New Music Friday: February 19

Happy Friday, February 19, 2021! This week we have brand new tunes from indie pop band AJR, pop artist Conan Gray, electronic artist Alan Walker and rising singer-songwriter Salem Ilese, English artists Ella Henderson and Tom Grennan & last but not least Brit DJ Paul Woolford with American singer-songwriter, Amber Mark. All that and more in this week’s edition of New Music Friday!


“Way Less Sad” by AJR

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-way-less-sad-lyrics

Indie pop band AJR released their first single for 2021 to much fanfare on Wednesday. “Way Less Sad” is the fourth single to drop from their upcoming fourth studio album, OK Orchestra (releasing March 26th.) They’ve enlisted their friend Edoardo Ranaboldo again (see “Bummerland”) to direct the music video. The video features a lot of cool camera tricks and nifty VFX (thanks to Caleb Natale). Shoutout to TWA Hotel for letting them film there. Major props to their team for also shooting scenes on location like on a carousel in Central Park, by the beach and on the various sets like the escalator and bedroom scenes.

Lyrically speaking, the brothers said that this is a song about lowering your standards. You don’t have to be so hard on yourself in life. From my interpretation, the song’s verses speaks to those who were once sad and depressed for a long period of time but now can see some joy in their surroundings and in their overall mental state by taking a more relaxed approach to things in life. Even though you won’t feel happy 100% of the time, you’re at least “way less sad.” You wrestle with that idea of pure bliss and pure sadness. So its like a middle ground where sometimes you’re beaming, but sometimes you’re a bit bummed. Hopefully this feel-good song will make you feel way less sad for real! Don’t be too hard on yourselves!

I’m guessing the band didn’t want to make an artwork for this single because the OK Orchestra artwork illustrates this song well with the two mood ranges (Ryan looking optimistic and Adam looking pessimistic) plus Jack in the middle ground neutral area.

Some references in this song/video that I noticed:
-Jack wearing the iconic “The Band Name Here” shirt which is a nod to the Neotheater song “Don’t Throw Out My Legos.”

-The alarm clock is set to 3:30 which is a nod to their song from The Click, “Three-Thirty.” They sure love the number 3! I don’t think they’ll reveal the reason why though.

-The lyrics “half past three” also refers to “Three-Thirty” and may also be a reference to their upcoming unreleased song, “3 O’Clock Things.”

-In the beach scene when they all stared and sang face forward to the camera, that felt like the Bang! music video. They’re also wearing the same outfits seen on the album art!

-In the outro, we have once again a cool instrumental transition going on much like “Bummerland” has. This could be a recurring thing with the other unreleased tracks on OK Orchestra too. Thoughts?

Sonically speaking, I love the up tempo catchy vibes, the production values keep impressing me with each new song they produce. At first I was questioning their decision with the AutoTune part in the bridge but it has now grown on me the more I listen to it. I can’t wait for OKO to drop next month!

According to their recent live stream session, this song was 9 years in the making! They sampled Simon & Garfunkel’s 1975 song, “My Little Town.” The horn sections that you hear in this song were originally going to be sold away to Kygo and Cardi B in different iterations but they were turned down by their respective teams. Thankfully, AJR kept it for themselves after all these years and have used it for “WLS.”

Overall, I thought it was a solid song that incorporated that AJR aesthetic/magic that we’ve all come to love through the years. I give props to Jack for braving the upside down stunt where he pours wine out and drops apples among other objects in the video. I predict this song will be their next radio hit in a slow rise up the charts that “Bang!” achieved over this past year.

For more BTS scenes, please check out director Ranaboldo’s IG post, here. I hope Ryan will post a “How We Made” video for this song later down the line. I always enjoy those vids!


