Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
As reading week draws to a close, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from the past week, ranging from indie to pop.
Empty – Chase Atlantic (Gemma):
Empty is everything that fans would expect from a Chase Atlantic track. The Australian trio never shy away from drug references – the song opens with a verse debating the ‘red pill, blue pill’ choice of the 1999 film The Matrix, before descending into a chorus about falling back on drug abuse and materialism as a form of escapism.
Sonically, the track is also typical of Chase Atlantic – an R&B ballad, with a dreamy and atmospheric instrumental paired with smooth vocals. Despite this being a style that the band have mastered to perfection, I can’t help but wish the band would experiment more with their sound, which hasn’t evolved much since their debut self-titled album in 2017.
I also wish they would experiment with different lyrical topics, as the majority of their releases for the past few years have been focused on the topic of drugs. Therefore, before even listening to the track, I knew exactly what it would be about. I still think that the song is good – but there is very little that makes it stand out from the other singles that the trio have released recently.
Fall – SG Lewis (Gemma):
Fall is the closing track of SG Lewis’ debut album ‘times’. Coined the record’s “biggest surprise” by NME, the track swaps out Lewis’ classic synths for a guitar riff and piano keys, contemplating the future as he wistfully ponders when he will fall in love again.
Lewis manages to pen a track which communicates heartfelt emotion without saying too much
The song uses a simplistic two-line chorus to its strength: “But can we fall all over again? / Can we fall all over again?”. Sometimes less is more, and this is definitely the case for Fall. Lewis manages to pen a track which communicates heartfelt emotion without saying too much, a song-writing technique that can be difficult to execute.
His experimentations pay off. Fall is unlike anything he has ever released before, and his risk-taking has to be admired. It may not be fitting to his renowned disco night-club sound, but this track is more fitting for a reflection once the party is over.
Share a Coke – Aston Merrygold (Gemma):
Hot on the heels of his appearance on ITV’s The Masked Singer, which saw him come 3rd in the competition whilst dressed as a robin, JLS member Aston Merrygold has wasted no time when it comes to releasing music. He released Overboard last week, making Share a Coke his second single since his appearance on prime-time TV.
The Masked Singer gave him the opportunity to prove his immense vocal talents, and he further flaunts these on Share a Coke. With a simple acoustic guitar instrumental paired with subtle piano undertones, the focus is almost entirely on Merrygold’s voice.
Lyrically, the track explores the mutual lockdown feeling of just wanting to spend time with someone – to do something as simple as sharing a drink, sat opposite them. It is a simple concept, but it is something that is achingly relatable at this point in time. As Merrygold said himself: it is “something that none of us will ever take for granted again.”
Overdrive – Conan Gray (Kiah):
After releasing two video teasers for his new song, Conan Gray released Overdrive on Friday, his first solo song since the release of his debut album ‘Kid Krow’ last year. Since the release of ‘Kid Krow’, Conan has gained recognition for his song writing abilities and pop anthems, as well as his more heartfelt and sad songs. Most notably, the song Heather from ‘Kid Krow’ went viral almost 6 months after its release on TikTok, becoming his most commercially successful song.
The song’s lyrics celebrate the feeling of living in the moment
Overdrive turns away from Conan’s success with the downcast sound of Heather and replaces it with a more energetic and upbeat sound. The song’s lyrics celebrate the feeling of living in the moment without fears for the future. In an interview with NME, Conan said “The song is about losing your inhibitions and just doing exactly what you want to do in a given moment, even if it’s a little bit reckless,” to act as a form of escapism from the restrictions life currently has in lockdowns.
The vibrant sound of Overdrive makes it an uplifting track which focuses on more positive emotions in contrast to the topics discussed on Conan’s ‘Kid Krow’. As the first hint of the tone of Conan’s second album, Overdrive offers a polished upbeat sound, leaving fans anticipating what the next album as a whole will be like.
Gasoline – HAIM (feat. Taylor Swift) (Kiah):
Appearing on HAIM’s updated version of the album, ‘Women In Music Pt III’, a new version of Gasoline has been released, with Taylor Swift helping to reimagine the song. The collaboration was hinted at via an Instagram post released by HAIM where fans speculated that the 13 in the background was a reference to Swift. Additionally, the band also released a clip of the new song on TikTok, where fans quickly identified the added harmonies as Swift’s.
After already collaborating with Swift on no body, no crime, Swift now returns the favour by featuring in Gasoline. On an Instagram post following the track’s release, the HAIM sisters said Swift “brought such amazing ideas and new imagery to the song and truly gave it a new life,” after they specially chose to collaborate with her on this track as Gasoline was her favourite from ‘Women In Music Pt III’. HAIM and Swift have a long-standing friendship, dating back to 2014, which has left fans anticipating a collaboration between the two which has finally come to fruition twice over the past year.
The added harmonies of Swift blend with easily with the HAIM sisters’ vocals, completing the slow and rhythmic sound of the track. The lyrics of the song discuss the feeling of wanting to end a relationship but being too consumed with desire to actually end it, cleverly using car metaphors throughout the song. An intimate and passionate song, Gasoline marks the second successful collaboration between HAIM and Swift.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
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