The turning of the tides is set in as artists are no longer confined by their set genre and experiment as much as they can. Prime examples of this are Ed Sheeran’s latest single ‘Bad Hits’ or WILLOW’s start of a new era with ‘t r a n s p a r a n t s o u l (feat. Travis Barker)’ and ‘Lipstick’. To celebrate this week even further we have shared our love for Bastille’s return to their dystopian world, LANY’s first single of their upcoming album and many more.
Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
When star singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran returned from his two-year hiatus after his 240-show tour for his uber-popular album ‘Divide’, the now 30-year-old set out to surprise his fans and listeners. “The first single is really different. Really, really different,”, the famous pop-king stated in an interview with BBC’s Radio 1 at the end of May, leaving his dedicated fanbase curious and peeled to their screens for another taste. And finally, after countless teasers and previews, the first track of Sheeran’s upcoming fifth studio album has finally seen the light of day – and one thing is for sure, the surprise has definitely been achieved.
In the fantastical world of Ed Sheeran, it’s easy to release any kind of music, because the singer and his team and basically the whole world know that anything the artist touches will straight turn into gold – or platinum, for that matter. But despite that, the Suffolk-based star felt nervous about the release of his comeback-single, a track that is so unlike anything he had ever done before – and that is saying something, with his previous endeavour, the multi-layered ‘No.6 Collaborations Project’ racing through a variety of genres. Based on a bouncy acoustic guitar and with Sheeran’s high-pitched and ever-so perfect harmonies slithering through the almost four-minute long rollercoaster ride, ‘Bad Habits’ sounds and feels like the crowned summer track of 2021, especially once it reaches its chorus and an EDM-inspired beat hits the listener’s ears. As a reflection on Sheeran’s past habits of constant drinking and late night partying and what these actions tended to lead to (something he gave up due to the pandemic and the birth of his daughter), the sunny hit takes a massive leap away from the singer-songwriter’s past, more quieter musical adventures, while still staying close to what has always made him unique and so beloved – turning personal stories and hardships into global hits.
Topping everything off with a cinematic quest directed by Dave Meyers that sees Sheeran turn into a fang-toothed Vampire rushing through the city in a shocking pink suit, ‘Bad Habits’ is proof that no matter how long you have been in this business, there are always new, musical places to be explored. And in a world that could dearly need a change, Ed Sheeran has set out to give us exactly that and so much more.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Charli Adams (ft. Novo Amor) – Seventeen Again
Charli Adam’s newest single ‘Seventeen Again’ is a thoughtful and dreamy song about finding ‘home’ in different places and contemplating the possibilities and opportunities that the world may offer. Even though the song’s instrumentals seems rather melancholic, the lyrics also carry hope: “I could get a quick job / Selling roses on Fridays outside the nightclub / Make some friends, call them up”.
The title refers to Charli herself, who moved out of her parent’s home for the first time at seventeen. The singer states that she fantasises about moving far away quite often, which might explain the “daydreaming atmosphere” of the song: “Romanticised idea of constantly moving around.” Welsh singer and songwriter Novo Amor enriches ‘Seventeen Again’ with his soft harmonies and helps shape the rich sound.
The song’s slow rhythm, which encourages a soft sway, is supported by a rocky guitar rhythm and an electric guitar towards the end. It invites the listener to dive deeper into the meaning of the lyrics and the emotions of ‘Seventeen Again’.
Written by: Alexa Zsigmond
Bastille – Distorted Light Beam
Two years after the release of their last studio album ‘Doom Days’, English band Bastille is back with their brand-new lead single ‘Distorted Light Beam’.
Following the thematic footsteps set by the pandemic-release ‘Goosebumps EP’, ‘Distorted Light Beam’ is a clear product of its time. Not new to escapism and dystopian realities, with their new track Bastille assemble both concepts under a futuristic lens. The idea is further expressed through the visuals paired with the song in both the music video and the promotional posters: ‘Distorted Light Beam’–and possibly the entirety of the upcoming album– is set in a world where people find a getaway from reality thanks to a fictional world provided to them by a rather mysterious company called Future Inc.
Despite the claims of not wanting to wake up in its lyrics, ‘Distorted Light Beam’ awakens the necessity to be back on a dancefloor and lose yourself to the music. All we can do in the meantime is throw a party for one and stick to dreaming.
