I’ve no idea how statistically popular my post was about new music last week, but I had a lot of fun writing it so I’m back again for round 2. This week, Kip Moore (pictured above) is back with his second single in as many weeks, Tide Lines have released their fifth single from ‘Eye of the Storm’, their second album which also comes out today and there are more hits from Green Day, Luke Combs and more. I’m afraid this week the Disappointments list is a little longer, but there’s still plenty to check out.
For those that haven’t seen last week’s post, each Friday, Spotify produces as Release Radar playlist, based on your listening habits, and each week I’m picking a few of my faves, some surprises, a couple of disappointments and sometimes something softer (although not this week) and sharing them. This week the playlist seems to have honed in a little more on the Rock and Country genres, but there’s still a pretty wide mix! At the end of the post will be the full track list so you can see what Spotify offered me for the week. Here’s this week’s picks.
Top 3 Picks
1. Six Feet Apart – Luke Combs
So, as this lockdown continues, there are all sorts of songs coming out to support it in various ways, some charity singles, some just trying to keep our spirits up. We’ll be getting to some more of them a little later but this one is right on the money. It’s not too much of one emotion, it strikes a perfect balance between looking forward to all the things we’re going to do when it’s over, but being very honest in the first part of the chorus about how much we’re all missing things, in this instance his parents, his band and being out on the road and the fact none of us know how long this will go on for. Luke Combs is at the top of the Country game right now and at this strange time he has released a song that truly captures how a big majority of us are feeling. Thoughtful, at times sad, at times trying to find the positive (‘there will be light after dark, someday when we aren’t six feet apart’ hits RIGHT in the feels) and remembering what we’ll no longer take for granted. It’s beautiful, understated, well worth a listen and superbly authentic.
2. Lazy Bones – Otis Big Guitar Mix – Green Day
Again, going for songs with emotion, this song talks honestly and openly about having wayyyyy too much going on in your head and being so tired of it all. The opening lyric ‘I’m too tired to be bored, I’m too bored to be tired’ immediately struck a chord and made me think ‘oh, we’re talking about this? Good, let’s go’ and I wanted to hear more of what they had to say about being in that headspace. The song continues in it’s raw assessment of emotion and is on a firm bed of the good, solid rock sound you expect from Green Day. Musically, it has the edge of the guitars and the upbeat tempo from the drums which makes it’s somewhat sombre topic feel upbeat and catchy. It’s a big yes from me.
3. London in the Spring – Passenger
This soft, calm ode to London is a beautiful track from the artist who brought the big hit Let Her Go to us in back in 2012 (I highly recommend the entire All The Little Lights album, to be honest). As he sings his way through the city, he let’s his naysayers know that he doesn’t think the best is already behind us as a society and that he is reminded of life’s simple pleasures as he ambles through London in the spring. The acoustic feel of the track has the air of spring about it too and really compliments the narrative. It’s a wonderfully calm and uplifting song and I am hoping this single release means there’s more new music to come.
1. Lady – Brett Young
I’ll admit, I was skeptical about another male Country star singing about how great women are in the post-Me Too era. So far the track record has not been great and the most notable, Keith Urban’s ‘Female’ was quite frankly a cringefest. But, this isn’t and it’s probably because it’s considerably more personal than Keith’s attempt to lift up women in general. In this track Brett is singing to his baby daughter and letting her know how great her Mum is. He’s telling their daughter all the great things about her Mum and hoping she grows up to have the same qualities. I know on paper that sounds sickly-sweet, but the track itself comes across as sweet, but authentic and true to himself as well. It’s a touching song and yes, it does stick heavily to the heteronormative gender roles but since the Country Music world has a) a bad track record in this area recently and b) only manages to play women on country radio something like 11% of the time, we’ll tick this off as a job pretty well done so far as Country Music is definitely not ready for a conversation around perpetuation of gender norms yet.
I was just glad it wasn’t the same kind of sycophantic, inauthentic offerings we’ve had so far.