“Overdrive” by Conan Gray

https://genius.com/Conan-gray-overdrive-lyrics

22-year-old singer-songwriter Conan Gray returns to the music scene with a brand new single called “Overdrive.” It follows his 2020 collaboration with fellow pop artist, Lauv in “Fake.” This new song is about falling in love with somebody really quick and all you want to do next is expedite the relationship. It’s risky, yeah, and you may get rejected down the line, but who cares as Gray uses driving/vehicular analogies to describe how he wants to take things in overdrive. He doesn’t want to see the red light, and he wants to burn down the street without turning left or right repeatedly meaning he wants that whirlwind of love and amazing epic fun times consistently.

This song is for those listeners out there who can relate to finding their match out of the whim and can confidently say that they know where it will lead them — a committed long-term relationship! I feel as he matures more as an artist, more fans will come flocking to his fanbase. His popularity is only going to go higher. If you’re already a hardcore fan of his, you’ll definitely enjoy this latest track. It’s expected that this song will appear on his upcoming second album. It’ll be interesting to see how his sound evolves in future singles.

The lyric video seen above was nicely made. I love the overall aesthetic and the graphics showing a race as the laps click by. Doesn’t this song make you want to take a cruise down the road/highway with the windows wide open with no stress and no worries?!? Perhaps in a post-pandemic world, many will feel inspire to do so. Of course, do drive safely and responsibly.


“Fake A Smile” by Alan Walker x salem ilese

https://genius.com/Alan-walker-and-salem-ilese-fake-a-smile-lyrics

EDM hitmaker, Alan Walker teamed up with TikTok star/singer-songwriter, Salem Ilese in “Fake A Smile.” If you’re feeling down and have to make an effort to smile or fake smile in and out of your household then this song is for you. Hopefully, it actually makes you smile upon listening to it. I also hope you felt seen by the lyrics.

Walker added a short letter in the description of the above music video, saying:

“We’ve landed, Walkers. Welcome back to the World of Walker. I’m so excited to finally share my latest single with you all alongside the super talented @salem ilese​. Our journey may have been paused at moments last year, but you’ve all shown that not even the worst can break this community. Thank you for being there for me and more importantly for each other. While we wait for the day to be together in person again, I hope this song resonates with you. You are not alone.”

Said music video is very cinematic, almost like an actual video game in my opinion. I appreciated the crisp production values and the added SFX. I’m not sure what their budget was for this video but I predict they had a bigger budget to create their unique vision for their fans to see. See the names of the talented people behind the scenes and on camera listed in the above video’s description.

I thought Ilese had lovely vocals on this track. I also thought the bridge was a cool enhancement to the emotional verses and encapsulated the overall upbeat essence. Thoughts?

If you want some cool merch based on this latest song collaboration, click here. They have hoodies, tees, pins, stickers and much more!


“Let’s Go Home Together” by Ella Henderson & Tom Grennan

https://genius.com/Ella-henderson-and-tom-grennan-lets-go-home-together-lyrics

25-year-old English musicians, Ella Henderson and Tom Grennan brought a cool duet/collaboration to the table this week. Previously, there was a version of this song with fellow English artist, James Arthur (he also co-wrote it). Watch a throwback performance from 2017, here. Arthur approved of this new version by the way.

This song deals with two people whom are madly in love with each other, flaws and all! No matter how imperfect each of them are, there’s still something that attracts one another. The lyrics video’s design shows coasters and beer stains to emphasize a fun night out hanging with each other at a bar or restaurant.

Both Henderson and Grennan’s vocal performances complement each other and I applaud them for joining forces in this iteration of the song. I thought the guitar/piano melodies were aurally pleasing to the ears. The chorus is oh so catchy and will be stuck in your head the more you listen to it!

This track is slated to appear on her upcoming second studio album.


“Heat” by Paul Woolford & Amber Mark

https://genius.com/Paul-woolford-and-amber-mark-heat-lyrics

Capping off this week’s picks is yet another epic collaboration! 27-year-old singer-songwriter, Amber Mark provides the vocals on this hot dance track from British DJ/music producer, Paul Woolford.

