Music Reviews

New Releases Roundup – The Lathums, The Maine, Taylor Swift and Twenty One Pilots

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

After a surprise musical return from Twenty One Pilots and the first of Taylor Swift’s re-recorded albums being released, Gemma and Kiah review a selection of the hottest tracks from the past week.

The Lathums – Oh My Love (Gemma):

The Lathums’ new single Oh My Love is an uplifting acoustic guitar track, inspired by lead vocalist Alex Moore’s experiences at the age of 16, when song-writing helped him get through a period of “deep personal loss”. It is the band’s first release since their four-track ‘Ghosts’ EP in 2020.

Moore started writing the song as a young teenager, but didn’t finish writing it until a few years later. “I was only able to fully finish the lyrics after I met all you lovely people who are genuinely interested about me and the lads,” he tweeted.

The band have experimented with mellow acoustic tracks in the past, most recently All My Life, the third track on the ‘Ghosts’ EP. However, Oh My Love takes a different tone – it is a jaunty, upbeat and happy-sounding tune. Despite being written about a period of personal darkness and turmoil, you wouldn’t be able to identify this from the first listen.

The Lathums have teased their upcoming debut album, and it seems likely that Oh My Love will appear on the album, even though this hasn’t been explicitly confirmed yet. They recently told NME that they “think everyone’s going to be very happily surprised. None of the tracks sound the same – they’ve all got their own stories to tell”.

4 and a half stars

The Maine – April 7th (Gemma)

Aptly released on 7/04/21, The Maine’s latest single April 7th follows the release of Sticky last month. Both songs are set to appear on the band’s eighth studio album, ‘XOXO: From Love And Anxiety In Real Time’, which will be released on July 9th.

“April 7th was the day she let down her walls and allowed me in to see the side that so few get to”

April 7th is a love song, through and through, but it is deeper than just ‘puppy love’. This song is about the first time you see someone. I mean truly, see them with all their vulnerabilities, all their flaws, all their beauty,” lead vocalist John O’Callaghan explains. Speaking of the significance of the date to him, he adds “April 7th was the day she let down her walls and allowed me in to see the side that so few get to”.

The tracks lyrics are somewhat repetitive, but this only adds to its beauty, causing stand out lyrics such as “I see you when I close my eyes” and “When I’m with you, well, it’s just like it’s the first time” to become even more memorable. The song may not be as anthemic or overtly catchy as Sticky, but it captures a more heartfelt and emotional side to The Maine.

4 and a half stars

Taylor Swift – Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) (Kiah):

After Scooter Braun sold the masters of Taylor Swift’s first six studio albums, Swift announced in the autumn of 2020 that she was re-recording her older music in order to regain creative ownership of it. During the re-recording of her second studio album ‘Fearless’, Swift announced that alongside the album would be 6 unreleased songs that never made its way onto the album, with Mr. Perfectly Fine being the second never heard before single. This song was a surprise release by Swift a few days before the whole re-recorded album came out, exciting fans for the full release on Friday.

Originally written in 2008, Mr. Perfectly Fine ties into Swift’s original country pop sound with upbeat guitars and light melodies. The narrative lyrics tell the story of a relationship that turns sour once her partner gets bored and moves on whilst she is still invested. Mr. Perfectly Fine is allegedly written about Joe Jonas who Swift dated in 2008; fans have speculated that the song holds many parallels to another ‘Fearless’ track, Forever & Always, who Swift confirmed was written about Joe Jonas.

Avoiding the clichéd jokes about how she is only able to write breakup songs and create drama, Swift jokingly tweeted about it herself with the release of Mr. Perfectly Fine. The innocence and playfulness of Mr. Perfectly Fine is a catchy reminder of what ‘Fearless’ era Taylor was capable of at just 19.

4 and a half stars

Twenty One Pilots – Shy Away (Kiah):

The lead single for Twenty One Pilots’ sixth studio album, Shy Away was revealed on the website for their upcoming livestream concert, similarly to how their last album ‘Trench’ was announced via the band’s website. The track was premiered globally on BBC Radio 1’s Future Sounds as the first glimpse into what the new album, ‘Scaled and Icy’, will sound like, with the full released scheduled for mid-May.

Shy Away features more uplifting lyrics accompanied by rhythmic guitars and a catchy beat

On his interview with BBC Radio 1, Tyler Joseph described how the new song was created from advice he gave to his younger brother on creating music. After offering guidance for his brother, Joseph shared how “The only thing tougher than trying to figure out what your own purpose is, is watching someone whom you love trying to figure out their purpose”.

More upbeat than the content of their previous releases, Shy Away features more uplifting lyrics accompanied by rhythmic guitars and a catchy beat. Moving away from the darker themes explored in ‘Trench’, Shy Away suggests that Twenty One Pilots could be experimenting with a new sound with the release of ‘Scaled and Icy’.

4 stars

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

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

In-article images courtesy of @thelathums and @taylorswift via No changes made to this images.

To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.

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