Best New Music Of The Week // July 30 – August 5, 2018

Chris McClenney – “Legacy”

Chris McClenney is definitely a name we have been raving about for a minute now. The young beatmaker has a collaboration list that spans the entire length of contemporary R&B but his latest single “Legacy” is a reminder of the talented artist that he is also.

Written by McClenney and co-produced with Syk Sense, “Legacy” encapsulates what it’s like to be marginalized in America and have your life taken away suddenly as a result of police violence. His follow up the self-produced single, “downforwhatever”, the track’s delicate production stops you in your tracks, forcing you to listen to it’s intentional lyrics.

The latest single follows a massive year for Chris that includes a Grammy nomination, an ASCAP Pop & R&B award win and studio time with a long list of names including D.R.A.M, H.E.R, Gallant, Cassie, Kyle Dion and Normani to name a few. With a recent release of a Beat Tape, FREE LUNCH and a debut LP currently in the works, Chris McClenney’s voice is one that you’ll want to keep up with.

Kygo + Imagine Dragons – “Born To Be Yours”

Bigfoot is looking for love in the new music video for Kygo and Imagine Dragons‘ wonderful new collaboration “Born To Be Yours“.

The single, released back in June and co-written by the four-piece band and the Norwegian producer, has already proved to be a hit and now, in preparation for the summer, it is getting that extra boost that should ultimately seal the deal.

Imagine Dragons, who I had the pleasure to see live last November, are a guarantee with their impetuous and energetic vibe that carries the song along and takes it to a whole new level, while Kygo plays it like a veteran with his trademark keyboard sound.

The explosive song is definitely a departure from Imagine Dragons’ more rock-based tracks. But the electronic spin on the song functions perfectly with the already bouncy sound of the Las Vegas band. If this will open up a more electronic-infused path for the band it remains to be seen, but “Born To Be Yours” is definitely a catchy song and I personally wouldn’t mind hearing more from them along this vein.

The video accompanying the single is modern love story with a mystical theme. A Bigfoot look-a-like falls in love with a cute brunette, only to find out that she is not the right girl for him.

But all’s well that ends well in this odd fairy tale, and eventually Bigfoot does get the girl.

Joel Baker – “Harder To Fall”

Rising soulful singer/songwriter and talented musician Joel Baker has released new music, his first proper since the release of the stunning EP The Dreamers, “Harder To Fall“.

Produced by Jordan Riley, the beautifully written “Harder To Fall”, showcases Joel’s stunning vocals and deft songwriting talent. The first track to be taken from his next project, “Harder To Fall”, sees Joel collaborate with friend and videographer George Baxter to create a stunning lyric video shot on location in Brighton.

“’Harder to Fall’ is a song about it becoming harder and harder to fall in love after going through knocks & bruises along the way (‘I broke my heart and it healed back different’).” says Joel.

“You put your guard up more (‘there’s four armies in my heart all leading the resistance’), one for each chamber. You start to become desensitised (‘sad stories on the news don’t move me’). The song is a cry for help to start feeling again and experience that love and emotion that was once so familiar.”

Martin Garrix + Bonn – “High On Life”

The first of two weekends at Tomorrowland has just finished and as always it never stops to surprise goers. This time a big surprise has arrived too, and it was from Dutch superstar Martin Garrix.

Through the Twitter page of his own music label, STMPD Records, he informed fans that a brand new single was set to be presented during his closing show, and the song would be released to the public right after the performance.

Titled “High On Life“, it is another example of the pop exploration the DJ is experiencing. After his previous successful single “Ocean“, together with another young and unstoppable singer, Khalid, this is another song that will make you dance and dream, but without breaking the speakers.

For this single, Garrix has looked again for a music partner and this time it is the vocalist Bonn, who actually adds a true depth to the track, his vocals are silky smooth and integrated perfectly.

As promised, the song was presented yesterday (Monday) night at the De Schorre recreation area in Boom, Belgium; it went on streaming platforms immediately after and is accompanied by a video which is basically an entire footage of Garrix’s concerts, shows, mixing audience and stage perspectives.

Listen to the new single below and be ready for more surprises as the festival is returning next weekend.

Akurei – “Ride Home”

After the success of his recent single “Photophobia“, and the announcement of his forthcoming debut EP, Australian artist Akurei now shares the EP’s second single, “Ride Home“.

Carried by the tranquil guitar melody and encapsulated by modern pop production, “Ride Home” has a day-dreamy presence and a strong nostalgic feel that is very easy to get lost in. Furthermore, it is a genuine showcase of Akurei’s sincere songwriting ability paired with soft vocal sounds.

“This song is based around a guitar part I found I had recorded on my iPhone a while ago, and it has unexpectedly become a central part of the writing for the whole EP. It’s also the second song that I’ve produced myself, and while I’ve still got a lot to learn about the production side of things, I’m really happy with how this one has turned out.”

Sometimes the best things can come from the simplest of ideas, and that’s exactly how this song, and Akurei’s whole EP for that matter, came to be. We can’t wait to hear it.

Neneh Cherry – “Kong”

There is an accusatory note in the new video by Neneh Cherry. The Swedish-born singer unveiled the visuals for her single “Kong“, a sharp track about the refugees’ crisis.

Tongue-in-cheek and blunt, Cherry calls out the “goddam guns and guts and history and bitter love” that are tearing apart nations and making us forget what is like to be kind to one another.

The video is a stunning work of art, perfectly set by second-hand director Jenn Nkiru, who served the visuals for The Carters‘”APESHIT” in the Louvre, that focuses on several individuals in their ordinary life.

Cherry herself appears in several shots, the most memorable one a close up on her face while she sings splattered with white paints.

The song has a daunting motif, emphasized by its dub sound and vibrations that help underpin Cherry’s vocal delicacy and the power of her words. The melody, almost completely built on the sound of drums, that pervade everything, retains that old school jazz and reggae flavor that makes the whole cut both compelling and powerful.

“Kong” is a masterfully-created track, from the instrumentation used to Cherry’s expert vocals. Adding up to this are the politically committed verses that makes the single a must heard both musically and lyrically.

Words by Jay Tijani, Camilla Marotta and Paola Pedrotti

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