and hope. Bing Crosby would have been proud,” he added.

The melancholy and mellow-toned acoustic-driven track is charming, delicate and poignant, depicting the importance of love and compassion during troubled times of crisis and trauma, attempting to capture the magic of the Christmas period, as we enter a holiday season that is predicted to be far from normality. A polar opposite to the alcoholic, booze-heavy Christmas chaos you may expect from Gallagher, the track serves as a heart-warming reminder of what is truly important at this time of year.

Bladee – God:

Enigmatic, experimental Swedish rapper and drain gang member Bladee collaborates once again with producer Mechatok for new track God, in anticipation of their forthcoming collaborative project Good Luck. His sound has evolved since his debut album Eversince in 2016 – he was once an artist who was renowned for his icy industrial rap sound, and his dark, ‘sad boy’, elusive aesthetic.

Now, his music is much more melodic, and exudes blissful, elative, positive energy. The only elements that remain constant since his stylistic shift are the heavily autotuned vocals, and emotionally-charged, abstract lyrics. Mechatok’s upbeat production fits perfectly with Bladee’s new vocal style, resulting in God having a sound similar to his recent releases, including single Drama and albums Exeter and 333.

The euphoric sound is reminiscent of his previous releases this year, with a new lease of life alongside Mechatok’s production

2020 album Exeter saw Bladee strip his lyrics down to the minimal extreme, with most songs only featuring two or three repeated phrases. God mirrors this, as the chorus of the track is a repetition of the phrase ‘All the way around’. In the same way as Exeter, the effect of this it to put the listener in a trance-like daze, removing them from reality, building an alternative universe and transferring them into a utopian dreamland, almost like a warped nostalgic video-game.

God is described by Bladee’s label Year0001 as a playfully spiritual pop experiment, unbound of genre and saturated to the max with full-bodied melodies and inflated baselines, intertwined by a relentless, almost sinister feeling of sheer ecstasy and bliss. The euphoric sound is reminiscent of his previous releases this year, with a new lease of life alongside Mechatok’s production, as they prove to be two individual artists who have creatively interlinked minds.

Rina Sawayama – LUCID:

Rina Sawayama’s latest release LUCID came alongside the announcement of the deluxe edition of her critically-acclaimed eclectic debut album Sawayama, which will be released on December 4th. LUCID was produced by BloodPop, renowned as a collaborator of Lady Gaga, Vampire Weekend and Haim.

Speaking of the track, Sawayama reveals that it has been two long years in the making. “It’s about living a different life through dreaming, whether it’s to be with the dream girl or to be the dream girl. Me and Lauren Aquilina wrote this together on the floor of my tiny rented living room back in early 2018. BloodPop sent us the beat and the melody flowed out so easily,” she explains. “I’ve kept this song secret for two years so I’m so excited to finally release it to the world! 2020’s been a tough year so I wanted to finish it off with a dance bop to take us into a more hopeful 2021”.

LUCID is a pop and dance driven tune, with glossy and glistening production, and an intensely catchy melody. As Sawayama said herself, she has finished 2020 off with a “dance bop”, an upbeat tune with elative and uplifting energy which it is impossible not to get caught up in.


The title track of their highly-anticipated seventh studio album, set for release on January 15th, SUCKAPUNCH is a progressive and effective blend of the band’s pre-established, energetic rock sound, alongside soaring, powerful vocals, experimental pulsating dance beats, and elements of electronics and synths.

Speaking about the new single, vocalist Josh Franceschi said:SUCKAPUNCH is about reclaiming your own consciousness when you’ve lost it along the way. ‘Rise from the wreckage that you left behind’ is really something that we’ve collectively experienced as a band. It’s a universal statement for recovering from a difficult time when you’ve been left behind”. It depicts the process of rebuilding, and moving forward. Despite having encountered disheartening set-backs, the ultimately message that the song promotes is one of optimism and hope looking to the future.

It sees You Me At Six evolve and develop to stadium-sized and festival-headlining heights, demonstrating that they are not afraid to embrace modernity, change, progression and experimentation, whilst pushing the genre boundaries and limitations of their well-established rock sound which they have successfully mastered across the span of their 15-year career.

ELIO – hurts 2 hate somebody:

Native to Swansea, Wales, but currently based in Toronto, Canada, Charlotte Grace Victoria, better known by stage-name ELIO, taught herself to write, record and produce her own music from within her bedroom. Despite being a relatively new artist – she only started releasing music in March at the start of lockdown this year – she has seen support from major publications such as i-D, FADER, NME and many more.

