Another week, another New Music Friday, this time filled with songs that will touch you to your core. Amber Run’s ‘52 Blue’ captures the collective sadness brought along by this past year of nothingness and despair whilst Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘good 4 u’ brings us back to teenage hurt and the indescribable rage that follows that is powerful as can be. The other tracks included this week are just as beautiful and are sure to bring you retrospective sadness, joy and fun. So please enjoy our favourites and go into the weekend with a wide range of emotions brought to you by these talented artists.
Amber Run – 52 Blue
Every once in a while, a song sees the light of day that perfectly captures the collective emotional turmoil of either specific individuals or a whole group of people. In times of dread, darkness and chaos, when people have both never felt more overwhelmed and alone at the same time, the Nottingham-based indie-group Amber Run, most known for their stellar hit “I Found”, have managed to put ours and everyone’s feelings into one song – and listening to it hurts exactly as much as you would think it did. ‘52 Blue’ not only sounds hauntingly beautiful, with almost cinematic undertones, sombre guitar strokes and lead singer Joe Keogh’s angelic vocals serenading the listener, but it feels like meeting someone who finally sees you, the real you, with all its cracks and dents.
With stunning lyrics like “oh, let’s go higher, help me see the world below as not hell on earth but home” and “if so then why choose to build me this way? A frame struggling to sustain the weight of modern life?”, Amber Run’s latest musical venture feels like a mirror held up to our faces – faces that are grieving a year lost, the person they could have become and all the experiences that could have been made. Normality has long been anything but normal and with more people than ever feeling like they are breaking underneath the weight of today’s sorrows, the British trio has chosen to help carry the burden, dedicating it to everyone who has ever felt alone in a place that is so full of people.
Inspired by the absolute solitude of one blue whale – one that sings at a different pitch from all the others, forever swimming in the ocean, crying out for companionship that never comes – ’52 Blue’ tackles intricate topics that couldn’t be any more current. But while it might not sound like it at first, in the end, Amber Run asks us to remember the most important detail – there is and always will be a happy ending to this story: the whale might not be all that lonely after all. And neither are we.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u
Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘good 4 u’ is the last single to be released before the 18-year-old’s debut album ‘SOUR’ will be out into the world. As a final snippet, ‘good 4 u’ delivers the same Rodrigo with a different kick. ‘drivers license’ and ‘deja vu’ showed the universe the young pop-star in a highly broken state, grieving a lost love and her ex moving on with someone else. With ‘good 4 u’ Rodrigo has moved onto another phase, anger.
This anger is something so raw and honest, capturing the mind of a teenage girl so effortlessly. Channelling the pettiness once presented in Taylor Swift’s ‘Picture to Burn’ or ‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’. The daunting electronic beats, prelude the various drops bringing another dimension to the foreground, the range of rage she feels throughout the healing period.
“I guess that therapist I found for you, she really helped – Now you can be a better a man for your brand new girl”, brings back the theme of ‘deja vu’, the one where Rodrigo allows him to get to know her whole heart and soul whilst helping him to become the best version of himself to eventually leave her and that another person reaps the benefits of it. The 18-year-old singer and actress leaves her entire emotional state for the listener to grab, becoming the most candid she has ever been with ‘good 4 u’. “Remember when you swore to God I was the only person who ever got you – Well, screw that and screw you – You will never have to hurt the way you know that I do”, transports us into her state of mind and makes us want to walk into the flaming bedroom of her music video with her.
‘good 4 u’ casts Olivia Rodrigo in a new light, no longer the sad-heartbroken girl but the fierce and powerful woman standing up for her own feelings. This time Rodrigo has made a track to stomp-dance and scream along to, only to counteract that with her previous singles and simmer down the emotions and cry your eyes out to.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
The Montreals – Wasting Time
It’s been a few quiet months for the eclectic South Australian quartet The Montreals after the group’s latest endeavour ‘Horror Movies’, released last summer, the band effortlessly paved the way for a new chapter, perfecting their signature sleazy, surfy sound. Now, a few moons later, the band is back with their first venture of 2021 – the fun, electric ‘Wasting Time’, a song about all things entertaining, which for some might just be a good night’s sleep or a long car ride through the night.
Starting off with haunting synth sounds, the song quickly follows into what The Montreals are known and loved for – stellar vocals underlined with an addictive, dark beat and crowned with gritty electric guitars to complete the band’s homegrown DIY style of “cartwheeling the line between polished and raucous”. This may just be the first release from the Australian rockers, but with more musical surprises down the line, we already know that The Montreals will be one of the bands to make our summer just that one bit sweeter.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Conan Gray – Astronomy
‘Astronomy’ brings Conan Gray’s music back to the soft-bedroom-pop he showed to the world years prior, and in his 2020 debut album ‘Kid Krow’. This time, however, Gray has grown up and has left the teenage emotional state behind and replaced it for retrospective sadness.
The light acoustic guitar and backing vocals bring ‘Astronomy’ to life. The switch between the acceleration of the volume of the instrumentals and near-nothingness but his voice grasps the listener to feel all the hurt in Gray’s words and vocals. The 22-year-old has a talent for allowing people into his world by his tell-all songs. ‘Astronomy’ even feels like a perfectly unpolished page ripped out of his personal diary.
“Cause socially speaking we were the same – With runaway fathers and mothers who drank – A tale as old as time – Young love don’t last for life” and “We’re two worlds apart – From far away I wish I’d stayed with you – But here face to face – A stranger that I once knew – I thought if I wandered I’d fall back in love”, are lyrics that possess rawness and honesty filled with a lifetime of sadness and regret. Therefore, it is best to cast Conan Gray at the top of his field. Gray is not only a pioneer of bedroom-pop but the living embodiment of it and each track leads the way to a hidden memory within his soul.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
Inhaler – Who’s Your Money On (Plastic House)
Irish foursome Inhaler keeps on teasing their upcoming debut album ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ – and we couldn’t be more excited about it! The new 6-minute long single ‘Who’s Your Money On (Plastic House)’ starts off with an energetic beat and evolves into a much calmer song towards the end.
Instead of starting slowly and building up the song as the end approaches, Inhaler goes against the grain and does the exact opposite of that. After the success of the previous single ‘Cheer Up Baby’, which they performed on The Late Late Show with James Cordon, ‘Who’s Your Money On’ is a perfect follow-up to their first release.
Our favourite part is undoubtedly the magnificent instrumental bridge that connects the two parts of the song very nicely. Inhaler seems to be singing about a love they let go to waste, and which they now very much regret, “I was just getting to know you / When I turned my back / Did I miss my chance? / You almost slipped through my hands.”
‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ is expected on July 9 – one week earlier than initially planned. The band announced this exciting news on their Instagram, “We’ve decided to bring It Won’t Always Be Like This forward a week! Our debut album, out everywhere on 9th July – we can’t wait for you to hear it.’ We can already imagine ourselves dancing to the album at festivals very soon!
Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen