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Music - Singles of the week - Friday, May 29, 2020

IndieLondon gleefully checks out the cream of the week’s singles

The Pretenders, I Didn't Want To Be This Lonely

SINGLE/VIDEO OF THE WEEK 1: THE PRETENDERSDIDN’T WANT TO BE THIS LONELY: The Pretenders have revealed their rabble-rousing new single Didn’t Want To Be This Lonely and its accompanying video and succeed in giving you a musical shot of adrenaline that addresses the current frustation complex embracing a locked down nation. Driven by rapid guitar work and a classic rock vibe, this hits the ground running and finds lead singer Chrissie Hynde in feisty, even angered form. There’s a sense of resignation about the lonely state she finds herself in, but there’s also a sense of building rebellion. The guitars fuel that and are let off the leash completely on a couple of occasions, delivering some truly rousing solos to propel the song into classic Pretenders status. The latest in an increasingly impressive series of videos featuring Hynde and made entirely during lockdown, the accompanying visual was produced and directed by longtime collaborator John Minton. John has worked with the likes of Noel Gallagher, Portishead and Savages previously and has made all the videos for this Pretenders album campaign.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Rebecka Reinhard

SINGLE/VIDEO OF THE WEEK 2: REBECKA REINHARDWHALE: After releasing her stunning new single Whale on May 12 via Crowds and Power, Swedish dream pop artist Rebecka Reinhard has now returned to share the official video for her impactful new offering. Much like the track itself, the new video uses minimal and intimate images to conjure up a bold and blissful tone that channels the frontwoman’s own DIY aesthetic. Filmed in her hometown of Bredäng, she treats us to a fresh and personal snapshot of her current surroundings, giving context to her warm and inviting direction. The track itself is a subversive indie-rock song that demonstrates Rebecka’s ability as a songwriter to make the world stop with her music. Comprised of distorted guitars and loose drums, Whale feels both recognisable and entirely new. Paired with the delicate and dreamy production is Rebecka’s distinct and punchy vocal, as well as her killer melodies, that unfurl towards the chorus. Lyrically, the song – which is both personal and prescient – speaks to our fractured socio-political climate and our current isolated situation. And yet while lyrically intelligent, there’s a breezy nature to the track itself, thanks to those punchy guitars and Reinhard’s soft, often idyllic vocal delivery. There are times when her vocals are impossibly sweet, even when delivering lines like “I never loved you, I think only your mother knew, The way that mothers always do”. It’s a complex, paradoxical type of song that demonstrates the layered depths of Reinhard’s songwriting. For while instrumentally, the song becomes more empowering and inspirational, the longer it builds, the lyrics often feel like a sucker punch and therefore stand out even more.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Alice Chater

SINGLE/VIDEO OF THE WEEK 3: ALICE CHATERTWO OF US: Alice Chater has unveiled a stunning new video for equally impressive new single Two Of Us. A heartbreaking pop ballad in the Sia mould, this finds Chater breaking down a failing relationship and arriving at some painful conclusions. Lyrics include “nobody told me you could get lonely sleeping with the one you love” an “I know you love me… sometimes it aint enough”. But, as Chater also states, “it’s not a fairytale, it’s the two of us”. As a result, the accompanying instrumentals are suitably restrained and melancholic, with slight beats and fragile electronics underpinning the striking vocals. Alice says: “Two Of Us is a reality check about a relationship that’s at breaking point. You love the person and they love you too, but you find yourselves falling deeper into a toxic environment that you can no longer pretend is ok. This is that ‘last chance to save the relationship’ song. It’s super personal and was difficult to sing due to the emotions I felt at the time, but I’m really excited to share it with the world.” It is heartbreakingly poignant and beautiful, as is the video, which was directed by Thom Kerr, who previously directed the video for Alice’s collaboration with Iggy Azalea, Lola.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Liam Gallagher, MTV Unplugged

LIAM GALLAGHERSAD SONG (MTV UNPLUGGED): Liam Gallagher has shared his new version of the Oasis rarity Sad Song. The track further builds anticipation for the June 12 release of his MTV Unplugged album following the live recording of Gone. A timely offering, this Oasis track casts a relatively dim view of humanity, offering lyrics such as “we’re throwing it all away” and “we cheat and we lie, nobody says its fun so we don’t ask why”. But there’s a beauty to the track, too, particularly in acoustic form, where the intricate guitar hooks compliment Liam’s distinct vocals almost perfectly. There’s even added strings support that lend a cinematic edge. It’s a classic Oasis offering, updated and made kind of relevant by Liam in solo form. Recorded at Hull City Hall last summer, this recording represents Liam’s first ever live performance of the song. His raw and heartfelt vocal adds a haunting, sombre atmosphere to the original. Sad Song was originally sung by Noel Gallagher and featured as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Definitely Maybe. The prospect of a Liam-fronted version of the song captured the imagination of fans after a segment of an early demo featured in Mat Whitecross’ documentary Supersonic. To coincide with the launch of Sad Song, Liam has also launched an opportunity to join him and guitarist Bonehead on an exclusive Zoom chat, which will take place on Wednesday, June 17 at 6PM BST. Twenty winners will join the pair as they chat about the ‘MTV Unplugged’ album amongst other topics, and they will also answer some of your questions. Fans who buy any version of MTV Unplugged, or who register here will be entered into the competition. All pre-orders will receive instant downloads of Sad Song and Gone.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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James Deacon, Rain on Me

