New Music Friday: Khalid caresses the ears, Mariah and Ciara bring the bops
A weekly glide through the five New Music Friday headliners, with the ‘best of the rest’ shoved in at the bottom.
Khalid – Better
Did you know the Khalid and Normani track reached its peak on the Billboard Hot 100 one YES ONE week ago, despite coming out in literal February? We stan a slow-burning anthem. This latest track is completely irresistible: Khalid has one of the most affecting male voices in the business right now, and Better manages to pull off being low-key without forgetting a memorable, hooky chorus. I look forward to this being number one in, like, May 2020.
Ciara – Dose
OK, this slaps: Ciara continues to deliver with her third single of the year, one that will lend itself to C-H-O-R-E-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y. Its marching-band-style production isn’t… ground-breaking? But in a year peppered with lazy, boring, forgettable pop music, this injection of energy is very, very welcome.
Mariah Carey – GTFO
This track is SO FAR down the UK New Music Friday playlist – they know this is Mariah Fucking Carey, right? – so its chances of becoming a hit aren’t exactly high, but this a delicious slow-jam that flaunts the airier side of her vocal spectrum. I’m not 100% convinced I’ll remember how this goes in 24 hours time, but I’m also fairly confident I’ll come back to it.
Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex
The most frustrating thing about this song is that the first two notes of the intro made me think I was about to listen to Britney Spears’ Born To Make You Happy and, reader, this is not that. For me, LDR still hasn’t topped the sheer magnificence of the Born To Die era, but this is the most luscious thing I’ve heard her do for quite some time. Wistful and elegantly produced, it’s got my curiosity piqued for wherever this new era is going.
Ray BLK – Empress
The title track from the upcoming album, Empress continues to showcase Ray BLK as one of our most exciting talents: backed by very sparse instrumentation, her vocals are completely captivating, her lyrics original, and I just think she needs the A-list status she deserves very, very quickly.
And the rest…
Call Me Loop’s new one, Cut & Run, is a right little bop. I am BOUNCING in my seat. The 1975’s Sincerity is Scary is… not my favourite of this era so far? Maybe I just need to be patient with it. Amy Macdonald’s got an inoffensive Radio 2 banger out today, called Woman of the World; and Dolly Parton has done a song with Sia(!) called Here I Am, which isn’t particularly great, but it does have the obvious upside of being a Dolly Parton and Sia song. My love affair with LANY continues with Thick And Thin – to be honest it’s getting quite hard to tell their songs apart, but for now I’m still on board regardless.
Words: Shaun Kitchener