Weekly Roundup of ListenOnRepeat New Reviews for Aug 10 – Aug 16, 2020

New Music Reviews

“Music is God’s little reminder that there is something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars” – Thomas Williams

Can you see the stars singing? You will when you lose yourself in the moment and truly enjoy the greatness of Music. New music arrives every week and here is the weekly roundup of ListenOnRepeat new reviews of recent songs from last week. Check it out!

James Bay – Chew On My Heart (Official Music Video)

Chew on my heart“Chew On My Heart” is certainly an evocative title. It doesn’t describe heartbreak or even the slow diminishing of love that results in heartbreak. Instead, it refers to the kind of toxic love whereby your heart is being slowly broken down, but you can’t help but sit back and let it happen. Yet, it isn’t a current relationship that is causing such pain… it is one that is yet to happen, or so it seems.

James Bay is an English singer and guitarist whose track “Hold Back The River” from 2014 shot him into international stardom. It has since been rated platinum and it introduced the world to the kind of full-throttle pop-folk that fans have now come to expect from the artist.

This new track is perfect in terms of timing, as it essentially describes distance. The yearning comes from the fact that two lovers are not able to be together, which is something that many burgeoning romances have experienced over the last few months of confinement. How many more people than normal have been unable to sleep, waiting for messages and overthinking as their brain burns up with all the thoughts and desires? Bay is one of the victims of circumstance in this sense and he is getting it all off his chest with this one.

“Sleeping’s so tough, it’s burning up my mind/ What would it feel like if you tore me apart?” Here is the song’s tension – in one sense Bay wants to be torn apart, for his heart to be chewed on, especially when it can’t happen for the foreseeable future. While we all have an aversion to heartbreak, vulnerability is part of the bargain of falling for someone and it makes the process all the more exciting. Bay has teased out the idea with ease and style.

Dreamcatcher(드림캐쳐) ‘R.o.S.E BLUE’ MV

dreamcatcherIt was back in February that Dreamcatcher last offered a full project to their fans. The scream went down a storm, and now they are back at it again with a special soundtrack piece for a new online role-playing game, Girl Cafe Gun. It has been described online as “a top-down isometric action shooter featuring dozens of cute anime girls to unlock and use.” Odd though it may sound, the aesthetic used in the game looks pretty similar to the style of female K-pop groups, though perhaps a little more racey.

A corporate tie-in, therefore, one that is less common in K-pop as it has been in Japanese pop, but one that seems well-suited to this group, who often employ a guitar-heavy sound that draws its influence from the anime soundscapes that are so recognizable to fans (as pointed out by NICK at thebiaslist review site). 

“R.o.S.E Blue utilizes a melody that creeps up on you, controlling the tempo in the build-up without releasing its full power. In this sense, it becomes an ear-worm in no time, with a piano opening setting the tone and developing ambiance, something that no doubt fits the brief of an anime game crossover project. Once the verse kicks in, however, the sound morphs into a vortex of forwarding motion, with synths and guitars leading the way, reminiscent of any arcade fight game with Eastern influence. 

The official music video is full-throttle action, as is to be expected, and the mix of English and Korean lyrics is typical of an industry that has always had an international outlook. There is a rap section, different set-pieces and all the energy to have made an instant impact. One month on from its release, all you have to do is look at the view count to get a sense of fan reaction.

Zara Larsson – Love Me Land (Official Music Video)

Zara Larsson - Love Me Land (Official Music Video)Zara Larsson has just released “Love Me Land,” a song that threatens to build her international profile higher than it already is. Indeed, in her native Sweden, she has been well-known ever since the age of 10, when she won national support after winning the 2008 edition of the talent show Talang, which acts like Sweden’s version of the British TV show Britain’s Got Talent. In the last few years, the now-adult star has been making waves on the pop scene, working international collaborations and growing a profile that makes her well-placed to appeal to audiences far and wide.

“Lost in your vocabulary/ Got our own vernacularly” is a lyric that demonstrates the main theme of the song, which describes the language of love, and how to play with that language. Larsson sings in English normally, with a Swedish twang coming out thick and full with each line. Ever since Sigrid, it has been encouraged for Scandinavian singers to embrace their accent, whereas this was rarely the case before.

Like another famous act from Sweden, Abba, this is pop music that employs strings and synths in equal measure. “Love Me Land” demonstrates all of the drama that Swedish pop fans want, with the muted, staccato groove that has been adopted as a staple over the last few years. This flow is matched by a dance performance that draws its strength from the stop-start movement that sustains viewer interest throughout. Larsson performs in a modernist blue square that emboldens the visual effect of the piece.

“Never thought I would love again/ Here I am, lost in Love Me Land” is a central hook in the track, one that describes the sudden rush of new love, placing it within a metaphorical land where everything is magical and mystical. It’s a solid release for an up-and-coming act that is showing no signs of slowing down.

Zedd & Jasmine Thompson – Funny [Official Video]

Zedd and Jasmine Thompson - FunnyThis music video begins with Jasmine Thompson, the 19-year-old British singer-songwriter, waiting for a recording to start on her Macbook Photo Booth app. Once it does she begins singing, and her voice is sure to blow you away. Delicate and powerful, she sings with a lilt to her tone that describes the emotion of the words as well as any amount of instrumentation and plays an emotive melody on the piano below her. Then: notification bell, a message pops up on the screen from exactly the heartbreaker she is singing about. Next thing we know we are watching the lyrics appear as her response, typed, and then deleted as she tries to find the right words. A clever way of showing her feelings as well as her hesitance in transmitting them.

Then her new friend Zedd (the Russian-German DJ) pops up in the chat, who apparently got her number from one Lewis Capaldi (who appears at the end of the video). He suggests a collaboration, after complimenting her voice, and she agrees. Yet once her voice is put to crashing synths and ecstatic drums, a lot of the fragility and the rawness of the initial section disappears. From one point of view, she might have been better releasing “Funny” as a simple, stripped-back single.

In any case, fans love it. “Finally, something good in 2020” one top comment reads. Another goes: “This seriously is one of my fav music videos ever.” Indeed, the video shows remarkable creativity, something that is often missing in the pop landscape, and it will draw all kinds of fans as a result. This one is sure to increase the profile of Thompson, a special talent.

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