Music Reviews

New Releases Roundup: Singles

Close up of a needle on a record player
Izzy Morris

In January, the first entry to this year’s ‘New Releases Roundup’ column consisted of new releases from established TV/Film series. This month, Impact‘s Izzy Morris has reviewed newly released singles by some well-known, and a few less-well-known, singers.

Updown– Piri and Tommy

Tik Tok power duo Piri and Tommy are back, and this time it’s with a cheeky dance track that does not beat about the bush. Using warping synths and twinkly notes, the duo create a fantasy-like soundscape to represent Piri’s sexual prowess. It’s perfectly built for a dancefloor, with the catchy, glitchy repetitive ‘updown’ in the chorus, summoning your head to move up and down with it. However, when you peer closer into the lyrics, there’s something a little uncomfortable; Piri compares herself to other girls that aren’t willing to ‘put the work in’, but that she is different because she’s willing to ‘set the motion’ for her partner. This otherwise infectiously dance worthy track is somewhat let down by this evident internalised misogyny.

RATATA– Skrillex, Missy Elliott, Mr Oizo

Skrillex. Missy Elliot. Consider my attention caught. RATATA is an incredibly short shot of energy from Skrillex’s ‘Quest For Fire’. It perfectly brings Missy Elliot’s tenure as a rap and r&b pioneer into the present, with plenty of references to the past.

The reverberating kick drum packs a punch

Featuring a House of Pain-esque siren sound in the background and a bitty, glitch motif, the track successfully merges two very different worlds, in a way that certainly leaves an impression. The reverberating kick drum packs a punch, and the rest of the production elements complement the rapper, without overpowering her, but also without forcing her to carry the track’s weight. One thing is abundantly clear: these two musical titans are not ready to lose their crowns.

Float– Janelle Monae, Seun Kuti, Egypt 808

Letting go of self-doubt and societal pressure, Float celebrates finding peace in your environment, and rising above earthly challenges. Providing a contrast from a lot of Monae’s more in-your-face groovy hits, this afrobeat infused beat is simultaneously celebratory and carefree. It’s rich with a colourful brass section, and yet feels as light as Monae feels in the track. Float is a really interesting take on braggadocios rap, in that it accepts that there is always a temptation to let doubts and obstacles get to you, but really there is so much to celebrate. Toasting her resume, the track is jubilant and a nice change of pace for the visionary artist.

Nice Idea– Kae Tempest

Nice Idea is all about just wanting to stay in bed with the person you’re in love with all day. You’d expect a track like this thematically to therefore be relaxed and flowy, but Kae Tempest, as per usual, loves to throw a curveball. The spoken word creative shuts out the horrors of the world around them with a high energy drum and bass, against a more classical sounding piano.

It’s a nice contrast, matching the difficulties of wanting a simple stress free life to focus on the people you love, and that matter within a landscape of difficulty, turbulent politics and stress. Both clever and a captivating listen, Kae Tempest once again demonstrates that they’ve developed a signature, masterful formula.

Glue Song– beabadoobee

Angelic aspirant vocals

Indie-pop darling beabadoobee has also been struck by Cupid’s arrow this Valentine’s Day; Glue Song is a gorgeously gooey track, about feeling attached to someone that you’re infatuated with. Her angelic aspirant vocals are perfectly paired with a timelessly romantic accompaniment of strings and horns. It’s pure, joyful and warm, which is a lovely colour on Bea, who often releases tracks tinged with a degree of sadness. This is a song that will surely be stuck on repeat for many for quite some time.

Giant Feelings– Eloise

Eloise, on the other hand, is stuck in a completely different way to beabadoobee. ‘Stuck with giant feelings’ at the end of a toxic relationship, this vulnerable ballad moves glides between heartbreak, reflection and anger, all the while showcasing the singer-songwriter’s gorgeously delicate vocals, treated perfectly through harmony layers and moments of light and shade that are oh so gentle on the ears.

Soft touch and the venom in the lyrics add an interesting duality

It’s got a lovely simplistic acoustic quality to it, with some pop production creeping in to inject some more life into the track. Her soft touch and the venom in the lyrics add an interesting duality to resemble the exhaustion in her resentment for this person that still manages to occupy her thoughts. This song is definitely going to be occupying mine.

Maria– Sam Burton

Sam Burton transports listeners back to a ‘dream of the past’ with his new single, Maria. With sweeping strings, a soft distant chorus, and echoing vocals that quite literally feel like the ghost of a former time, the song has a beautiful timelessness that’s full of charm. There’s a sensuality and sense of intimacy to the simple bassline and the intricate finger picking of Burton’s 12 string on the track. It doesn’t shine with an arresting brilliance, but it is certainly a pretty track that harks back to the past with grace.

Izzy Morris

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image 1 courtesy of @piri.and.tommy via No changes were made to this image.

In-article image 2 courtesy of @kaetempest via No changes were made to this image.

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