New Music Friday

It’s Friday again, which means GEM’s back with some brand-new song reviews for you! What’s better than starting off the weekend with some new tunes to listen to? March is around the corner and just like that another month has already gone by. February has blessed us with some awesome music, and we can’t wait for what next month has in store music wise! This last NMF of the month features pop queen Dua Lipa, as well as indie-band Wallows’ new deluxe version of  their 2020 released EP ‘Remote’, and rising star Noah Cyrus’ collab with PJ Harding. For more hits, make sure to check out our weekly New Music Friday playlist on Spotify!

Edited by: Ine Vanvuchelen

Wallows – Remote (Deluxe)

When it comes to movies, producers and film companies often like to surprise the fans and excited cinema-goers. Dedicated film-lovers, and especially Marvel fans know that sometimes the best part is waiting at the end when it seems like the credits have already rolled down. Sometimes, those very last few surprising minutes can change everything. But this doesn’t just go for movies. Looking at Wallows’ latest release, the very special deluxe edition of their ever so popular EP ‘Remote’, the three new additional tracks added to this already existing gem could be best described as just that – a post-credit scene. And one of the best kind.

Diving straight into experiment-land with the first slow burner ‘On Time’, quintessentially a heartful ode to love and how wrong it can sometimes be, the talented threesome sets the first punch by having drummer Cole Preston take over the part as the vocalist for the very first time. Supported by warm ukulele strokes and a mellow beat in the background, Preston’s soft vocals wrap itself around the listener like a blanket, aiming straight for the heart and obviously succeeding just as well.

Taking a rather electronic, fast-paced indie-route, the next song titled ‘Quarterback’ is Wallows at their best. Fun and playful as ever, the track once again boasts Preston at the forefront, making it clear that the group had successfully been hiding a shining treasure all these years. One that has definitely come to stay. Lastly, ‘Another Story’ almost feels like its own glistening post-credit scene, ultimately making us long for much more with its rather short length of just one minute and 42 seconds. Cinematic and a pleasure to the ears especially when enjoyed with headphones, the brilliant number marks the ending of a new chapter of the marvellous bunch. And with lyrics singing “we know that every ending opens a door to a new beginning”, we can expect that ‘Remote (Deluxe)’ has definitely not been Wallows’ last trick hidden up their sleeves.

Written by: Laura Weingrill

PJ Harding, Noah Cyrus – Dear August

This collaboration of PJ Harding and Noah Cyrus is exactly what we need right now. It is a love letter to the future and staying hopeful in difficult times like these: ‘Dear August, tell me that there is light / At the end of all this starless night’. The song unites us by reflecting on the exhaustion and impatience that most people are experiencing right now.

The delicate acoustic guitar that accompanies the singers’ softly blending voices throughout the song turns ‘Dear August’ into a combination of folk, country and Americana. Harding and Cyrus both emphasise how much the song means to them as they have been struggling with increased depression and anxiety during the pandemic: “We were in this cloud of dark where it’s very easy to fall into bad habits. July and August 2020 were the hardest parts of quarantine for me. I lost my grandma, and I was looking to the future for hope”, Cyrus says in an interview.

The song’s emotional and encouraging message is fitting in moments where we struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The minimalistic instrumental accompaniment puts the tactfully harmonising voices in the spotlight and intensifies the comforting atmosphere the song expresses. We need more honest and hopeful songs in times, where everyone attempts to deal with the restrictions and losses of the pandemic: ‘Dear August, please don’t let me fall / ‘Cause I don’t know where this road is headed anymore’.

Written by: Alexa Zsigmond

HAIM – Gasoline (feat. Taylor Swift)

A few months after HAIM’s highly acclaimed third album ‘Women in Music Pt. III’ the three sisters are back with reimagines of some of their tracks. One of them is ‘Gasoline’ this time featuring their pop-icon friend Taylor Swift. 

