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Album Review: Red Velvet's 'Perfect Velvet' Is The Best K-Pop Album of 2017
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Another entry for listicle season is here! This time round, we've gathered some truly outstanding singles of 2017, while making sure our selections are sufficiently diverse. Let's cut to the chase- here are our top 10 picks:


10. Dua Lip - New Rules

Post-breakup complications are candidly dissected in this tropical hit, nominated by fellow writer Letazia. When Dua Lipa declares her ‘new rules’ in the standout pre-chorus, the ominous synth melody prods at her projected confidence, betraying her underlying disquietude. The chill-out drop is a respite that is only momentary, for she admits in the verses that she has yet to learn. New Rules isn’t an Aunt Agony column imparting wisdom, it’s a song that deeply empathizes with the struggle, while finding strength in it.


9. Lorde - Perfect Places

I used to overlook this track for not being as musically adventurous as its Melodrama counterparts, but over time, I fell in love with the song’s unpolished beauty, the way it bares a burning malaise too raw and real. Lorde astutely depicts what it means to oscillate between self-denial and self-loathing, to feel hopelessly lost in attempts to escape it all, as every reiteration of the deceptively modest phrase ‘perfect places’ stings sharper than before. 'Green Light' may be a more compelling showcase of nontraditional pop songcraft, but 'Perfect Places' sticks harder, and cuts deeper. 


8. Selena Gomez - Bad Liar

Fascinating how the bassline from a classic Talking Heads hit four decades back found home again in a Selena Gomez song- the original’s sinister tension is reinterpreted as a game of coy flirtations with a crush. The minimalistic production complements her introverted persona’s stream-of-consciousness musings- a stylistic direction that reconciles her technical vocal shortcomings perfectly. I'd take this over her unconvincing attempts at seductive crooning (which resurfaced in her subsequent single... never mind) anytime.


 7. LOONA 1/3 - Sonatine

This unconventional K-pop ballad may be easily overlooked in favor of the genre’s more upbeat offerings, but a closer listening unveils the beauty of its arrangement- unique harmonies, a tango interpolation, orchestral flourishes that unfold the song layer by layer, like doors opening into unknown worlds. The chorus’ chord progression never fully resolves itself, kindling a sense of distance and longing, though its major key ending glimmers with hope. In search of the elusive, the girls come close, yet not quite there. 


6. Haim - Little of Your Love

“This single made up for the lack of overall appeal for Haim’s latest record.” Writer Teejay wrote, “There might only be a few bangers from the album, but this is certainly one of them. It’s propelling melody complements Haim’s percussive voices so well it makes you want to buy your own disco ball (which I did) - definitely one of the most jammable singles released this year.” It's evidence that Haim is indeed at their best when they are serving infectious power hooks.


5. Mondo Grosso - Labyrinth 

Feathery vocals dance atop a beat that recalls Daft Punk’s rawer, more sentimental work. Mondo Grosso makes an incredible comeback after more than a decade with this celestial deep house gem, which features vocalist Hikari Mitsushima asking her lover to be immersed in the moment. At the same time, hesitation lingers in her delivery, like a body dipping into the waters. Radiating with warmth, Labyrinth captures romance in its silent thrills and tension. 


4. Harry Styles - Sign of the Times

Harry Styles’ immense power ballad was fellow writer Donwei’s pick of 2017: “After the announcement of One Direction's hiatus and months of anticipation for the his solo debut, Harry could not have released a better single. Sign of the Times single-handedly shut the naysayers up and prove that he is more than just a pretty face. The beauty of this track lies in its repetition, that oddly doesn't feel dreary but instead grows onto you with each listen.”


3. Kendrick Lamar - DNA

I don’t know why HUMBLE. is the standard critic's pick when 1) its rhymes are average for Kendrick standards 2) its beat is (below) average for Mike WiLL Made-It standards 3) DNA. exists. Kendrick delivers sharp braggadocio while critiquing systematic racism over a heavy bass and distorted guitar, but the defining moment truly arrives at the beat switch- a brilliant sardonic sample of FOX news, warped into abrasive, borderline claustrophobic sonics, which the rapper absolutely tears at without any mercy.


