New Music We Love: James Bay's poppier return, Kehlani's new mixtape
We take you on a guided tour of the best, the good, and the quite good's of the week
James Gilmore
Published 22 February 2019
Julia Michaels and James Bay / Republic Records

This is one of the quieter weeks on the new music front which gives us an opportunity to focus on some releases which would have been ignored if, let’s say, Ariana Grande decided to drop another album all-of-a-sudden. We’re not saying it’s going to happen, but we have heard that if you say “World Record” three times and click your heels she does release new music.

Featured Song: James Bay – Peer Pressure

We weren’t really expecting a new James Bay but now this has landed we are very happy for it! The collaboration with Julia Michaels is a perfect blend of their voices and makes for Bay’s poppiest song since 2015’s “The Chaos And The Calm” (last year’s “Electric Light” was a bit more indie).

On the single, Bay and Michaels sing, “I don’t usually give into peer pressure but I give into yours” which really is the perfect metaphor for when you open a bag of Doritos and can’t help but finish the whole package. It’s like they are just asking to be eaten! Anyway, we’re sure that’s not what it’s about. Probably. Anyway, if this is a taste of what’s to come from James Bay, then we’re very excited.

Badflower are not messing around, and they will be one of the biggest rock bands sooner than even they may think.

Other Good Ones

Kehlani – Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy): Whilst ‘Nights Like This (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)’ is by far the greatest track on Kehlani’s new mixtape “While We Wait”, this song is a strong contender for the second best song. She manages to mix R&B with a pop influence in such a natural way that hooks you in and doesn’t let you escape. The whole mixtape, though, is an irresistible listen.

Dave – Black: The UK’s Dave is one of the most exciting rappers at the moment, and one of the few who manages to tow the line between big mainstream singles (such as his Fredo collaboration ‘Freaky Friday’ which went straight to UK #1) and important social commentary (such as ‘Question Time’ and this latest single). On the single, Dave raps about the realities of being black in such an impactful way. It’s powerful and a genuinely great song. Does it get much better than that?

Giggs – DON’T GO HUNGRY (feat. Labrinth): Another one from the UK rap scene, Giggs new album ‘Big Bad’ has been highly anticipated and has features from the likes of Ghetts, Lil Yachty, French Montana, Swizz Beats, Wretch 32 and more. This Labrinth collaboration is possibly the biggest mainstream-crossover on the set and, generally, a good introduction to Giggs if you have never heard him before.

Badflower – Promise Me: We first fell in love with Badflower in 2018 with hit single ‘Ghost’. Now they have returned with debut album ‘OK, I’M SICK’ – and the whole collection is a masterpiece. Our favourite on the album is ‘Promise Me’ (as much as it nearly makes us cry every time we listen to it) which gives subtle tones of “The Black Parade”-era My Chemical Romance and some of the earlier Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco records. On ‘Promise Me’ and the new album as a whole one thing is very clear – Badflower are not messing around, and they will be one of the biggest rock bands sooner than even they may think.

A catchy bubbly chorus? Yes. An exciting pop entry? Definitely.

Other Good Ones

Col3trane – The Fruits (DJDS x RAYE): This is probably the most left-field track we’ve featured on New Music We Love in a long but it’s such a good track! Col3trane has been bubbling under the radar for a moment – with his SG Lewis collaboration ‘Smart Alec Kill’ and having released two mixtape/EP’s last year. This track is something special and only makes him even more exciting.

Blithe – Don’t Blink: Resident “rising pop star who we have high expectations for” returns with another single which, much like her previous 3 tracks, are very good. A catchy bubbly chorus? Yes. An exciting pop entry? Definitely.

P!nk – Walk Me Home: We’re including this because it’s P!nk but by that very same nature surely she could have come with something a little less Mumford and a bit more… current? (OUCH)

To listen to all of our favourite new releases, check out the New Music We Love playlist on Spotify, below.

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