Written by: Benns Borgese
Nessa Barrett – counting crimes
Nessa Barrett’s new song ‘counting crimes’ is one of the leading singles of her highly anticipated debut album. Compared to Barrett’s earlier releases, it is upbeat and leaning towards the pop sphere of the genre spectrum instead of alternative. All her previous singles, besides ‘la da die’ ft. Jxdn, focused more on her whisper vocals than instrumentals, while ‘counting crimes’ includes a heavy bass and the sound of E-guitars.
The song’s production and built up reminds of Billie Eilish’s ‘all the good girls go to hell’ – comparisons between Eilish and the upcoming artist have been made since Barrett rose to fame on TikTok by covering Eilish’s songs and fans heard similarities in their voices. After facing social media drama and a cancel culture stint a couple months ago, Barrett’s lyrics seem to call out someone who pretends to be a thoroughly good person for show, whereas she knows she is not a saint either but at least owns up to it and is honest with herself and others.
Written by: Vicky Madzak
WILLOW – Lipstick
WILLOW furthers her reign as queen of the current alternative scene with ‘Lipstick’. Her latest single comes ahead of her upcoming album ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ and shows off a new complemented side of her new musical direction to previously released ‘t r a n s p a r a n t s o u l (feat. Travis Barker).
The 20-year-old star who has been known to be open about her individuality and her inner mental health issues, opens up again on ‘Lipstick’. “And I’m looking at pain like my old close friend – Open arms for her when I see her again”, therefore sending a wave of positivity to everyone who might need it. The high-tempo instrumentals are counteracted by WILLOW’s distinctive vocal range making it a track unlike no other.
‘Lipstick’ doesn’t dwell on existential crisis but rather heads on issues of the past by reassuring positive statements of acceptance. WILLOW’s latest musical endeavours are combining the best of late ‘90s to mid ‘00s alternative – emo structures with a touch of innovate power that only WILLOW could’ve brought to the table.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
LANY – dancing in the kitchen
LANY finally released the first song of their new album, rumoured to be released later this year. ‘dancing in the kitchen’ is a love song that takes the listener back to early stages of the Los Angeles and New York based trio and to their first self-titled album from 2017, since we haven’t heard a happy electro-pop song by them in a long while.
The sound is nostalgic and comfy, feeling like the perfect soundtrack for a drive through the streets with your windows down on a hot summer night. Lyrically, the song reminds you of the early stages of a brand new relationship, where the whole world seems to stop and everything suddenly revolves around your significant other and spending as much time with them as you possibly can. Nothing else seems to matter, whether it’s people or money, and nothing could ever beat doing the simplest things with them, such as ‘dancing in the kitchen’.
Written by: Vicky Madzak
Amber Run – Ride
Amber Run has never been a band to stay silent about the things that we should consider most important – our physical and also mental and emotional health. Ever since the release of their first EP in 2014, the Nottingham-based trio has made it their mission to give a platform to the bright and beautiful, but moreover dark and weary sides of life. Unsurprisingly, their newest release, the enchanting ‘Ride’ is no exception to that but takes another step closer to the band’s aim of shedding a light on mental health and letting their listeners know that they are never alone with their feelings.
Underlined with a calming acoustic guitar and serene bass lines, the single feels like a tight hug full of reassurance and reaffirmation that it is worth it, with singer Joe Keogh’s hauntingly beautiful vocals singing lyrics like “If it’s time to cry, it’s time to cry / It’ll be okay, you’ll be alright / I know that life can feel hard and unforgiving / If you want to go, then you can go / I’ll be here if you come back home/ Don’t go quietly at night / Please show some fight” and “Know, know I’d rather have known / And carried half of the load / Than attend a funeral / Because I, out of everybody alive / Want you to more than survive / I want to walk beside you”.
In a world where discussions about mental health issues have been pushed into the spotlight more than ever before, but also where simultaneously there have never been so many struggles and pressure from all sides, Amber Run’s latest endeavour manages to put into words what many of us really needed to hear after many months spent in surrounded by utter darkness. It is yet another standout track for the indie group and proves that the three-piece has come to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Written by: Laura Weingrill