Her music typically discusses relevant topics to the current times, such as loneliness and the internet. hurts 2 hate somebody explores concepts of resentment, and inability to let someone go, despite knowing it is the best thing to do. It came with the announcement of her forthcoming EP, which will be titled Can You Hear Me Now, set for release in January 2021.

The track’s smooth, dreamy, atmospheric synth-based instrumental, along with ELIO’s catchy pop vocals, mark her as one of the most promising upcoming talents in the pop genre

ELIO explain this feeling; “It’s a track about moving on from resenting someone or even a situation. I’m naturally a very pessimistic person, I’ve really had to train my mind to not jump to the worst thing that could possibly happen or just assume someone hates me right off the bat. It gets to a point where you get so tired of being miserable that it’s more harmful to yourself than to the person you hate. It’s really not worth the energy, and when you realise that, you begin to recognise it in other people”.

The track’s smooth, dreamy, atmospheric synth-based instrumental, along with ELIO’s catchy pop vocals, mark her as one of the most promising upcoming talents in the pop genre. Her lyrics speak out to a generation who are spending their teenage years growing up on the internet, and who have experienced isolation and loneliness in 2020.

guccihighwaters – straight jacket:

Originally from Limerick, Ireland, but relocating to Long Beach, New York midway through his teenage years, guccihighwaters first stepped into the music scene as a producer under the name notmorgn, but soon began to explore his talents further than just his production skills, resulting in him finding his own voice.

guccihighwaters is renowned for his emotionally-charged lyrics and ‘sad boy’ aesthetic, and his latest single straight jacket is no exception to this. The hook of the track, “I’m in a straight jacket, you just think it’s fashion” is an example of his ability to write intricate lyrics with emotional depth beyond what can be understood at the surface.

A straitjacket is worn by intense care mental hospital patients if they are a threat to themselves or their surroundings. Here, guccihighwaters uses straight jacket as a metaphor for mental health problems, which are unfortunately deemed to be “trendy” and “cool” by some people in current society.

He combines these metaphorically complex lyrics about mental health issues with an insanely catchy, sing-a-long, infectious melody, and a tone of voice which oozes with confidence and swagger. It is a common trope of music which deals with difficult topics to juxtapose these lyrics to an upbeat and uplifting sound, and straight jacket is a perfect example of this.

8485 & Dyzphoria – Duress:

At the forefront of the formation of the hyperpop genre, as an artist frequently featuring in Spotify’s controversial but much-loved ‘Hyperpop’ playlist, Canadian artist 8485 enlists the talent of producer Dyzphoria for latest single Duress.

Today’s current music landscape is redefining and reshaping the definition of genre, and 8485 is a staple example of this in the underground pop scene. She contributes to shaping the future of the pop genre, characterised by instrumentals reminiscent of trance music, combining traditional and catchy pop tropes with electronic dance elements and Y2K nostalgia, resulting in a euphoric, larger-than-life sound.

8485 is a revolutionary and experimental artist, with huge potential – she is without doubt one of the stand-out names in the current underground pop scene

8485’s vocals are a stand out element of her music, and Duress is no exception to this. It is evident that she pours a great deal of emotion into her vocal performance throughout the track, whilst also utilising the high-pitched, vocal-shifting autotune that is a typical aspect of hyperpop vocal production.

Through combining the nostalgia of the early 2000’s and 2010’s with a modern twist, both the hyperpop genre and 8485 as an artist herself provide a snapshot of what the future of pop music holds, and it is increasingly exciting and intriguing to see how this genre will evolve in the future. 8485 is a revolutionary and experimental artist, with huge potential – she is without doubt one of the stand-out names in the current underground pop scene.

Smrtdeath – Don’t Love Me:

Winnipeg, Canadian native Mike Skwark’s Smrtdeath project blends a multitude of underground genres, including hip-hop, emo, trap and alternative rock. His most recent single Don’t Love Me, taken off his latest album Somthjngs Wrong.

He summarises the track;Don’t Love Me is about wanting someone you can’t have. Kind of like meeting someone at the wrong time, or when you’re too focused on yourself to have time to pursue a connection anywhere else. It’s also about the misguided feelings people can have about someone based on a fleeting connection”.

Emo-rap is an ever evolving and developing genre, and despite it being the genre which Smrtdeath best fits into, it is difficult to pin him down to one sound, and he doesn’t want his music to be defined by genre. 4 albums deep into his career, he has mastered a unique combination of the anthemic element of modern mainstream rock with the raw, rough-around-the edges alternative emo-rap sound and instrumentation.

Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Nina via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @youmeatsixofficial and @sloppymakeout on No changes made to these images.

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