JAMES DEACONRAIN ON ME: James Deacon releases his new single Rain On Me, an uplifting anthem that stands strong in the face of adversity, reflecting on some of his earlier career setbacks and subsequent achievements. Deacon’s career trajectory hasn’t always been the easiest, with the multi-instrumentalist experiencing his fair share of setbacks: from an accident that nearly ended his guitar playing, to his recent vocal cord surgery. On the latter, Rain On Me explores how the surgery could have changed his voice permanently. “The lyrics are about being in a fight because it felt like the universe was beating me up and raining punches down on me,” he explained. “I reference not being able to speak or make any sounds at all for three weeks post-surgery, which nearly drove me insane!” Melodically, the track fuses the characteristic, moody ebb and flow of James’ discography with light, flitting electronic elements, akin to an uplifting Rag’n’Bone Man composition, conjuring a wave of positivity. And, as ever with a Deacon production, it’s both extremely personal yet highly relevant to anyone who has overcome similar difficulty. As such, it’s also timely. But the impassioned delivery and the rousing chorus make this an empowering anthem for the moment… and one that shows how it is possible to triumph against the most difficult of adversity. It’s another great power anthem from Deacon.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Kehli, Hypnotized

KEHLIHYPNOTIZED: Following on from the release of Kehli’s Believe It and One Last Kiss, new single Hypnotized sees the Irish pop starlet adopt a more electro-pop aesthetic. With her own crystalline vocals taking centre stage, this new offering is driven by a lively, pop-focused beat and super-charged electronic texture, reminiscent of the 80s. As such, there’s a certain kind of cheesiness attached to that decade’s pop sound. But there’s also something undeniably upbeat and toe-tapping about it. There’s a dance vibe attached, which kind of leaves you hypnotised in a disposable pop sense. Speaking about her new release, Kehli said: “I recorded Hypnotized last summer in London and I’m excited to finally release it! People experience love at one point or another and this is one interpretation of that feeling. The song has such an upbeat, uplifting energy to it and I hope people enjoy it as much as I loved making it. Mostly though, I hope it brings a little fun and happiness to everyone’s quarantine situation as the world goes through such a dark time at the moment with the pandemic. As we go into the summer months and need to remain in quarantine, people are going to need something to uplift them and I hope this helps even in a small way to give an element of fun and positivity to anyone that hears it while listening at home!”
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Zak Pajak, Parachute

ZAK PAJAKPARACHUTE: Parachute, the new single from Zak Pajak, is an impressive fusion of acoustic melodies, bold R’&‘B and expressive soul. Early on, there’s a sense that this could be a slushy kind of ballad, particularly instrumentally. But as the song takes shape and the lyrics take hold, Pajak declares “I’m not your parachute, I’m way too good for you”. And it’s that sentiment that turns this into an anti-ballad that empowers. It’s born from a sense of frustration and rejection, but it doesn’t dwell on the negative feelings that could be associated with that sense. Rather, it’s about moving on and projecting strength – both internal and to the person who may be using you. Speaking on the track, Zac said: “Parachute is the summer heartbreak anthem for anyone getting over a relationship, having been messed around for too long. It’s about that empowering moment where the heartache disappears, and we finally realise that we’re actually better off without someone. I’m a lot happier in my relationships now – but it’s a snapshot of where I was at a certain point that I think a lot of people can relate to. I was fed up of getting hurt and it was time to get over it and walk away.” Parachute is taken from Zac’s debut EP Early Hours, which is set for release in summer 2020.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Zac Pajak · Parachute

Celeste, I Can See The Change

CELESTE – I CAN SEE THE CHANGE: Ascendant soul singer and BBC Sound of 2020 winner Celeste releases her sweeping, optimistic new single I Can See The Change. Produced by FINNEAS, the track is a song about finding hope in the wake of adversity and realising that a brighter future lies ahead, a sentiment that no doubt resonates in uncertain times like these. A stripped back offering, this places Celeste’s stunning vocals front and centre, allowing them to build to some knee-trembling crescendos, before dropping back to a hushed but hopeful chorus that declares “I can see the change”. Instrumentally, it’s very basic, with a bittersweet piano providing a cinematic backdrop, as well as, occasionally, some background vocal harmonies. But it’s a quietly reassuring listen in the classic songstress mould – the type of track that would befit Shirley Bassey or Adele. Speaking about the story behind the new single, Celeste explains: “It was a strange time for me as externally lots of exciting things were happening in my life, but internally I was feeling flat. I felt disconnected from myself and the world around me so I knew something needed to change… It’s difficult for me to fully articulate, but when I started writing the song I pictured a blurry, unidentified image far off in the distance that I knew I had to move closer to in order to understand what it was and perhaps what it meant, but also realising that the journey wasn’t going to be easy. Ultimately, the song is about hope and change but knowing that to obtain this requires effort, patience and conviction.” With that in mind, it’s highly anthemic.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Callum Beattie, Mouth of a Tiger