2. Rina Sawayama - Alterlife

In this busy track about “finding yourself through trying to become other people”, as described by the British singer herself, classic R&B melodies are bent and repurposed into an euphoric futuristic anthem, propelled by a retro video game guitar line. The production is incredibly dense and teeming with all sorts of influences from industrial to 80s glam metal, but the real magic lies in how cohesively everything falls into place. It's a musical window into an alternate cyberpunk universe, where people race through neon-saturated cityscapes into the night.


1. Lil Uzi Vert - XO TOUR Llif3

Soundcloud rap is the new emo, and XO Tour Llif3 is the crowning masterpiece of the genre. It does not make for a comfortable listening experience: it reeks of nihilism, destruction and manic episodes, via a murky beat that evokes a twisted kind of high. The first line, “I don’t really care if you cry”, is delivered with a chilling apathy, and the indifference drags on throughout the song before it all collapses with Uzi’s sudden, almost incoherent cries for help. Yet those cries feel oddly distant at the same time, as if they came from a broken, corroded being. It's not just another #edgy song, and neither is it trying to be. This is genuine pain distilled into a devastating blow of a track, a powerful release that will go down as a classic in years to come.



Photo Credit: Megan Eagles, Erskine Records Ltd, Getty / Raymond Hall

Published in Featured

100 million views, but did you notice the subtleties?

Dua Lipa released her music video for New Rules just over a month ago and the MV recently hit over 100 million views on YouTube.

The music video did so well not just because of its catchy tune but its unconventional storytelling style really appealed and resonated with a big percentage of the young singer's audience.

The empowering female anthem is accompanied by the portrayal of a group of friends helping Dua get over a recent breakup. And in return, the 22-year-old singer was able to likewise with her new found confidence.

If you were part of the group of people who contributed to most of the 100 million views, you would have noticed that a lot of symbolism was present which made everything that much cooler.

Flamingos were the reflection of the women in the music video and apparently these pink creatures are used to symbolise femininity and confidence. Some have discovered that the sofa in the living room represents either the toxic relationship or the ex-significant other.


Photo Credit: The First Echo

Published in Music News

London-born Dua Lipa has been working on her debut album since 2015, releasing tracks like the original Be The One.

It was not until 2017 that an actual date has been announced for her self-titled debut after the success of her collaboration with Martin Garrix, Scared To Be Lonely.

Scheduled to be released initially on February 10, it has since been pushed back to 2 June to polish up a few tracks and add a few more songs to the packed-to-the-brim album featuring 17 tracks.

Lost In Your Light is the first track released since the announcement of the new date, featuring rising R&B star Miguel!

The song features the two singers trade sensual lines with each other over a laid-back drum beat and funky synths that’s perfect for a sunny drive around town.

Oh and did you know Dua Lipa’s coming to town for an exclusive INVITE-ONLY showcase too?

Get your free tickets HERE and HERE by 3rd May 23:59.

Listen to Lost In Your Light below!

Photo Credit: Warner Music Singapore, Billboard, Genius

Published in Music News
Friday, 06 January 2017 06:53

New Music Mondays

Every Friday, Spotify compiles an entire list of 50 new tracks that was released in that week. 50 tracks can be a lot to take in, so we break down the good, the bad and the unexpected from this playlist!

Obviously the talk of the town this week was Ed Sheeran. After a yearlong hiatus, Ed is back with a brand new album reportedly titled Divide. He sure loves his math, doesn’t he? He has been teasing us with audio-less snippets on social media since the New Year and has released 2 of the songs, Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill last Friday!


Another name that we have been hearing a lot recently is Dua Lipa. She has been on tour with Troye Sivan and even debuted her collaboration with Martin Garrix in Myanmar on NYE. This week’s playlist features Thinking ‘Bout You, which is slightly different from her usual sound. This song features a toned down backing track creating a focus on her voice. She is definitely the one to watch this year!

Scrolling through the list, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. It has been awhile since Austin Mahone has made the headlines. Remember the days of What About Love or Say You’re Just A Friend? Lady (featuring Pitbull), from his new mix tape For Me + You, features a much more mature sound.

A band that caught my eye (or ears) was Great Good Fine Ok with their song Holding You. Upon hearing the song, the catchy tune immediately drew me in so I had to see what song this was. Definitely need to check them out!

Which is your favourite song from the list? Till next week!

Photo credits: MTV UK, Killer Fashion, Nickelodean, Hear This Daily.

Published in Music News