BY ALEX LYALL
The quality of music news this week has been hotter than a summer’s day in Adelaide. Yes, a record-shattering 46 degrees is bad. But a week filled with new Ariana Grande, Tiny Ruins and James Blake is something hotter entirely.
There’s also news from Sharon Van Etten and Weezer!
Song of the week: Ariana Grande – 7 rings
From the offset, 7 Rings seems off-putting in its bravado. Ariana Grande is at the end of the day, a multi-millionaire. Hearing her talk about getting literally whatever she wants isn’t the best time as I struggle to pay rent. That fact that most of the brag is done over the purposely humble, My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, hurts even more.
YET, it’s still a pretty great song.
The bulk of 7 rings is effectively a hip-hop track. Namely, quick-talking delivery is laid out over trap beats.
The way the song is performed basically outright invites Ariana to spin a bit of a cheeky yarn. She does very well, delivering an arrogant performance but with a big old wink from her eye. In this sense, 7 rings is very much for her fans. They all follow her on Twitter, and from that, they all know that she likes to talk a big game. 7 rings deals in irony, making very at home a lyric like, “You like my hair? Gee thanks, just bought it.”
So 7 rings is full of charisma and personality, but what will always set it apart, and indeed any Ariana Grande song, is that she finds a way to showcase her fantastic voice. Here, it’s woven in well among uneasy, cold guitar plucks.
And hey, it may be a good thing after all that she has all that money. It could save her from some pretty ugly lawsuits.
Tiny Ruins – Holograms
In preparation for their upcoming album, Olympic Girls, Tiny Ruins are touring Auckland and Wellington in March.
Before that though, they’ve shared with us the lovely Holograms and its equally lovely music video.
Holograms primarily shows off two ear-catching features. It opens with splintering guitars and interjects them with warm, dizzy vocals.
The music video meanwhile speaks directly to the Arts & Crafts lovers of New Zealand.
James Blake (Ft. André 3000) – Where’s The Catch?
The ability to wake up a legend like André 3000 from his (unfortunately permanent, it seems) slumber speaks to the clout that James Blake has in the hip-hop community.
Is it used well? Well, unusually for a feature, André 3000 is used almost immediately and comes in quickly. He isn’t particularly dynamic, but this is a James Blake song after all: he almost exclusively uses rappers so that they can rap their lines sadly at a wall. Anyway, as André 3000 mutters before his rap begins, “I hate the heavy-arse verses.” Phew.
Sharon Van Etten is coming to New Zealand
Last week I gushed all over Sharon Van Etten’s fantastic new single Seventeen. In fact, I was quite open that it made me feel e.m.o.t.i.o.n.s. To be totally frank I have been listening to it basically non-stop since then.
I have now been made aware that SVE is heading our way in June. Armed with her live band, SVE will be touring behind her brand new album Remind Me Tomorrow. Appropriately, Remind Me Tomorrow is also the name of her tour.
I’m a fan of emotional music, so expect me there.
Weezer – Teal Album
Look, I’m being 100% sincere here: Weezer deserve respect for the way they’ve lasted into 2019.
Yes of course, they’ve done so exclusively through meme-ing their way onto the charts (this new album full of tacky covers being an example) but they still garner genuine attention. Seriously, how many of their contemporaries can say the same?
There was a time ten years ago when their fans were starting petitions to have them quit music. Now they release albums almost every year.
We’ll never get the quality they brought in the mid-90s but to be fair to them, they did tell us from the get-go that they were nerds.
And, this cover of ‘No Scrubs’ is actually kind of killer? Right?
ALEX LYALL has been obsessed with music since Green Day’s American Idiot. Until then he genuinely thought it was illegal to call anybody that word. Alex studies Law at Canterbury so can confirm that actually, it is perfectly legal to do so.
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