Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
Gemma and Kiah have joined forces to give us their take on this week’s single releases.
Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version) – Phoebe Bridgers (Kiah):
Reimaging her sophomore album, Punisher, LA singer Phoebe Bridgers has announced a new EP entitled Copycat Killer to be released later this month via Dead Oceans. The EP features reworkings of her original songs with orchestral arrangements by Rob Moose, known for his collaborations with the likes of Taylor Swift, FKA twigs and Bon Iver. Kyoto was released by Bridgers as a first impression of the new orchestral versions, leaving fans excited for the EP’s release.
Kyoto was written by Bridgers after her first trip to Japan and details the complicated relationship she has with her father. The track illustrates the complex and contradicting nature of their relationship since her parents divorced; Bridgers explains in her interview with The New Yorker that she has both empathy and anger towards his drug abuse that caused the breakdown of her parent’s marriage. This is evident in some of the song’s lyrics – “I don’t forgive you / But please don’t hold me to it”.
Despite the two releases being completely different Bridgers still manages to pull both off
When asked the meaning behind the title of the EP, Copycat Killer, Bridgers explained on Twitter “plagiarizing Elliott Smith is the copycat killer part (like when people copy serial killers for the media attention)”. Bridgers has been known to cite many of her musical influences from Smith, evident in her similar darkly authentic song-writing style.
Originally, Kyoto features a catchy bassline and upbeat tempo, making the orchestral version miles apart in comparison. However, despite the two releases being completely different, Bridgers still manages to pull both off, the Copycat Killer version having a more distinct introspective and melancholic outlook. The addition of the beautiful string arrangement adds a more emotional depth to the track, perfectly complimenting Bridgers’ soft vocals and adding further variety in her musical discography.
Therefore I Am – Billie Eilish (Kiah):
Following the release of her critically acclaimed album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish has been teasing material from her next unreleased album, with Therefore I Am being the third single expected on the new album. The track plays on the famous Descartes quote ‘I think, therefore I am’, with Eilish using this to create a self-assured pop anthem that confronts the constant scrutiny that she is up against.
The track features similar stylistic choices used on her debut album, sharing the playful rhythm and strong electronic bassline reminiscent of her hit bad guy. However, the lyrics share resemblance with her song COPYCAT from her 2017 EP, don’t smile at me. Eilish throughout the song challenges the superficiality of the media and asserts how their criticism is meaningless to her.
The blend of playful verses alongside a more brooding chorus makes it a strong base for her next release
The lyrics of Therefore I Am can be associated with the intense body-shaming the singer experienced earlier this year after being photographed in LA without her signature baggy clothing. The photo soon went viral on social media and received many unnecessary and negative commentaries on the teenager’s body type, further perpetrating the unrealistic standards women in the music industry are held to. Despite the backlash, Eilish throughout the song remains confident – the numerous Grammy awards and record sales a testament to the singer’s talent.
— billie eilish (@billieeilish) November 12, 2020
Although Therefore I Am doesn’t stray too far away from Eilish’s debut album, the blend of playful verses alongside a more brooding chorus makes it a strong base for her next release.
Wanted – Namasenda (Gemma):
Naomi Namasenda, better known as just Namasenda, is a Swedish singer and songwriter, hailing from Stockholm. She is most well-known for her releases on the hyperpop legend A. G. Cook’s music label PC Music, renowned for their surreal, exaggerated take on the pop genre, characterised by pitch-shifted vocals and bright synths. Her futuristic, experimental take on electronic bubble-gum pop takes influence from euro-pop, night-core, and dance music.
Namasenda explains the lyrical content of her latest single Wanted, summarising, “It’s about this major ‘mean girls’ type of drama that went down about a year ago that really shocked me. So, this song just embodies everything I felt at that moment and still feel. Taught me a lot, but mostly that I be living rent free in these bitches’ heads, utilities included!”.
