Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
After a busy week in music, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Bladee ft. Mechatok & Charli XCX, Waterparks and Stand Atlantic ft. nothing,nowhere.
Your Power – Billie Eilish (Kiah):
Your Power is the latest single to be released by Billie Eilish for her second studio album, ‘Happier Than Ever’. Honest and vulnerable, Your Power is a haunting acoustic ballad and the third single to be released from Billie’s album for this summer.
Written and produced with her brother FINNEAS, Your Power feels very intimate in both its acoustic and stripped sound and the song’s lyrics. Billie’s delicate vocals sing about the abuse of a power dynamic in a relationship, opting for a darker tone than previous singles my future and Therefore I Am.
After the song’s debut, Billie mentioned on Instagram “i feel very vulnerable putting this one out because i hold it so close to my heart. this is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced.”
The song’s appeal lies in its simple and honest sound, clearly demonstrating that the song’s dark theme of power abuse is something that has affected Billie directly. Coming into the music industry at just fourteen, Billie will have been subjected to the darker sides of fame at such a young age, which Your Power also touches upon.
Choker – Twenty One Pilots (Kiah):
The second instalment from their upcoming album ‘Scaled and Icy’, Twenty One Pilots have released Choker as their next single. Shifting away from the sound of previous upbeat single Shy Away, Choker has a slower and more serious tone.
Lyrically on Choker, Tyler Joseph explores themes of giving up, with the first verses discussing his fear of failure and inability to succeed. However, the last verse of the song leaves Choker on a more positive note, with the lyrics “the day goes on, the sun moves behind you / You get taller, bolder, stronger and the rear-view only blinds you” concluding the song. The inclusion of the rap at the end of the song is reminiscent of Twenty One Pilots’ older music, potentially referencing influences from their self-titled album from 2009.
Directed by Mark Eshleman, the music video is a lot more light-hearted than the lyrics
Alongside the release of Choker is a fantastical music video shot in a toy shop located in Twenty One Pilots’ hometown of Ohio. Directed by Mark Eshleman, the music video is a lot more light-hearted than the lyrics of Choker, depicting Tyler stealing a toy dragon from the shop.
With the full release of ‘Scaled and Icy’ due for mid-May, Choker shows another side to Twenty One Pilots’ musical range compared to Shy Away, suggesting that the complete album will be full of different influences and sounds.
Drama – Bladee, Mechatok & Charli XCX (Gemma):
Bladee and Charli XCX are two artists who may at first seem as if they exist in completely different worlds. Charli is a renowned pop artist who has frequented the charts throughout the past decade, whilst Bladee is a Swedish underground phenomenon with a cult internet following.
Despite their differences, after some consideration their collaboration on Drama makes perfect sense. They are both frequently categorised under the ‘hyperpop’ umbrella (even though they both reject the genre label) and they are both known for their excessive and divisive use of auto-tune for artistic and creative purposes.
It is therefore no surprise that their voices merge absolutely seamlessly on the track. Rather than Charli contributing only one verse to the song, Drama feels like a true collaboration, as both artists harmonise on the chorus and Charli also sings the outro of the track.
It is very rare occurrence for Bladee to engage in collaborations outside of the Sad Boys/Drain Gang collectives, so the fact that he has collaborated with an artist as notable as Charli XCX is somewhat remarkable, and serves as a testament to Charli’s fearlessness when going against what is expected of her as a mainstream pop artist signed to a major label. However, with a catchy and upbeat hook, Drama is undeniably a pop song, albeit a futuristic and experimental one.
You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You) – Waterparks (Gemma):
The fourth single from their upcoming album ‘Greatest Hits’ which will be released on 21st May, You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You) shares it’s title with lead singer Awtsen Knight’s 2019 autobiography.
It is a pop punk track layered with an energetic drum beat and Knight’s typical striking and compelling vocals. The sound is very typical of the pop punk genre, but it is a sound which Waterparks have well and truly mastered.
Knight has spoken openly about the intense pressure that he feels from the outside world
The lyrics are also very typical of Waterparks. Knight has spoken openly about the intense pressure that he feels from the outside world, mainly from fans, and this is something that he discussed openly in his autobiography, so it makes sense that the song would also tackle the same topic.
Each of the four songs released in anticipation of ‘Greatest Hits’ has brought something different to the table, and despite this track being one of the least experimental singles, it proves that Waterparks have the ability to remain true to their roots whilst also testing out new sounds.
deathwish – Stand Atlantic & nothing,nowhere. (Gemma):
Collaboration between Stand Atlantic and nothing,nowhere. is somewhat unexpected. It came about because when Stand Atlantic originally penned deathwish, they intended for the track to have a rap verse. Guitarist David Potter originally sang it on the demo of the track, but they made the decision to call in a professional to take over the rapping responsibilities in the form of nothing,nowhere.
The collaboration works well, but nothing,nowhere. only has one rap verse on the track, and I would have loved to hear him contribute more to the track, whether it be through singing or through more rapping. However, since Stand Atlantic intended for the song to have a rap verse, it makes sense that the collaboration turned out this way.
nothing,nowhere. definitely adds to the energy of the track, and his emo-tinged rapping complements Stand Atlantic’s pop punk style. deathwish continues the sound that Stand Atlantic established on their 2020 album ‘Pink Elephant’, albeit not quite as experimental as some of the cuts on that album which experimented with electronics.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.
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