This week, we get yet more Disclosure and the long-awaited Bond theme for Spectre.
97 – Again by Fetty Wap
95 – My Way by Fetty Wap ft. Monty
94 – Stay With Me by Sam Smith
83 – Oh My Love by The Score
89 – Jumpman by Drake & Future
This track comes from a surprise mixtape, What a Time to be Alive, from Drake and Future. Sadly, the surprise release does show and the song sounds like it was put together very quickly. The constant repetition of the title by both artists get quite tedious and the production doesn’t help. It is very static without any build-up (and what sounds like a crow in the back of the mix). Of the two, Drake has the best flow and seems to react to the production. However, from this track, it doesn’t make me want to listen to the mixtape.
71 – Magnets by Disclusure ft. Lorde
Of all the Disclosure tracks I have covered on this blog, Magnets is by far the weakest. The production doesn’t feel in time with itself or in time with the vocals. This makes the song sound disjointed and not magnetic at all. Lorde adds nothing to the overall song as the production is so abrasive, she becomes something of a non-presence on the track. Lorde is a talented artist and I don’t know why Disclosure mixed it in this way. While Nocturnal was the best Disclosure song in recent weeks, Magnets is the worst.
66 – Wasn’t Expecting That by Jamie Lawson
65 – Levels by Nick Jonas
In the past year, Nick Jonas has attempted to forge a solo career and distance himself from the Jonas Brothers. I didn’t like Jealous, his first solo single, but Chains was ok. With Levels, there are some elements I really like and others that I really don’t. Jonas’s vocal performance is quite good and less strained than on Jealous. The guitar riff on the chorus is also really good, but I wish it featured more in the song. The rest of the production however isn’t so great. The heavier bass and synths do not fit with the overall tone of the song, and to a certain extent, ruin it. This track just feels very muddled but still retaining some good moments.
30 – Alive by Sia
Following singles like Chandelier and Elastic Heart that thrust Sia into the mainstream, she was always going to have to match the quality with future releases. Alive is her latest single and the quality of the early tracks is still here. Sia’s vocals go from subdued to powerful with apparent ease, reacting well to the lyrical content. I like the strings in the instrumentation and they add more layers to some excellent orchestration. I hope this song becomes as big as tracks like Chandelier as the quality of the 2014 releases is still here.
21 – Love Me Like You by Little Mix
19 – Talk to Me by Nick Brewer ft. Bibi Bourelly
16 – Lay It All On Me by Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran
Rudimental has matched his production with Ed Sheeran’s softer vocals. The calm tone of this song works well with Sheeran’s falsetto and the easy instrumentation doesn’t mask the vocals. I like that not all EDM has to be loud and brash, as Rudimental proves here, it can very easily be subdued and relaxed.
1 – Writing’s on the Wall by Sam Smith
Sam Smith was always going to have a challenge with this Bond theme, coming off the back of Skyfall by Adele (in my opinion, the best Bond theme in recent years). The lush orchestration typical of Bond themes is good as always, and I am a slight sucker for orchestral pop music. My issue however is with Sam Smith. He lacks the power of someone like Adele or Shirley Bassey. In his upper range, he is drowned out by the orchestra and his falsetto doesn’t belong in a Bond song. It was always going to be tricky following Skyfall, and I don’t think that Sam Smith has done enough to come close to it.
Best of the Week
Alive by Sia
Worth a Listen
Chandelier by Sia
Lay It All On Me by Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran
Wouldn’t Turn Off
Again by Fetty Wap
My Way by Fetty Wap ft. Monty
Oh My Love by Score
Wasn’t Expecting That by Jamie Lawson
Love Me Like You by Little Mix
Writing’s on the Wall by Sam Smith
Would Turn Off
Stay With Me by Sam Smith
Levels by Nick Jonas
Talk to Me by Nick Brewer ft. Bibi Bourelly
Jumpman by Drake & Future
Worst of the Week
Magnets by Disclusure ft. Lorde