From my interpretation, this song deals with one-sided love. If you really love somebody but the sentiments from the other person isn’t the same towards you, then this song is for you. It’s a shame that this person doesn’t see the amazing qualities about you, the ones where you can boldly flaunt out in public a.k.a. that H-E-A-T!

By the way, the post-chorus where Mark spells the word, “heat” out like that was very catchy. Kudos to Woolford for working with her amazing vocals and embellishing them with his signature fiery beats.

Add this to your playlists now and save it for later in the year because it’s going to be perfect for parties, dances and clubs in a post-pandemic world.


That does it for this week’s post! Thank you all for reading another edition of New Music Friday here at Philip’s Music Corner. If you liked what you read, kindly click on the follow button down below. Also if you like, please support my work by donating to my Paypal. I truly appreciate the support!

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings about any of these picks in the comments box down below! Cast your vote on the songs featured this week by giving them a thumbs up or a thumbs down. As always, stay safe and happy listening!

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New Music Friday: November 20

Hey guys! It’s Friday, November 20, 2020 which means another edition of New Music Friday is here! This week I’m highlighting the following five picks. We’ve got all new music from country artists Chris Young & Kane Brown, a new remix track from Sasha Sloan featuring Charlie Puth. a new collaboration between pop stars Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa, a cool new single from The All-American Rejects, and finally a sweet ballad from rising singer-songwriter Anson Seabra.


“Famous Friends” by Chris Young & Kane Brown

Grammy-nominated country artist, Chris Young has a new jam out now that will leave you in high spirits. He collaborated with one of his best friends for life and fellow country musician himself, Kane Brown! 35-year-old Young and 27-year-old ACM-nominated Brown are little known famous friends. The two have previously worked together on Brown’s song “Setting The Night On Fire” which appeared on his self-titled debut album’s deluxe edition.

In this single, they give a nod to their respective hometowns of Rutherford County, TN and Hamilton County, GA as well as their other shared so-called unofficial hometown, Davidson County, TN. The communities are tight-knit and the friendly residents over there welcome them both with open arms. They’re the ones that the two artists admire. The ordinary, average citizens are those they call their “famous friends” in this case.

The lyric video seen above manifests their names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to other famous names like actor Matthew McConaughey and director Ron Howard. Someday, I do believe these two will receive their stars and due respect on the famous Hollywood, California streets.

But for now, please enjoy this feel-good song. It will be played a lot on country radio, for sure!


“Is It Just Me?” by Sasha Sloan featuring Charlie Puth

28-year-old pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth joins forces on Sasha Sloan’s song, “Is It Just Me?” for a soft soothing anthem. Puth revealed in an Instagram story recently, “I only sing on songs I didn’t write when I wish I wrote them. And this is a song I really wish I wrote. Excited about this one.”

The song discusses various topics that will cause one to say, “is it just me? or am I the only one” who thinks that way. For example, “politicians are annoying,” “I don’t think love lasts forever,” & “the Internet’s obnoxious.”

Sure, some will disagree with some of the lyrics like “the show Friends was overrated,” but plenty will think the same way for other verses and for those reasons, this song will connect to a wide audience. I believe listeners around the world will resonate and enjoy this collaboration effort. Sonically, it’s just pleasing to the ears. Nothing that will drive your anxiety up, nor make you super hyper.

So if you need a new easy listening track for your playlists this weekend, then feel free to add this one!


“Prisoner” by Miley Cyrus feat. Dua Lipa

Pop star Miley Cyrus just released a new single called “Prisoner” with English singer-songwriter, Dua Lipa. This track talks about being stuck in an abusive relationship where you literally cannot leave or else you’ll face some serious backlash from your controlling “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” You feel trapped like a prisoner, sadly.

Even though the subject matter is quite heavy, the song overall in sound is pretty catchy and the chorus is sung in the style of the 1981 song “Physical” by Olivia Newton John. This continues the theme of 80s influences on Cyrus’ upcoming seventh studio album, Plastic Hearts out November 27th!

If you like dance pop mixed in with some pop-rock elements, then I highly recommend this song for you!


