This Week’s New Music Round Up: Bruno Mars, Little Mix, The Weeknd & More
Also featuring A Tribe Called Quest, Loyle Carner & Childish Gambino!
Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
Bruno Mars’ first studio album in four years, 24K Magic sounds exactly like its album sleeve looks. Stick with us here.
You see, on that striking image, Bruno has struck a swaggering pose while robed in his very best silk threads, including “extra-fancy shorts” (his words). He also has a big f*ck-off gold chain hanging around his neck. He's also a master-level shades wearer. Bruno’s described the look as “bootleg luxury”.
In a similar vein, 24K Magic’s lead single is just as lively, shiny and cocky. It’s a lot of fun. Just like on last year’s all-conquering single ‘Uptown Funk’ with Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars is at his best when he dials the funk up as far as he possibly can. Bruno Mars is at his best when he’s having as much swaggering, silk donning, hip-thrusting fun as he possibly can. 24K Magic sees Bruno do exactly that. Listen to it. It’ll make your Friday a lot better.
A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
You need to hear this. Featuring Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000 and more – all artists that A Tribe Called Quest have inspired – the sixth and final album from the American hip hop group is out now.
We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service is timely. On the album’s second song ‘We the People…’ the lyrics feel – considering last week’s events over in the states – perfectly timed: “All you black folks, you must go / All you Mexicans, you must go / And all you poor folks, you must go / Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways / So all you bad folks, you must go...” The album even finishes on a track named ‘The Donald’.
Q-Tip, regarded as one of the best rappers going, is able to rap at such a breathless rate that he becomes an instrument himself alongside surprise guitars and jazz-percussion. ‘Mobius’ and ‘Conrad Tokyo’ are the standouts, but it seems almost pointless to pick out a favourite. It’s all great. Give it a go. Listen below.
Little Mix – Glory Days
Little Mix are back and they sound bigger and more defiant than ever. From the sparky, really-very-good ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, to ‘F.U’, a song that contains exactly the kind of lyrics you’d expect from a song called ‘F.U’ (“You’re cheating, you’re lying, I know that you’re hiding two cell phones”), Little Mix aren’t holding back. Also, Charlie Puth turns up to feature on ‘Oops’. So that’s nice.
DNCE – DNCE
Regardless of what you think of DNCE, you can respect their central aim: to give people a good time. (And probably make quite a bit of money doing so.) DNCE don’t aspire to #makeuthink, they just want to make you dance. Which is fair enough, right?
Take their mega-hit ‘Cake by the Ocean’ as an example. It’s definitely not pretentious. It’s fun. I mean, just look at these lyrics: “Let's lose our minds and go crazy crazy / Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping we'll eat cake by the ocean”.
PJ Harvey this is not.
Also featuring ‘Don’t Mind’ rapper Kent Jones, DNCE is an album full of songs just like ‘Cake by the Ocean’. If you like that song, you’ll have a great time with this album.
Justice – Woman
The French electronic music duo are back with their first album in five years. Best known for their single ‘Genesis’, which has soundtracked almost every BBC sport montage over the past nine years*, and for the playful ‘D.A.N.C.E’, Justice’s third album is streaming below.
The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk - ‘I Feel It Coming’
We don’t know about you, but we're really enjoying the art style The Weeknd’s using in the build-up to Starboy. It’s bold, dark and distinctive. Very good. ANYWAY. The Weeknd has spoiled us with two brand new songs, the typically Weeknd-esque, sultry, dark ‘Party Monster’ and the Daft Punk featuring ‘I Feel It Coming’ – which is surprisingly quite…feel-good? As far as The Weeknd’s sound goes, these two couldn’t sound more different.
John Legend (Ft. Chance The Rapper) - ‘Penthouse Floor’
Featuring the happiest man in the world, Chance the Rapper, this is the latest track from John Legend’s upcoming album Darkness & Light, which is out on December 2. There’s even a knock-knock joke from Chance in there. He’s a good egg that Chance the Rapper. A very good egg.
Childish Gambino – ‘Redbone’
Childish Gambino is one of the most exciting artists working today. He released the six-minute-long funk & soul epic ‘Me and Your Mama’ last week, and he’s followed that up with the soulful, expansive and splodgy-synth-featuring ‘redbone’. It’s a second taste from his new album Awaken…My Love, which is coming out next month.
2016 has been good to Childish Gambino –real name Donald Glover – who is also starring in the very successful comedy drama Atlanta and has been cast as the young Lando Calirissian in the upcoming Han Solo spin-off Star Wars movie. Glover has been enjoying himself this year. ‘Redbone’ is Donald’s attempt to spread some of that joy. It’s very good.
The Big Moon – ‘Formidable’
We’ve been supporting The Big Moon on our TV playlists, and this new track, aptly titled ‘Formidable’ – which was premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World - shows why.
‘Formidable’ isn’t in a hurry. The track builds and builds over the first half as Jules Jackson sings, “I’m not invisible / I’m on your side / I’ll be formidable”. As soon as we cross that threshold, the track launches into a wall of “oooh ahh’s” and you can already sense that, as soon as The Big Moon come back from Japan (where they’re currently touring), this is going their anthem at live shows. Very good indeed.
The Big Moon are releasing their debut album, Love In The 4th Dimension, on April 7 2017.
Loyle Carner - ‘The Isle Of Arran’
Named after the home where his late granddad resided, ‘The Isle Of Arran’ features an old-school gospel sample – that perfectly suits Loyle Carner’s style – as the South Londoner raps about grief and death. It sounds grand and powerful.
‘The Isle Of Arran’ signals the next step in Loyle Carner’s career as he moves from strength to strength, following a massive 2016 and an incredible sold-out show at KOKO (read about that here). It sounds like Loyle Carner has moved into a new phase. Get ready for a debut album, which is surely just around the corner now.
Sean Paul (Ft. Dua Lipa) - ‘No Lie’
He’s helped Sia, Little Mix and Clean Bandit rack up some hits earlier in the year, but now Sean Paul has decided that it’s his turn to have a go. Sean’s recruited Dua Lipa in for this bouncy new track: