Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
Justin Timberlake is back. And this song is a tremendous example of his undeniable talent; proof that he is more than just another shiny pop star. After a four year break from the music scene JT is back with his new album The 2020 Experience, and Mirrors, the second single from the album is a reminder of what he does best. It’s a smooth and poignant love song brimming with emotion. It’s a track that has depth and soul and shows the reason for the longevity of Timberlake’s career. The vocals are a flawless, gliding effortlessly through the lower and higher notes, sounding fluid and utterly mesmerizing. It feels as though this is what we’ve been missing for so long, without perhaps even realising it, but once you listen to this song it definitely feels as though a thirst has been well and truly quenched.
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Jumping on the recently popular folk-rock band wagon that has proved very successful for acts like Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men, Colorado based five-some The Lumineers are also proving to be a big hit with the mainstream. The first single from their debut album shows why. Their first top 5 hit in the US and top 10 in the UK, is a sweet and melodic track. Simple in style, there isn’t much going on; but that needn’t be a bad thing. The lack of complexity doesn’t over complicate the song and let’s it breathe, the result being that it can really shine as opposed to being a thumping assault on the senses. The Ho hey chant is sharp but catchy, with the drums accenting it, and will have audiences shouting along in unison. The chorus is mellow and soothing and will no doubt lend to it being a massive summer hit on the festival circuit.
Bastille – Pompeii
The fourth single from their number one debut album Bad Blood, London-based indie-synth pop quartet Bastille’s track Pompeii is funky, cheery and somewhat haunting. The opening ‘Eh eh oh’ tribal-esque chant is catchy and gives the song an arena-worthy anthemic feel. The lyrics and vocal style are simple, no-frills affairs that give the track more of a punch; it doesn’t need to decorate itself in octave jumping licks and warbling, it’s powerful as it is. The chorus is infectiously bright, and despite the contrasting lyrics like, “how am I going to be an optimist about this?” It’s a hopeful and uplifting track that will never fail to put a smile on your face. And after debuting on Radio One and gaining many airplays since, it doesn’t seem that the band have much to be pessimistic about either.
Bruno Mars – When I was your man
This sombre track shows that you don’t need a fancy production or countless computerised layers and effects to make great music. Sometimes there is power in simplicity. The second single from Mars’ newest album Unorthodox Jukebox, this melancholic ballad is stripped back and smooth. The accompaniment, comprising of just a piano, feels like a step back in time and lets Mars’ effortless and, as always, impeccable vocals, and the tender lyrics take centre stage. It doesn’t need anything else. There is an enchanting quality in its simplicity; a delicateness that makes you sit-up and pay attention from the moment you hit play. The lack of smoke and mirrors adds to the song’s beauty and showcases the absolute purity of Bruno Mars’ talent. The gentle piano and the pure emotion of the vocals flow together in harmony, and whilst ratcheting up the power at points, the latter never sounds forced. Romanticising the regret after a separation the track is an improbable love song, full of heart and soul and is, as we have come to expect from Bruno Mars: absolutely flawless.
The 1975 – Chocolate
The 1975 are an emerging alt rock band hailing from Manchester UK. The band have released three EPs and have gained national airplay after landing the support of both Radio One’s Huw Stevens and Zane Lowe. Their 2013 offering Music For Cars see’s the completion of their EP trilogy, and lead single Chocolate is animated and bouncy with jaunty guitars and a great melody that will no doubt induce head bobbing and a mass clap-along from its listeners in no time. The playful energy and sparkle of this track adds to its catchiness and lends to it being a fun, upbeat ride of indie-pop music despite the lyrics painting a somewhat contrasting picture of outlaws who have “guns hidden under our petticoats.” Nonetheless, it’s a great song that will surely be a massive summer hit, and if this is a sign of things to come 2013 could be a very big year for The 1975.
Gabrielle Aplin – Panic Chord
Twenty year old Gabrielle Aplin became a chart smash after she sound-tracked last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad with her cover of The Power of Love. Aplin had built up an online following after posting cover videos of popular chart tracks on YouTube. Since her mainstream exposure, she has toured with the likes of Ed Sheeran and played her own sold out shows at London venues like Koko. Panic Chord is the third single from her debut album English Rain, and it’s a little bit more folky than her previous singles but it definitely works, though it does take a few listens to get used to. It’s a bittersweet track about doubts and unrequited love, ‘this meant more to you than it did to me’, which makes it relatable. Aplin’s vocals are melodic and dainty, but she also proves that she can amp up the power; never losing control of her voice. The vocals are just shy of haunting against the sunny sounding chords of the verses, and the chorus is really catchy despite the apologetic vibe to the lyrics. An all round bittersweet but great song, we’d definitely recommend it.
Taylor Swift – 22
After selling over a million copies in its first week of release, Taylor Swift’s fourth album Red became the fastest selling album in over a decade. The fourth single from the album, 22 see’s Swift well and truly cross over into pop territory. It’s a fun-filled pop smash that is about nothing else but having a good time. This playful track shows hints of conflicting emotions ‘we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way’ but is ultimately carefree; an anthem for the joys of youth. It’s refreshing amongst all the songs about love and heartbreak, and it’s brilliant. Judging by the success of her previous singles Swift shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, and she can now add another great song to her catalogue of hits.