Weekly Roundup of ListenOnRepeat New Reviews for Dec. 14 – Dec. 20, 2020

Taylor Swift’s recently announced album “Evermore” has taken its place at number one on Billboard 200 albums chart. This is Swift’s 8th number one album on Billboard 200 and second in 2020. Released on December 11, Evermore is available as standard digital download on many platforms including iTunes, Taylor Swift’s own store as well as CD in offline stores.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out the latest weekly roundup of ListenOnRepeat new reviews:

NCT U 엔시티 유 ‘Work It’ MV

With nearly eight million views in a single day, “Work It” is already a smash hit for NCT. And yet, it only occupies the fifteenth spot on the iTunes downloads charts for top new songs. Incredible, really, but that is how popular K-pop is, and that is how gigantic BTS are. Indeed, with their latest album, Be, out, you can’t see much other than their new tracks (with Blackpink staying up there as well as Chung Ha is an amazing turn out for her new single). With all that being said, NCT is doing very well. Their twenty or so members – mostly in their early twenties – are veritable stars, and there is no such this as too many cooks spoiling the broth when it comes to this incredible, idiosyncratic genre.

“This song really needs a spotlight. Let’s give them all we can. Let’s stream guys!” … This is the kind of thing that fans engage in – active competition with similar groups. Streaming and traffic are the weapons and the battle rages online, 24/7. But it is more complicated than that: “Work It” is actually a song by NCT U, a rotational subset of singers and performers who are part of the NCT family. Here, fans are promoting that specific squadron, with the brand of NCT growing as a result. It is a model that has not been tested in Western music (except possibly in classical music).

“Work It” shows all the traits we’ve come to expect from a release of this sort: frantic set lighting, dynamic camera movement, bright costumes, tight choreography across different locations, and English lyrics sung during the chorus. In that sense, you could describe the group as an industrial product, but that would be to underestimate the nuances. Speak to any K-pop fan and they’ll be able to tell you just how much character-defining detail there is on screen.

Watch NCT U 엔시티 유 ‘Work It’ MV

Liam Gallagher – All You’re Dreaming Of (Lyric Video)

With Liam Gallagher doing the rounds again in the press, everyone has the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of his greatest hits. The inevitable question is whether Oasis will ever get together for a comeback tour, something Gallagher must have answered a thousand times. Each time he gives roughly the same response – that he would be up for it but Noel can’t deal with it. The latest scoop is that the group were offered upwards of 100 million pounds to do a deal, and still nothing has ever been signed.

Yet it is tiring for Liam to keep going down this route with journalists, as noticed by talk show host Jonathan Ross who, following that exact conversation, said something along the lines of “well anyway we have Liam’s solo stuff so that is great.” Indeed, though some might not see this as much of a consolation prize, Liam has turned himself into an impressive solo act, albeit without the writing gifts of his brother. His latest is called “All You’re Dreaming Of,” and it was performed on the talk show in question. Online, it has been receiving positive reviews, especially from fans in comments sections: “Please don’t say ‘what a comeback’ again. He already has reclaimed the throne.”

The song itself is also a nice turn up for the books, showing Liam’s sensitive side. Rather than the arrogant drawl of a rockstar, we get the sincere tones of a man whose reflections on life and love seem more grounded than ever. The official lyric video is equally soft, picturing a window in sketch format, with birds nesting in the daytime and stars twinkling once night descends. Pensive guitars in the background are reminiscent of some of the Arctic Monkey’s softer tracks.

BAD BUNNY x ROSALÍA – LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE | EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO [Visualizer]

It is over twenty million views in less than a week for this new track by Bad Bunny and Rosalía. But that level of success should come as no surprise – both are massive stars in the Latin pop world and perhaps the top two crossover artists, also. When Rosalía emerged a few years ago, she was hailed as the singer to resurrect flamenco traditions. It is a noble goal, but she has shown that she is so much more than that. A worldwide star, she is one of the most captivating pop artists in any subgenre and is now friends with the Kardashians (talk about mainstream appeal). Bad Bunny may have seemed like every other flexer at the beginning of his career, but with the Latin pop world at his feet, he is to be taken as seriously as any worldwide star.

The track begins in the fashion of many Rosalía pieces – minimalist production and clear, far-reaching vocals. Here, Bad Bunny chimes in with the same tone, and immediately elevates the track to dancefloor potential. The title translates roughly as “last night’s night” and the lyrics speak of a romantic encounter that has left its mark. Now, both are only able to sleep when they think of still being with the other. What is described is an electric, life-affirming moment of love shared between two people who really needed it. Like the most intense drug, the withdrawal is tough. This story is centered very strongly in the song as, unlike most Rosalía tracks, the production never gets strong enough to overpower the voices. This story, told by two lovers, always remains the most important aspect of the song.

BAD BUNNY x ROSALÍA – LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE | EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO [Visualizer]

GOT7 “LAST PIECE” M/V

With tracks from Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, BTS, and Ariana Grande in contention, it is a song by GOT7 that takes the top spot on the iTunes downloads chart. It shouldn’t come as a surprise – k-pop is the biggest genre in the world. Yet, the fact that it isn’t one of the giants like BTS, Blackpink, or Twice occupying the number one slot is more surprising. Indeed, Western fans would be forgiven for not knowing GOT7, but such is the rapid growth of the K-pop scene, it is hard to keep up, even for music fans.

