Taylor Swift has won the top prize at American Music Awards. However, she missed the show as she was re-recording her songs. She announced in a video that she is re-recording all her old songs at the studio where they were originally recorded. Hope we will get to hear new versions of good ol’ songs from swift soon.
Meanwhile, here are the ListenOnRepeat new music reviews from last week. Take a look!
“Where The Poison Is” begins like a Fleet Foxes song: soft, drawn-out harmonies reverberate in a space with just a touch of echo. Minimalist production provides a base. Yet, after the first minute or so, the track takes a turn and becomes something quite different. It becomes moodier, with dirty drums merging with jerky bass, and the vocals drop right down. An odd electric keyboard takes center stage, adding a dash of darkness to proceedings. As it turns out, this is far from effect for effect’s sake – the track is a microcosm describing the state of The Whitehouse right now.
After all, we should expect music with a little deranged energy from FINNEAS, the brother of Billie Eilish and her producer. In many ways, he has been the architect of her sound, and together they have helped reduce strict melody and reintroduce emo to the pop world, though it is way more nuanced and textured than before.
From the lyrics of the track, the message is pretty clear: “Take me to the place where the poison is/ To put a face to what’s poisonous/ To give him a little taste of his medicine/ There’s a snake that thinks it’s the President.” Indeed, FINNEAS directs his voice directly towards Trump, who is still cloistered in the White House after his election loss. The track also speaks about how the recent past felt good, how we were going in the right direction, and how it all feels so different now.
It is a charming live performance format that Rhett chooses to deliver his new track, “What’s Your Country Song.” And it is just as well, for this new song is about exactly what it is: country songs. As Rhett has realized, one of the main things country music does is soothe its audience, offering visions of a simpler world, where values were shared by all and the clarity of God shone down. This sense of comfort is what a lot of people seek when they listen to country music.
As the lyrics rightly state: “Everybody got a small town anthem/ everybody got a story to tell/ everybody got a hallelujah/ everybody been through a little hell.” Indeed, it is country music that acts as the soundtrack to many listeners’ personal stories, with its simple, powerful method of delivery, and Rhett poses the question: which song strikes a chord with you … What’s your country song?
It has clearly hit home with listeners, who give their own answers in comments sections, as well as revealing quite personal anecdotes and memories: “Aw honey that’s both of us running down the highway knowing all the love we have in our heart as we both go down the highway always I love you baby.” It is not untypical for country music to prompt comments sections like this, but Rhett has certainly been better than most at eliciting strong reactions from listeners.
A king of comedy in the UK, a niche reference point in the US (loved by the likes of DJ Khalid), Big Shaq is an enigma to older generations. His internet stardom comes from comedy based on inner-city life, and on the ‘roadmen’ of London – youngsters are normally seen in large black coats in public spaces, according to the urban dictionary. Yet, the notion of the roadman has become a culture in and of itself in the last decade, and Big Shaq is one of the artists exploiting and revealing the funnier side to a demographic demonized in the media.
His track “Man’s Not Hot,” released in 2017, has gathered nearly 400 million views. It is a revelation and catapulted Shaq to the top of the comedy music game. Since then, the releases have come in with regularity, but none have reached the heights of that initial hit, not even “Man Don’t Dance,” released the following year.
“Chicken Shop Freestyle” is his latest offering, and it nods to a segment of London Youtube culture that is centered around chicken shops, a seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon in the city. The video includes the likes of Chicken Connoisseur, who rates wings and burgers around the city, and Chicken Shop Dates, a dating show where rappers and media personalities are taken for a bite with the shows dry host, Amelia Dimoldenberg (who features in “Man Don’t Dance”).
It is less overtly funny than some of Shaq’s previous work, but it doesn’t suffer as a result. Big Shaq is a good rapper, believe it or not, and he understand the key to making good comedy songs, according to Ricky Gervais: they have to be able to stand up on their own as tracks, rather than just jokes set to music.