‘Gasoline (feat. Taylor Swift)’ uses the sensual beats and lyrics mixed with the light EDM beats within the soft-rock track yet this rendition has a slightly more in-depth tone. The already perfect song saw HAIM bring their tales of going back to an ex and lustful endeavours to prominence all the while combining the world of romances turned into a toxic story “You took me back you shouldn’t have – Now it’s your fault if I mess around” and the pleasure of living in the moment and pushing back all of the trouble your decisions will cause in the future. This version however created another layer to ‘Gasoline’. Swift’s vocals confront the listener with the immediate sadness felt within the loneliness of being hold by someone you know is not the right decision, the overarching feeling of trying to push away the depressing atmosphere when you’re in the moment of all-consuming pleasure. 

HAIM and Taylor Swift previously collaborated on Swift’s song ‘no body no crime’ from her latest album ‘evermore’ with ‘Gasoline’ they have proved that their voices blend together so well that people might come to see Taylor Swift as the fourth HAIM sister. If one day the four women decide to team up together for a whole album, there’s already no doubt that this supergroup would break barriers and be on top of the world. 

Written by: Lauren Dehollogne

Dua LipaWe’re Good

‘We’re Good’ is the third single for Dua Lipa’s ‘Moonlight Edition’ of her most recent album ‘Future nostalgia’ released in 2020. The singer is known for writing forthright lyrics and creating an infectious – no pun intended – melody, and she did it once again. In the song, Lipa envisions a possible break-up with someone as the relationship is supposedly not meant to last. The lyrics are brutally honest and suggest that it is time to go separate ways: “I think it’s pretty plain and simple, we gave it all we could / It’s time I wave goodbye from the window / Let’s end this like we should and say we’re good” Lipa sings in the pre-chorus. 

‘We’re Good’ begins with an electronic beat and a modest guitar melody which continues throughout the verses and the pre-chorus of the song, making it the perfect song for a solo dance party. The background guitar and the singer’s rhythmic vocals build up energy in the chorus, and then the sound returns to the catchy beat in the next verse. Dua Lipa’s unique deep voice and the memorable sound design assist the suggestive and honest lyrics which express the type of thoughts that people usually keep to themselves: ‘Now you’re holding this against me like I knew you would / I’m trying my best to make this easy / So don’t give me that look, just say we’re good’. This song is ideal to release some energy and dance around the room if you have been sitting at your desk the whole day.

Written by: Alexa Zsigmond

Tom Odell – numb

Have you ever used Tom Odell and lo-fi in the same context? No? Well, neither have we. Until today, that is. After three long years, the British singer-songwriter has finally returned from the shadows with his latest strike, the utterly surprising ‘numb’, a mark in time that shows that the talented singer has left his past behind and is ready to set his foot into new territory.

Ridden by an inducing beat that you can feel move your heart every time it packs a punch, with an electrifying sudden break in the middle of the track, and striking piano lines that have become a trademark for the 30-year-old, the song is anything but ordinary. Underlined by typical warm lo-fi sounds and Odell’s haunting vocals, it tells a tale of numbness, of love that has lost all its meaning. Unsurprisingly, the single’s production has been polished to shattering perfection and serves as the delicious icing on an already incredible cake for everyone who has a knack for lo-fi and electronic music.

Looking at the talented singer’s past, ‘numb’ has successfully turned the page to a new chapter of Odell’s musical tale. And with an album on its way, we can definitely expect to see a lot more surprises coming from this musical wizard.

Written by: Laura Weingrill

Conan Gray – ‘Overdrive’

Conan Gray is back with another track filled with pure pop excellence. The 22-year-old that made the world fall in love with him and his dream-pop emotional anthems is yet again in touch with his feelings. 

The Texan native’s debut album ‘Kid Krow’ created the ambiguous presence of the love stories that form a person’s coming of age. It was an album filled with tracks that explored who Gray was and what he wanted to be. As delicate and fragile his starting point was the more powerful ‘Overdrive’ is. ‘Overdrive’ gives the young adult a chance to explain the way he feels and that he is not going to allow anyone to minimise these prominent emotions.

The heat and sensuality are filled within the highs and lows of the rhythm and the slight electronic touch makes this the perfect song to be blasted on the dance floor if these were open right now. In absence of club nights, we’ll have to do it with our imagination and a constant replay of ‘Overdrive’. Conan Gray is much more than a teen-pop phenomenon he is the revolution within the dream-pop atmosphere.    

Written by: Lauren Dehollogne

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