So here’s an introduction: GOT7 is a group formed in 2014 by JYP Entertainment. Its members are as follows: JB, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngiae, BamBam, and Yugyeom. They first made it big in the Japanese pop market, and have since returned to Korea to make a name for themselves, but nothing so far has hit the heights of “Last Piece.” Judging by fans’ reaction, this is the one that will make all the difference, with one top commenter saying “I feel sad for people who haven’t discovered this masterpiece yet” and another commenting “The lyrics, beats, choreo, and visuals … perfection is an understatement.”

Indeed, judging by the video you’d have to say that they were spot on. In a move that is unlike most K-pop videos, GOT7 has opted for an obvious “set” look, whereby we can see where it was filmed, rather than GCI filling in the cracks. But apart from that everything is where you’d imagine it to be: there is the staple use of English lyrics permeating the song, a tight-as-a-drum choreography style, lots of colors, costumes, and shifts in tone. GOT7 has arrived, and it will be interesting to see how they continue to compete with the giants of this wildly polished genre.

Watch GOT7 – Last Piece

K/DA – MORE ft. Madison Beer, (G)I-DLE, Lexie Liu, Jaira Burns, Seraphine

The hype is the word of the day when it comes to this track. The video is about as dynamic as it is possible to be without going 3D, the project is attached to a very big name, the color palette is spent, the production is in full tilt … this might just be the epitome of pop grandeur, or it could be a portal giving us all a glimpse into the not too distant future.

Although the track’s title is full of big names – Madison beer, (G)I-DLE, Lexie Liu, Jaira Burns, Seraphine … the band is actually fictitious, referring to a group from the game League of Legends, which the piece acts as a soundtrack to. This isn’t the first fictional, animated pop group and it certainly won’t be the last. It is likely, even, that this release will spur the creation of many more acts like it, and since there is an attachment to the K-pop world, with its power and reach, that is probably more of a certainty than a possibility.

Fans have certainly responded well: “let’s be honest we all are in love with this song thinking were in the future being all amazing while singing and dancing instead of doing hw…just me?” Indeed, something this comment touches upon is the futuristic element to “More.” It is like a dystopia without the danger, all neon lights and supersonic vehicles, high rise skylines, and lavish wealth. Normally, in stories that show this kind of setting, you’d zoom down to find that poverty and drugs are rife on the lower levels. But here you get the sense that it’s all a big party. K/Da is a winning formula and we are likely to get pulled further and further into their virtual world before long.

Watch K/DA – More

Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen. (feat. Florida Georgia Line)

drinking beer taking godHave you ever heard a more country title than “Drinkin’ Beer? Talkin’ God. Amen?” This new track from Chase Rice (feat. Florida Georgia Line) is as perfectly pitched a genre piece as you’ll see. “Got a country angel I don’t deserve/ The kind that you never let go of/ I don’t know what Heaven looks like/ No, I don’t think anybody does” … all of the tropes are there: sin and redemption, a love you don’t deserve, struggling with ideas of faith, and drinking cold ones with the boys. If this song doesn’t capture the mainstream country scene then it’s unclear what will.

Yet, is there such a thing as a song being too well-crafted? Indeed, were it not for a central quirk in “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen,” this one might have appeared a little too polished. The quirk in question is the scene that the chorus describes, which is of a man sitting in a church on a Friday night, drinking beer and connecting with the almighty. Indeed, though he might never “have been the churchgoing type,” on this faithful night it was the church who found him. Rather than drowning sorrows in a bar over a bottle of fiery whiskey, he has installed himself before the altar for a session with a twist, and it is what gives the song its character.

One of the remarkable and touching things about observing Chase’s fanbase is how sincerely they connect with the plights that the lyrics describe. One top comment demonstrates this: “God loves you, Chase, my prayer is that God finds you and the Holy Spirit consumes you and helps you understand God’s word, truly you are a child of God in Jesus name Amen.” However targeted the lyrics might seem, the fans certainly consider it to be a true reflection of his state, and that elevates the song to new heights.

Watch Drinkin’ Beer. Takin’ God. Amen

Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge – Under The Mistletoe [Official Lyric Video]

The power of Kelly Clarkson’s voice is truly transcendent for her adoring fans: “Every time Kelly Clarkson sings, the world becomes a better place. A new tree grows, pollution decreases, a child laughs for the first time and a suicidal person chooses life.” It might seem puerile to the untrained eye, but there is no doubt of fans’ sincerity. This Christmas, their faith in her will be needed more than ever, as the first Holiday Season since the world had to adapt to the pandemic. “Under The Mistletoe” will act as an antidote to negativity, pushing home the Christmas spirit despite the noise and the darkness that surrounds it.

Clarkson is a TV host and a voice coach on The Voice as well as being a top-tier pop singer. Here, she combines with Brett Eldredge, the country singer signed to Warner, and their voices harmonize jubilantly on the chorus, a rock edge in both of them, and rapturous trumpets and bells sounding alongside shuffling, joyous drums. Released at the beginning of November, the song was given a long run-up to December 25, and though it may have started relatively slowly, interest has been picking up at just the right time.

Reds and greens fill the visuals and themes of love, Jesus, and Santa are blended with all the Holiday iconography you can imagine in a track that is quintessentially Christmas Americana. There aren’t likely to be many Xmas songs this year that beat out this one in terms of listens and downloads and, as such, the battleground is set – as more and more Christmas songs come out in the next couple of weeks it will be interesting to see whether “Under The Mistletoe” retains its position at the top.

Watch Kelly Clarkson and Brett Eldredge – Under The Mistletoe [Official Lyric Video]

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