2. I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better) – Billy Talent
I’ll admit, I liked some Billy Talent singles when I was a teen, and I truly mean that, but they weren’t a band I listened to religiously as they were just on the edge of being a bit too scream for me. I was aware that may not be to my slightly mellowed out tastes these days, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Partly due to Benjamin Kowalewicz’s unique voice, this is absolutely a Billy Talent track and it doesn’t feel compromised at all, but there isn’t any screaming and just a tiny bit less thrashing around than the singles I liked as a teen, so I really, really enjoy it. It’s still undeniably a rock song and although the title may seem very relevant to current situations, it’s narrative is a little more broad than just the immediate situation, encouraging the listener that things will get better and life is worth hanging on to. Will definitely be checking out more of Billy Talent’s more recent offerings and hazarding a guess that I will be pleased with my decision to do so.
Not For Me
1. Get In My Way – Jack Garratt
From really enjoying the track ‘Better’, last week, I’m afraid that Get In My Way is jut not for me. The verses are angsty, brooding semi-spoken in style but hard to determine, with believe it or not, the faint hint of Korn about them, but they are paired with a high pitched, soaring chorus which although a lot more pleasant in sound, lacks substance in it’s content as it’s just ‘nothing’s going to get in my way’ repeated 4 times. The electronic-inspired, angular and slightly awkward feeling music is actually quite catchy and interesting though (despite that description) but I’m afraid the whole mix just isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe this is what Jack’s more usual style is, as I hadn’t heard him before last week’s offering- if that’s the case then I bid him well, but I’m afraid I won’t be going along for the ride as a fan.
1. You are the Champions – Queen and Adam Lambert
Back to the Covid-19 related offerings and I’m afraid that I’m disappointed by this but not because of their abilities in any way. I love Queen, whenever I’m asked if you could see one band of the past, it would be Queen when Freddie was at the front, that being said I like Adam Lambert and do aim one day to see them live with him at the helm, but this song just feels a little bit lazy. I appreciate and fully support the WHO cause the profits are going to, but if I’m honest, I think the people this track is released in aid of (to honour frontline workers) deserved a little better. The only difference in this track to the original (bar it being entirely Adam Lambert on vocals, granted) is the changing of one word in the last chorus. I personally feel that they could have done this one of two ways, re-release We Are The Champions (either original or with Lambert vocals) as a single (it’s for charity, people would still have bought it) or made more of an effort to add more to the rewrite than one word change. There’s no extra, really relevant verse, there’s nothing more than a ‘let’s change we to you the last time round’ which just feels rather lazy. There isn’t anything wrong with the sound of the track, Lambert sings it well and the music is just as good as the original, but the sentiment it was trying to give off just feels pretty lackluster and a bit of an easy way out move. Mostly it just feels like a token flagwave exercise.
2. Together (We’ll Get Through This) – Steve Curtis Chapman ft. Brad Paisley, Tasha Cobbs Leonard & Lauren Alaina
This track starts off well, Steve Curtis Chapman’s soft voice talks about the hardships and unknowns we’re currently facing and how although it’s tough, he’s so glad to be facing them with someone by his side. Brad Paisley comes in on the second verse and says broadly the same thing and then Lauren Alaina (who I really love) comes in to reiterate the same point. And the point is pretty cliche and vague. We’re all together, it’s going to be ok, we’ll get through, it’s tough but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. As much a those statements are true, they are used in any and every tough situation. This doesn’t feel very specific or relevant to this instance, maybe that will give it longevity but it has been done so many times before I think it verges on making it forgettable. It’s a good song, but it’s not really more than nice and at the end of the track there are so many instruments and so many voices, both Lauren Alaina and Tasha Cobbs Leonard showing their incredible vocal ranges at the same time, but all mainly just singing the word ‘Together’ a lot- it feels lacking in substance but so overwhelming in noise. I think it’s a shame it was released the same day as Luke Comb’s ‘Six Feet Apart’. I am trying hard not to compare them but where this song is a vague attempt to uplift and reassure, Six Feet Apart authentically talks about the details and all the emotions, both good and bad. It makes this effort, although with it’s heart in the right place and not a terrible performance musically, just seem a bit wishy-washy and cliched.
