Music Reviews

New Releases Roundup – Billie Eilish, Nicholas Cangiano, Post Malone, Troye Sivan And The Maine

Close up of a needle on a record player
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

As summer comes into full swing, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from Billie Eilish, Nicholas Cangiano, Post Malone, Troye Sivan and The Maine.

Billie Eilish – NDA (Gemma):

Billie Eilish has revealed her latest single NDA alongside a music video for the track. The song is taken from her highly anticipated sophomore album ‘Happier Than Ever’ which is due on 30th July 2021. It is the fifth track to be released from the record, following singles such as Lost Cause and Your Power.

The music video, which was directed by Billie herself, features 25 professional stunt drivers weaving around her. It was shot entirely in one take, with no stunt doubles. This is consistent with Eilish’s past music videos, where she has put black ink in her eyes and spiders in her mouth.

The track is the darkest single to be released so far from ‘Happier Than Ever’, reminiscent of her debut ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’. The instrumental consists of haunting isolated keys and dark thumping bass.

Lyrically, the song discusses Billie’s struggles with fame, as she reveals secrets such as the house she bought when she was 17. She cannot form connections with other people as an average 19-year-old would. Instead, anyone who becomes close to her must sign a contract, promising to guard her private life from the public eye. She speaks of wishing to return to normality, to escape the shortcomings of worldwide fame.

The track makes lyrical references to other songs from the album, such as “Didn’t change my number, made him shut his mouth” and “I thought about my future, but I want it now”. This suggests that the themes of NDA are recurrent on ‘Happier Than Ever’.

four stars

Nicholas Cangiano – Come Off (Gemma):

21-year-old Montreal based artist and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Cangiano’s 10-track debut album ‘That Thing You Need’ was released on 2nd July 2021. The latest single from the album, Come Off, blends indie and pop sounds.

His sound is comparable to artists such as Alfie Templeman

Come Off begins with a funky, grooving bassline. Cangiano’s vocals are laidback, carefree and nonchalant, but they simultaneously ooze in confidence and swagger to match the groove of the instrumental. His sound is comparable to artists such as Alfie Templeman, and it is guaranteed that fans of Templeman will also enjoy Cangiano’s sound.

Cangiano first started releasing music in 2019. Having started out as a street performer, he takes a D.I.Y. approach to his music, self-producing and recording all of his own songs independently. He is quickly building a reputation for himself as an artist to watch, and Come Off only further cements this claim.

three and a half stars

Post Malone – Motley Crew (Gemma):

Motley Crew is expected to be the first single from Post Malone’s long-awaited fourth studio album. It is his second solo release of 2021, following a cover of Hootie & The Blowfish’s Only Wanna Be With You in February. The new single was originally teased on 30th June 2021 before being officially released on 9th July 2021.

The song draws on Post Malone’s rap tendencies, reverting back to his debut album ‘Stoney’ rather than the pop sounds of his most recent album, 2019’s ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’. Lyrically, the track discusses Post Malone’s luxurious party lifestyle with his friends, who he describes as a ‘motley crew’, defined as an unexpected group of people.

This is reflected in the Cole Bennett directed music video for the track, in which Post Malone drives round the Auto Club Speedway. It features cameos from French Montana, Ty Dolla $ign, Big Sean, SAINt JHN, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and NASCAR drivers Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin.

three and a half stars

Troye Sivan – could cry just thinkin about you (Full Version) (Kiah):

Originally released as an interlude in the ‘In A Dream’ EP in 2020, Troye Sivan has now released the full version of could cry just thinkin about you. The full version explains more of the reasoning behind the sad song, being equally as heart-breaking as the shorter version.

Announcing the song on Instagram, Sivan shared how he “wrote this song crying in my kitchen just as life started to fall apart a bit. Recorded the vocal there n then, and put it as an interlude on the EP”. Sivan’s ‘In A Dream’ EP was written during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and reflects the struggle and uncertainty that many people experienced during that period.

could cry just thinkin about you sees Sivan express the pain surrounding his broken relationship

A slow and acoustic track, could cry just thinkin about you sees Sivan express the pain surrounding his broken relationship. This full version of the song was released a year after it was reported that Sivan had split with Jacob Bixenman, who he had been with since 2016, after the pair were separated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The original version of could cry just thinkin about you ran at just 52 seconds, so the full version of the song is a great addition to Sivan’s discography, being an acoustic break from his normal upbeat electronic sound.

four and a half stars

The Maine – High Forever (Kiah):

Arizona based band The Maine have released their eighth studio album, ‘XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time’, with High Forever being the album’s fourth track. A change from The Maine’s usual pop rock songs, High Forever uses dark synths to create an electronic inspired sound.

High Forever premiered a day before the full release of ‘XOXO’, being the 5th single of the album. When discussing the album, lead singer John O’Callaghan shared how High Forever “feels like the odd ball, but it’s really important, especially eight records in, to take chances and to experiment with your sound”, with the track’s guitars being a homage for Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World.

Lyrics of High Forever also relate to Flowers on the Grave, the final track of The Maine’s previous album ‘You Are OK’. The lines ‘’But everything inevitably is temporary’’ echo the 2019 lyrics ‘’Everything is temporary / Even the sorrow that you carry’’, giving a link between the two eras.

Taking a risk with a different electronic sound, The Maine’s efforts pay off in High Forever as it adds an interesting mix into the album and sees them diversify their sound further.

four stars

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

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

In-article images courtesy of @billieeilish @postmalone and @themaineband via No changes were made to these images.

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

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