Namasenda’s high-pitched, smooth bubble-gum pop vocals, drenched in glossy autotune, soar over the production
It was produced by Latvian-born and Ireland-based producer Himera, who is heavily influenced by Eastern Europe’s underground rave culture, as well as nostalgic, early 2000’s sounds. Namasenda’s high-pitched, smooth bubble-gum pop vocals, drenched in glossy autotune, soar over the production – which is a huge, high-energy explosion of euphoric, heavy synths, establishing a surreal trance experience through distorted beats, and resulting in a larger-than-life track.
Angel Numbers – daine (Gemma):
Continuing with the PC music theme, Australian artist daine’s new release Angel Numbers was produced by PC Music’s very own Danny L Harle. She harnesses the emotion of early 2000’s emo bands such as Tigers Jaw and American Football, translating these influences into a genre-bending, futuristic, dark-pop sound which is difficult to define.
This unique blend of sounds has quickly garnered her a solid fan-base of listeners – most notably, pop icon Charli XCX, who has promoted daine’s music and expressed her approval and positive opinions enthusiastically on her social media accounts. NME have already coined daine “a voice for the digital generation,” who is “crafting songs that walk a fine line between moody, gothic pop and emo-rap”.
At only 17-years-old, daine continually proves with each consecutive release that she has artistic ability far beyond her years
Angel Numbers is a euphoric track with sultry, emo-influenced tone, lyrically inspired by the concept of angel numbers, defined as “a consecutive sequence of regularly occurring numbers that in numerology act as encouragement from a higher power that you’re on the right path”. It has post-genre quality, blending elements of ethereal pop, emo, trap, and R&B. At only 17-years-old, daine continually proves with each consecutive release that she has artistic ability far beyond her years.
Solid Gold – Saint Raymond (Gemma):
Nottingham’s very own, Saint Raymond’s new track Solid Gold is in anticipation of his sophomore album We Forgot We Were Dreaming, set for release in April 2021. He blends the catchiness of pop music with the instrumentation of the indie-rock genre, resulting in the best of both genres – a bright, laidback, feel-good, easy on the ear indie-pop sound.
— Saint Raymond (@Callum_SR) November 13, 2020
It has been a long five years since his debut release, Young Blood. This wasn’t his plan – “I always said when I released that record that I don’t want to be that person that takes forever to put out a new one,” he explains. “Yet, by the time we finished with Young Blood, I’d been on the road for 3 or 4 years, so I needed to step away from it all for a bit. It all started to ramp up again last summer and felt there really was an album there to be made, so I started recording it then”.
He blends the catchiness of pop music with the instrumentation of the indie-rock genre
Solid Gold is a catchy, feel-good track, with tones reminiscent of summer months, and clean, smooth production. Despite playing it a little bit safe, and not being the among the most experimental indie tracks of the year – it is very typical of the indie-pop genre’s classic tropes which have been widely utilised previously – it is fun, uplifting, and sure to take you straight back to fond memories of warm summer days.
Change – Pale Waves (Gemma):
Indie quartet Pale Waves have announced their sophomore record, Who am I?, alongside the release of lead single Change. The album will cover topics of inclusivity, self-discovery, and the notion of being true to yourself, inspired by lead vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie’s own personal struggles with mental health, alongside the journey of falling in love and becoming comfortable with her sexuality – as she stated in the press release: “For me, music and art mean that people don’t feel so alone and isolated. I want to be the person my fans look up to and find comfort”.
Baron-Gracie’s vocals are nostalgic and reminiscent of the alternative rock era of the 90’s and early 2000’s
Change is an anthemic indie-pop song, which continues perfectly from where the group left off with debut record My Mind Makes Noises, whilst also seeing the band evolve, refine and progress their sound. Baron-Gracie’s vocals are nostalgic and reminiscent of the alternative rock era of the 90’s and early 2000’s, taking more influence from these eras than on their previous releases, resulting in a refreshing new direction for their sound, which works effectively for them. However, they simultaneously remain true and relevant to the modern indie music scene, and still successfully create and establish a new, refreshing sound, despite utilising tropes and elements from these new-found nostalgic influences.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
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