Friday, October 30, 2015

New Good Song: "Young Heart," Freja 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Young Heart" by Freja. Belongs on the shelf right alongside Sky Ferreira, Molly Beanland, Betty Who and these talented women born 30 years too late. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Falling Faster," Andrew Ripp 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Falling Faster" by Andrew Ripp. This is sweet and in the vein as, say, Mat Kearney, Ben Rector, those types of dudes. Nice effort here. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Trip Switch" by Nothing But Thieves 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Trip Switch" by Nothing But Thieves. I really dig this track, yo. Great instrumental touches and a rockin', catchy chorus. A little hard to understand some of the lyrics, and that was true of last year's wonderful "Graveyard Whistling," the 12th best new good song of 2014. But that's forgivable when the music is so well-written. The band members are British and more popular in the UK than in the US, but I'm hoping Americans come to discover and appreciate them, at least based on these two exceptional outputs. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Hello," Adele 10.30.15

Here's a new good song: "Hello" by Adele. Adele is a singer that I'm so pleased is popular, for several reasons. She has genuine vocal and songwriting talent. Her song arrangements and instrumentals are timeless. She's classy. And she doesn't rely on trendy gimmicks for attention. All that said, I'm a song loyal person, and I must confess that I have not particularly liked too many of her songs. There always seems to be something about the melody lines that I find off-the-mark. "Set Fire To The Rain" and "Skyfall" were the 39th and 69th best new good songs of 2012 respectively. I also liked "Cold Shoulder," which was released during my 18-year hiatus from methodically tracking my favorite songs. I didn't care too much for "Chasing Pavements" or "Someone Like You," and was ambivalent about "Rolling In The Deep."

Now here's "Hello," and prematurely I'd say it is my favorite song by her so far, but we'll see whether that opinion holds up against overexposure. For now, it's got that fresh new wow factor. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New Good Song: "Cannibal," Jill Andrews 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Cannibal" by Jill Andrews. As of this writing, this clip has 386 views on YouTube after having been up for three weeks. Not sure I expect much more than that given current populist taste, but man this is a great song. It reminds me of "Skyfall" by Adele, or something by Fiona Apple or Portishead, even though based on what I can find about her online, she identifies more as a country artist. I don't get that vibe a at all from this song. But, regardless, nice job, whoever you are. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Dirty Work," Austin Mahone 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Dirty Work" by Austin Mahone. This Texas-born teenager had the 60th best new good song of 2013, "What About Love," an earnest attempt to lure young female fans, wrapped in a catchy, punchy pop song reminiscent of *NSYNC. I've heard Austin described as a poor man's Justin Bieber, which I'm not in any position to refute, although as a judger of songs and not artists, I will say that Austin has now released two good songs, while Justin has released only one ("What Do You Mean?"), despite having been around longer and having more access to talented writers, producers, agents and handlers. Most of Justin's output has been unsophisticated on most meaningful dimensions. So there's that.

Anyway, now Austin is back with "Dirty Work," which if it were by Justin Bieber would be a No. 1 song, but it's not. This is basically an average pop song that ascends to something more special because of its bassline and the melody in the verses. Take those away, and there isn't much here beyond a serviceable pop song. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Good Girl," Aquilo 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Good Girl" by Aquilo. This English duo had the 17th best new good song of 2014, "I Gave It All," which was extremely slow (and, of course, extremely beautiful in my opinion, hence the generous ranking). Their new release, "Good Girl," sounds like a different band. I would never have guessed this was the same group. The chorus has distant echoes of Michael Jackson or the Bee Gees. So it's a nice surprise. Good video, too. If they have this type of range, I can see them having a long, fruitful career. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Levels," Nick Jonas 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Levels" by Nick Jonas. His song "Jealous" was No. 30 on my year-end list in 2014. He followed that up with "Chains," which actually was the first single of his eponymous album but was re-released after "Jealous" hit big. I never particularly understood the appeal of "Chains." Now here's "Levels," which at first I was dismissive of, but which has grown on me. I'll refrain for now from any deeper commentary about him as a person, a sex symbol or a singer, and just let the song speak for itself. It's a good effort and a head-bobber. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Wildest Dreams," Taylor Swift 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. One of the points of this blog, and the driver of its title, is that I'm a very disloyal fan in the sense that I judge each song individually. There are certain acts who consistently release songs I like, but even they will inevitably put out some things I don't. The other side of that coin is that even if I don't consider myself a fan of someone per se, I'm happy to enjoy a song of theirs if it's good. Taylor Swift has been hit-and-miss for me ever since "Teardrops On My Guitar" back in 2007. There are some songs by her I think are fantastic, others less so.

Since adopting a poppier sound, she's released a string of songs about which I've been inconsistently enthusiastic. I appreciated "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which ended up at No. 77 on my year-end list in 2012. And I adored "Blank Space," which will end up in a nice spot on my year-end list for 2015, surely in the Top 20 and perhaps in the Top 10. And I liked "Style" earlier this year. I wasn't particularly wowed by "I Knew You Were Trouble," "Shake It Off" or "Bad Blood."

Now here's her latest, "Wildest Dreams," which I'm not the first to observe has a Lana Del Rey feel. The video is also nicely filmed although it's much too literal at times, with an amateurish matching of lyrics and visuals that seem aimed at an 8-year-old audience. That said, the song is quite nice. Not sure it's quite as good as the under-appreciated song by Brandy with the same name, which was my No. 37 song for the year in 2012, but it's good nonetheless. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Get Right Back To My Baby," Vivian Green 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Get Right Back To My Baby" by Vivian Green. As much as I fancy myself a knowledgeable fan of R&B, I confess I had never heard of Vivian before now, even though apparently she's had seven previous R&B Singles chart appearances dating back to 2002. "Get Right Back To My Baby" is, so far, her most successful release on that chart, so far peaking at No. 8. This is an up-tempo, highly retro song that would have been at home in the '90s alongside Jade, SWV, Groove Theory and Zhane. It's cute. Enjoy!

New Good Song: "Ocean," Lauren Aquilina 10.17.15

Here's a new good song: "Ocean" by Lauren Aquilina. Lauren is a young English composer, singer and pianist who specializes in melancholy ballads. She has released an EP each year since 2012, each with a one-word title -- "Fools," "Sinners," "Liars" and, now, "Ocean." Also, each has a water theme in the cover art, a choice that for a while I assumed had something to do with her last name, which I guessed incorrectly was some derivation of "aqua," but actually means "little eagle." Point being there is a steady sameness to her output in mood, theme and marketing.

On the weekly chart I keep for myself as a log of my song preferences, she's had three appearances: "Sinners," which came in at No. 46 for the year in 2013; "Irrelevant," which was No. 70 for the year in 2014, and "Broke," No. 78 for the year in 2014. Her new song, "Ocean," keeps pace with those previous releases, although it builds to a louder, more percussion-heavy climax than her other songs. Lauren is obviously very talented, so I'm hoping and expecting she'll achieve more mainstream success in the future. Enjoy!