Another week, another Friday. This time one celebrated by many, some are jumping for joy because another holiday is on the horizon – Easter, some because they are experiencing a long weekend and some are even seeing the end of lockdown coming closer. To revel in all of this positive energy we made a list of our favourite tracks of the past week. Topping our reviews is newcomer Olivia Rodrigo who is making her mark on the world but you will also be able to find new additions of former Disney star turned pop star Dove Cameron, indie-pop band half•alive, songwriter/popstar Julia Michaels and Cassia.
Olivia Rodrigo – deja vu
If you were ever wondering who Taylor Swift’s follow-up would be, then look no further than Olivia Rodrigo. The 18-year-old actress/singer has already made the world her own with her vulnerable tales of heartbreak and despair with her two singles ‘drivers license’ and ‘deja vu’.
‘deja vu’ her latest effort goes on from the story she so graciously shared with us three months ago on ‘drivers license’. Still hurt about her ex moving on with a different girl yet this time more vengeful than before. Whilst last time she was heartbroken about not being able to experience moments with him this time around she has gone to the next phase, anger. “Another actress – I hate to think that I was just your type” deepens the rage inside of her whilst translating her rage into a magical product.
“She thinks it’s special but it’s all reused – that was our place, I found it first” grasps the listener and gets them transported to the realm Rodrigo was in when she penned down this tell-all track. The three minutes and 36 seconds create an atmosphere of intentional emotional release and well placed drops to keep the outsider interested in the story she wants to convey.
With just two solo songs released, Olivia Rodrigo is already making her mark to be Gen Z’s ultimate popstar. In ‘deja vu’ she goes back to staples of her childhood with “watching reruns of glee” and implying that she made her ex familiar with Billy Joel, arguably one of the best-selling artists in history.
Throughout all it’s not just obvious that she has remarkable vocal power but also is an impeccable lyricist. To have this much impact this early in her career can only allude to bigger things yet to come and if ‘drivers license’ and ‘deja vu’ are a sample of what her upcoming debut album is going to sound then it is fair to say that Rodrigo is not just the next big thing but a legend in the making.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
half•alive – What’s Wrong
2020 was a year of many things – destruction, confusion, chaos, and peace. For the Long Beach-based indie trio half•alive, 2020 was a year of transformation and a sense of sudden stillness. A feeling the band went on to effortlessly translate into their latest single ‘What’s Wrong’, which was released along with a tuxedoed, dance-heavy music video, packed with immersive visuals and striking choreographies.
Inspired by a misquoted statement from director Olivia Wilde, ‘What’s Wrong’ feels like an almost poetic take on a global feeling of hopelessness and dread and the endless search for some light to grasp onto. With lyrics like “it’s not ok then it ain’t quite done” and “the time’s always right to fix what’s wrong”, the track serves as a rather positive view on the current state of the world, one that leads its listeners to change by looking inward first. It asks them to look in the mirror and realise that is where the transformation is going to begin. Drop-heavy, with playful rhythms and paired with stunning vocals from lead singer Josh Taylor, the song is half•alive as we’ve got to know and love them and a definite staple for any indie fan out there.
But half•alive wouldn’t be half•alive without an equally jaw-dropping music video. Conceptualized and produced by Taylor, directed by Brantley Gutierrez, and choreographed by frequent, much-beloved collaborators JA Collective, the video serves as a counterpart to its musical second half, toying with the theme of transformation by going outward instead of inward. Taking the viewer on a tour through a small, scarcely decorated apartment, the video has the group show off their dancing skills once again, this time dressed in smart tuxedos and backed by a phenomenal usage of lighting and colour conception.
After searching for “the perfect song” for so long to encapsulate their own and everyone else’s experience of the past few months, half•alive found just that in ‘What’s Wrong’. Not because it is perfect, but because it is honest.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Cassia – Gotta Get Through Til Monday
Berlin-based group Cassia shared their new uplifting single ‘Gotta Get Through Til Monday’, which advocates the importance of self-love and taking time off for oneself to practice self-care. With a peaceful guitar picking melody and a captivating beat, the song captures the band’s dreamy and comforting musical style. On Instagram, lead singer Rob Ellis reveals: “It was written for someone I care about during a time she was really struggling with her confidence and feeling defeated”. This close-to-home description by Ellis makes sense of the deeply personal lyrics that he belts out during the chorus: “Confidence is shaken / Gotta get through til Monday / Time is still remaining / Can’t lie still forever”. The song title ‘Gotta Get Through Til Monday’ already suggests the desperation but also the motivation, sometimes hard to summon, to get through a new week. The song’s message is that it is essential to take a break and quit hustling for a minute – and we could not agree more.
Written by: Alexa Zsigmond
Dove Cameron – LazyBaby
Almost a year after her last single release, Dove Cameron is back with the highly anticipated ‘LazyBaby’. The former Disney Channel star has been releasing stand-alone tracks over the course of the past two years, a roaster of different sounds and vibes that have created the perfect buildup for her upcoming debut album.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that on ‘LazyBaby’ Cameron has gone down yet another path sonically, surfing smoothly with her vocals over a groovy bass-heavy bad bitch anthem.
On a first listen, cleverly humorous lyrics get lost in the catchiness of the chorus but a second, more attentive play reveals why listening to this tune feels like such a treat, with lines such as “On park ‘cause you drive me crazy / You turn me off / I’m all out of patience”.
‘LazyBaby’ will have you stunting your best dance moves – possibly a good amount of Disco Fingers as you feel the nostalgia build-up thanks to its retro-sounding production – all while boosting up your mood and confidence. Could you be asking for anything more?
Written by: Benns Borgese
Julia Michaels – All Your Exes
Julia Michaels has only gone and done it once again with the release of her latest pop-rock anthem ‘All Your Exes’. This powerful, slightly comedic and oddly relatable anthem represents the energy we all could use at times to confront our anger.
Michaels previously known for fearing relationships/love and hence killing “relationships for art” in the likes of ‘Happy’, to right now expressing the feeling of wishing your significant others’ exes were all dead. The bold and aggressive impact of the song will resonate with many. When entering into a new relationship, you don’t want to know who they’ve been with in their past, or what their life was like before you because all that matters is embarking on your new adventures, with nobody else entering into that equation, which is what Michaels quite obviously makes clear throughout the song.
The 27-year-old entices her listeners immediately with the opening of a stripped back, soft acoustic guitar and her angelic, raspy voice before erupting into a much grittier electric guitar and drum sound pre-chorus. Moreover, the anthemic chorus, opening with the line “I wanna live in a world where all your exes are dead” is already creating the inevitable scenes of moshpits all around the globe, where we’ll go from crying one minute to Julia Michaels’s other therapy-like discography to screaming the lyrics of this absolute banger, when touring can eventually resume. Having written this masterpiece with partner JP Saxe and taking on that slight comedic element as a result, ‘All Your Exes’ will resonate with many and accompany both Michael’s music ensemble and maturity in her sound over the years perfectly.
Written by: Issy Todd