“Me Vs. The World” by The All-American Rejects

AAR is back with all new music in 2020! The rock group with hits like “Gives You Hell,” “Dirty Little Secret” & “Move Along” are paying it forward with this latest single. Proceeds from this song will be going to MusiCares which is helping touring crews across the country impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with necessary relief aid for them and their families.

This song was originally conceived years before the current pandemic that’s raging around the globe as we speak. The original intentions of the song was coming from the perspectives of lead singer, Tyson Ritter, keyboardist/producer Scott Chesak and guitarist Nick Wheeler while working separately for a brief moment in time prior to their most recent EP release last year, Send Her To Heaven. Fast forward to 2020 and the band has finally polished the track off for a very appropriate time.

Now the meaning of the song delves into people who feel like it’s just them vs. the world. The challenges of living in a global pandemic is tough. You feel like day-to-day life is weighing you down like a “monkey on your back.” However despite all that, this song will perk you up and give you that slice of serotonin you need for the day!

It’s very uplifting to hear this rock song from a band that shot to mainstream success in the early 2000s. It has a very nostalgic AAR sound in my opinion and I feel that this is very comforting for those hardcore fans. I also expect this song to usher in new fans to their fanbase moving forward.


“Walked Through Hell” by Anson Seabra

Written and produced by Anson Seabra himself, this song really hits deep. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter wrote a beautiful ballad if I do say so myself. It follows the fan favorite single, “Hurricane” released earlier in July.

In this new song, Seabra talks about a tough breakup that makes you feel like you could’ve put more effort into the relationship to make things work again. Unfortunately, you’re left in the dark again as depicted by this black-and-white music video of Seabra looking down holding onto his shirt with one hand inside clutching onto this chest feeling the emotional pain of said breakup.

If you’ve recently broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend or significant other of many years, then you’ll feel the feels after listening to a song like this one. Even if you didn’t experience a breakup ever, then you can still hear this track. Perhaps, you know a friend or two who recently had a rough breakup, then feel free to send them this song to help get them through this difficult moment in their life. Heartbreak deserves some relief!

Seabra deserves a lot of praise and credit for crafting this track and I encourage you all to go check this one out if you’re into soft pop/alt-pop songs! After that, take a listen to his debut EP album, Songs I Wrote In My Bedroom. It’s only a matter of time for his name to reach mainstream radio levels. Maybe this one will be the catalyst.


That wraps up this week’s post! Thank you all for reading another edition of New Music Friday here at Philip’s Music Corner. If you liked what you read, kindly click on the follow button down below. Also if you like, please support my work by donating to my Paypal.

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings about any of these picks in the comments box down below! You can also give the songs featured this week a thumbs up or a thumbs down using the buttons under each pick. As always, stay safe and happy listening!

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New Music Friday: February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome to another edition of New Music Friday! This week we have the latest from AJR, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith plus more! The sadness really complements the happiness on this V-Day holiday…

“BANG!” by AJR

BANG! BANG! BANG! 🥁

After a small break in their Neotheater World Tour, the Met brothers are back with a bang, both literally and figuratively!

The new song was technically released two days ago, so fans have already been blessed to hear it early for this week’s New Music Friday!

As a hardcore AJR fan, I’m amazed at their creativity and authenticity. They’re constantly reinventing themselves and with this new single, that trend continues!

I love the intricate layers and fine details throughout this track. Ryan’s production skills are top-notch! My favorite parts would be the “here we go’s” sprinkled throughout their song as well as the lofty “metronome” part. In the accompanying music video, Jack imitates the motions of a metronome at that moment when “metronome” is uttered and in my opinion that was clever!

Based on my initial listen, I can tell they don’t feel like they’ve grown up entirely. Still 20-somethings who still get nervous over doing their taxes and living a somewhat private life in an apartment in NYC, the guys don’t want to be stuck in a plateau in life but rather instead they want to keep going out with a bang! They want to keep showing the world they still got what it takes to be a successful band no matter what the critics say or how much fame they earn.

