Willow ft Travis Barker
The 00s pop-punk revival is fully thriving, but I can’t be the only one querying the value of whiny tracks about high school from those old enough to still call exams O-Levels. Thank God for Willow, tracking her metamorphosis from precocious neo-soul explorer to out-and-out alt kid, Transparent Soul is bratty in the best way, pushing the genre towards more diverse expression.
In a year of great emotional upheaval for the black community, sometimes you need an upbeat song of recognition that doesn’t lose itself to trauma porn. With a swinging groove, Culpepper crafts a fortifying, accessible song of great summertime joy.
Nobody knows versatility and subversion like Billie Eilish, and indeed, the lead single from her second album is a sobering, understated choice, a quiet fury of #MeToo topicality that exhales in its own desert breeze. It’s not the returning banger that many anticipated, but it holds a clever double meaning: Eilish will be the pop star you want her to be, but only when she consents.
DJ Khaled ft Nas, Jay-Z & James Fauntleroy
Sorry Not Sorry
Taken from an album that features more “baby”s than a maternity ward, Sorry Not Sorry is more of Khaled’s alpha-positivity shtick, set to the sort of schmaltzy R&B that was getting Drake abused on hip-hop messageboards a decade ago. At least Drake knows how to reinvent himself – save for the tiny flourishes of Beyoncé harmony that appear in the dying seconds, there is absolutely nothing new here.
The leather-jacketed cool of Coltrane is more likely to conjure up images of NYC than Leeds, but northern newcomers Eades perfectly toe the line between Strokes appreciation and indie landfill. With so much throwback potential this week, maybe they and Willow could rustle up a “pastiche management” masterclass? Stick Khaled down for three on the guestlist …