CALLUM BEATTIEMOUTH OF A TIGER: Callum Beattie has revealed the charming, light-hearted official video for Mouth Of A Tiger, a track taken from the Scottish singer-songwriter’s debut album People Like Us (out now). The upbeat song is the lead track from the LP and finds Beattie’s infectious charisma and adoration for David Bowie emanate throughout the visual, which was filmed while living in Berlin. On the track, Callum states: “Mouth Of A Tiger is all about my misspent youth and being a reckless risk taker! It’s about embracing life’s rich opportunities and taking them as they come, running with them and not thinking too far ahead. Life is all about living in the now, and this song reflects that.” That being said, it does implore “don’t put your head in the mouth of a tiger”! But in all other senses, this is as upbeat and anthemic as Beattie clearly intends, nodding to both classic Bowie visually and sonically, as well as a certain Katy Perry and Roar, in the way that it embraces a euphoric, sing-along, empowering quality. It’s big, bold, brash and just the type of song that’s needed to keep spirits high right now. Self-written People Like Us is a lucid insight into Callum Beattie’s tumultuous and joyous personal journey so far – from Edinburgh to London to Berlin and back again, these are the songs of Callum Beattie’s life, both his childhood ups and downs, and his more recent upheavals.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Scott Storch

SCOTT STORCH feat OZUNA AND TYGAFUEGO DEL CALOR: 3x Grammy® Award-nominated superproducer Scott Storch has announced the release of his fiery solo debut single, Fuego Del Calor (featuring Ozuna and Tyga). A major club banger with heavy Hispanic and Eastern influences, this boasts some highly distinctive production elements and a vibe befitting a place on any Fast & Furious soundtrack. There’s also an element of hip-hop in the supplied vocals from Ozuna and Tyga, which add a grit and even more fire to an already incendiary track. The sad thing is that this would undoubtedly become a huge club tune for the summer if released in any other year. But it’s ability to fill dancefloors will be curtailed by the current restrictions imposed by coronavirus. A soundtrack birth will have to do, in order to keep it in the public conscious. Fuego Del Calor marks the first release from Storch’s eagerly anticipated debut solo album, due to arrive via Atlantic Records in the coming months.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Leif Vollebekk

LEIF VOLLEBEKKREST: Leif Vollebekk has shared Rest, two new songs that reflect our new normal times. For, in a moment of social distancing, life has brought about a forced pause from normality. But it has subsequently encouraged some of us, including Leif himself, to reflect more, connect more and rest more. This release compliments that quiet introspection. Hence, Intro is a never before released song that was originally intended as the first piece on the current album, Twin Solitude. The melody and lyrics, which echoes the song Vancouver Time, came to Leif when he was in a jetlag state, about a month before writing what would be known as the official opening track. It’s a slow, almost lifeless track, with a sparse instrumental supporting a sleepy set of vocals that reflect on the world around him. And yet, in spite of its quietness and stillness, there’s something beguiling about it. The second song is an acoustic version of the ending opus, Rest. This version was recorded in Castlemaine, Australia, in a spur of the moment with sound engineer Jono Steer. It was recorded exactly a week before the world closed down its borders. And somehow it works better than the original, feeling less haunted and slightly more warm, in spite of some thought-provoking and somewhat haunted lyrics. It’s the real find in this two-track offering.
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Jung, Nobody Kows

JUNGNOBODY KNOWS: Swedish-based pop duo JUNG (aka brothers Tom and Henrik Ljungqvist) release their breezy, upbeat new track Nobody Knows. The self-penned, feel-good release is led by a charming, upbeat guitar plucked production that complements the inspirational lyrics about striving over hardships and not worrying about the end goal; to live for now. There are sunshine melodies, a sing-along chorus, slick beats and those irresistible guitar hooks, which allow the track to immediately set your toes tapping. It’s an empowering offering for a global listener base that needs the psychological boost right now. On Nobody Knows, JUNG said: “Nobody Knows is the start of a new era for us, and we really wanted to kick it off with something energetic and up tempo. The song is about not knowing what’s gonna come and that’s why it’s so important to try to be happy now with what you got!” Nobody Knows follows on from Jung’s well-received debut album Dreamers, which was released in 2019. They’ve racked up over 50 million streams globally and their track, Let Him Go, is certified platinum in Sweden.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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