This can apply to anyone young or young at heart who’s not as famous as them to be honest. Don’t we all want to prove ourselves in life no matter what industry you work in or whatever field you find yourself in?

I hope to hear more from AJR in 2020, a.k.a. one of my favorite bands of all time. Also hope this isn’t their retirement song as some fans have speculated on Twitter and YouTube.

A big announcement the band hinted through this cryptic post on their socials is also going to make waves today! **UPDATE 2/14/20 12:08 p.m: It’s a new summer tour collab effort, see here! **

Please share your thoughts about the song in the comments below. 💥

Download/stream the song today! Tickets and tour dates for their Neotheater World Tour Part II is available here.

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“No Time To Die” by Billie Eilish

🤯

Fresh off her appearances at this year’s Grammys where she became the youngest winner to win the major categories and the Academy Awards last Sunday where she sang her rendition of The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” for the In Memoriam segment, Eilish has finally released her theme song for the forthcoming Bond film, the 25th in the film’s illustrious franchise.

This chilling song is sure to please the critics and fans as this will likely catapult her to even more mainstream stardom and potentially an Oscar and Grammy nom/win(s) in 2021.

I love the orchestral elements in this single because it reminds me a little bit of Adele’s “Skyfall,” where that track also had a superb symphony. I’m sure Eilish’s theme song will seamlessly complement the film of the same name too.

Be on the lookout for the song in the film in theaters April 10th but meantime you’ll have plenty of time to hear Billie Eilish’s theme song out now.

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“To Die For” by Sam Smith

😢

Another pensive song this week that will have you contemplate! Sam Smith tackles loneliness in this song. It makes you want to hug someone who’s lonely or even depressed. It will definitely hit you in the feels because not everyone in society is on cloud 9 24/7. There are people of all ages from all walks of life who struggle to smile each day, who longs for companion or a romantic relationship.

In a recent press release, Smith said this about their new song:

Releasing this song is going to be a wild one—I feel like it’s from one of the deepest parts of me. I wrote this with Jimmy Napes and Stargate in L.A. during a time of self-discovery and heartbreak. This is for all the lonely hearts out there on another Valentine’s Day xx.

This song will be included on their next album of the same name on May 1st!

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“Breathe Deeper” by Tame Impala

🧘

Tame Impala a.k.a. Kevin Parker has finally released The Slow Rush, his fourth studio album which follows his 2015 hit album, Currents. Spotify is featuring “Breathe Deeper” in this week’s playlist of new releases by the way and after checking this song out, I got to say it’s another uplifting funky track.

“Breathe Deeper” is the second to longest track off the new record at more than six minutes in duration. With that said, the whole album collectively puts you in a good mood. Highly recommended for long road trips, morning and evening commutes and casual listening sessions in between. If you loved past Tame works, you’ll love this new album for sure.

Stream and download The Slow Rush by Tame Impala today! Tickets and tour dates can be found here.

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“Honeymoon Fades” by Sabrina Carpenter

🥰🥰🥰

Sabrina Carpenter is flexing her vocal chops with this Ariana Grande-sque ballad. Carpenter best known also for her recent roles in the hit Netflix show, “Tall Girl,” and the hit Disney Channel series, “Girl Meets World,” has really emerged into a young pop star at just 20-years-old. I predict she will be a breakout artist this year and hopefully this song will be the first of many more singles to be dropped later this year.

Personally, I enjoy her song which deals with someone who wishes their relationship stays true and blissful all throughout their lifetime even when that honeymoon phase fades away. Don’t we all want to feel the love forever and ever? Carpenter paints a pretty picture as she dreams for this to be true and hopefully it stays true IRL.

Overall, this is a great easy listening tune for those who want to remain positive on this Valentine’s Day 2020 and onward! 💕

You can download and stream this heartwarming song right here.

Tune in next week for another edition of New Music Friday. Happy listening! Feel free to share what you will be listening to in the comments below.