2. I Know Alone – Haim
I’m quite a Haim fan, especially when I got really into their first album ‘Days Are Gone’ back in 2013. I was excited to see them on this week’s list, but this single feels a little flatter than their previous work. I really enjoyed the up and down feel of tracks on Days Are Gone, but this just feels a little monotone and although you can hear their harmonies, they are not as prominent or dramatic as before. The electronic beat and synth is good though and I’ll be completely honest, when listening to this a second time to really gather my thought as I wrote this paragraph, I did enjoy it a bit more. Maybe it will grow on me but I’ll admit freely I was hoping for a little more.
I mentioned both Kip Moore and Tide Lines in the top paragraph and the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that they have not made any of the lists. Truth is, they both would be in the top 3, no doubt about it. Crazy for You Tonight – Kip Moore is a beautiful love song and Midnight City – Tide Lines is a wonderful track about not knowing everything right now. However, Tide Lines album was released today and Kip’s is coming at the end of May and I will be doing a track by track album review of both very soon (Tide Lines will be this week!) so I didn’t want to reiterate the same things in multiple posts.
Other tracks I did really enjoy, that probably all made a metaphorical ‘long list’ as I was planning this post, include the new release from The Killers ‘Fire In Bone’ which is a great track with the vaguest hint of Bowie about it, Madina Lake’s latest offering ‘Playing with Fire’ which is the same quirky, slightly electronic, rock people love them for. The Used are also back again with more awkward, deeply thoughtful, intensity and angst that makes them so intriguing on ‘1984 (in jest)’ and Justin Biltonen, lead singer of Three Doors Down who went Country has an excellent track ‘Worth Hanging Onto’. It’s a seterotypical country love song, it mentions bibles, whiskey and boots (obviously!) but it’s worth the listen, it does have something that stands out from the crow and the fiddle melody is particularly great throughout.
So that’s it for this week, a mixed bag with a few more disappointments than last week, but overall not a bad group and I still enjoyed listening to them all and thinking about them in a review way. Now, I’m off to stream the new Tide Lines album and I’m very excited! Track list of everything that was served up to me is below.
Explicit Songs are marked (E) at the end, probably don’t listen them at work or near small children…
- Crazy For You Tonight – Kip Moore
- Midnight City – Tide Lines
- Worth Hanging Onto – Justin Biltonen
- Together (We’ll Get Through This) – Steven Curtis Chapman ft. Brad Paisley, Tasha Cobbs Leonard & Lauren Alaina
- I Know Alone – Haim
- Six Feet Apart – Luke Combs
- You Are The Champions – Queen & Adam Lambert
- Get In My Way – Jack Garratt
- Lady – Brett Young
- London In The Spring – Passenger
- Playing With Fire – Madina Lake
- Don’t Let Me Down – Milky Chance & Jack Johnson
- Happy Does – Kenny Chesney
- Sing to Me, Willie – Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson
- I Love My Country – Acoustic At Home – Florida Georgia Line
- Bleed Into Me – Trivium
- 1984 (infinite jest) – The Used
- Fire In Bone – The Killers
- If I Were A Bell – Long Version – Ella Fitzgerald
- Quicksand – ChangesNowBowie Version – David Bowie
- False God – Ryan Hurd
- Crowd My Mind – Brett Eldredge
- Music – Nightwish
- Nothing Lasts Forever – Sam Hunt
- Lazy Bones – Otis Big Guitar Mix – Green Day (E)
- I Beg To Differ (This Will Get Better) – Billy Talent
- Classy Girls – B Verion – The Lumineers
- Her World Or Mine – String Ensemble – Michael Ray