Wonderland.

Wonderlist

While this weeks #Wonderlist maybe short on bangers, there’s songs here that are cute and uplifting, perfect as we’re hit with ‘thundersnow storms’ wreaking havoc across the country. So give it a spin.

Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney – ‘FourFiveSeconds’

Look, we’ll be honest; ‘FourFiveSeconds’ isn’t really the song we wanted Rihanna to come back with after her two-and-a-bit year hiatus (did it feel like longer for anyone else?). And we’re pretty sure that it isn’t what anyone else was expecting from the Bajan singer. However, ‘FourFiveSeconds’ is so leftfield that, somehow, it works. From the demo-like guitar, strange backing vocals and southern organs it’s all quite cohesive. Also, Rihanna sounds amazing, delivering a raw and gravelly vocal. ­­Whether this is the first single from #R8 is still undecided – know one really knows. I guess at this stage we should just be happy that she’s back.

Phoebe Ryan – ‘Mine’

Apart from having vibrantly green hair, we don’t know too much about Phoebe Ryan expect that she hails from California and is a songwriter now going it solo. But really, none of that really matters, because ‘Mine’ is a cute pop song in the vein of Tove Lo and Ellie Goulding. We just love the sentiments of the song, inspiring and self-empowered without being didactic. As a start, ‘Mine’ is full of possibilities, and while we wish it ended with more of a bang, it’s certainly exciting when something new comes along, isn’t it.

Natlie McCool – ‘Pins’

Natlie McCool’s ‘Pins’ is one of those songs that we can’t quite make our mind up about. At its heart, it’s a conventional pop song with a good chorus and hooky topline vocals. Likewise, the production is interesting in a way that draws you in and makes you want to listen to the rest of the track. What we’re not sure about is whether one is trying to distract from the other. Regardless, there’s purity to McCool’s vocal that we’re definitely onboard with. File this one under ‘wait and see’.

Croox – ‘Settle’

Showcasing an enigmatic approach to alt-R&B and modern electronics, Croox are delivering a FKA Twigs + The Weekend hybrid with without the kooky fashion and creepy come-to-bed eyes. With ‘Settle’ the ‘collective’ take their sound one step further, tracing synths and beats with soothing vocals. We’re intrigued by their air of mystery and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Marina and the Diamonds – ‘I’m A Ruin’

The latest track taken from Marina’s FROOT album, ‘I’m A Ruin’, is our favourite one so far. The track exemplifies what it is about Marina that we love, swooping melodies with melancholic tendencies. The track’s spacy production – the echoing vocals, ghostly synths and over pronounced percussion – give us hope that FROOT might be more than just a high concept record. And when Marina sings “babe, I’m gonna ruin you if you let me stay”, we can’t help feel our hearts tug a little. Oh Marina, we do love you.

Sultan + Shepherd feat. Tegan And Sara – ‘Make Things Right’

It would be a lie to say that we’re not glad that generic EDM is on the way out, but that won’t stop us from enjoying the odd belter now-and-again. For us, it needs to have something that’s slightly different, or be crafted in a way that’s  heartfelt. That’s why we’re totally feeling Montreal-based duo Sultan+Shepherd’s new offering. Calling in superbabes Tegan and Sara was an amazing move, with the twin sisters elevating the track from generic to euphoric. Call us soppy, but we’re really enjoying an empowerment anthem at the moment, and ‘Make Things Right’ delivers it with head spinning clarity.

 

The Veronicas – ‘Sugar Daddy’

Taken from the upcoming repack of their latest self-titled album, ‘Sugar Daddy’ is a foreboding and ominous track from The Veronicas. Playing with the concept of the sugar daddy, the song explores the sweetness of love and obsession with strings galore. In fact, given the song’s portentous quality, we’re surprised it isn’t included on the Fifty Shades soundtrack. The string build up that replaces the conventional middle eight contains a heightened sexuality, with deep booming drums mimicking the beating of a heart. We’ve got chills.

Sia – ‘Salted Wound’

A song actually taken from the Fifty Shades soundtrack, ‘Salted Wound’ sounds like a Sia song pre-‘Titanium’. It’s a low-key affair, something we’ve been craving from singer recently, with harps and layered vocals providing an almost lullaby-like quality to the track. Yet, while Sia may have reined in the powerhouse vocals, it’s almost as if she’s decided that no one really needs to understand what she’s actually singing – the lyrics are completely indistinguishable. However, the song’s delicacy speaks for itself, and it’s always fun to make up your own lyrics, isn’t it?

Carrie Underwood – ‘Little Toy Guns’

Country music is slowly becoming ‘a thing’ in the UK, with BBC Radio 2 launching a radio station dedicated to genre in March. So now seemed like the perfect time to include country stalwart, Carrie Underwood, on the Wonderlist. The latest track taken off her Greatest Hits album, Greatest Hits: Decade Number 1, ‘Little Toy Guns’ is an emotionally charged song about broken familial relationships from the perspective of a young girl hiding in the closet listening to her parents fighting, wishing that words didn’t hold the weight that they’re often loaded with. Suitably epic production frames the song, with percussion playing an important role conveying the anger and despair in the track. There’s a reason why Carrie Underwood’s career has lasted as long as it has – she’s an incredibly talented songwriter and vocalist with songs that know how to hit you hard.

Brooke Fraser – ‘Magical Machine’

The latest track from NZ popstar Brooke Fraser, ‘Magical Machine’, is a glitch-y, distinctive and downright moody song with production that Guy Sigsworth would be jealous of. There is a powerful bass paired with rounded drum machines, and swirling strings that envelop the track, with Fraser’s layered vocals blending into one weirdly captivating sound. Also, lyrically, the song is quite something, with Fraser at one point singing, “I’m your MP3, I get sad when you don’t pay for me”, while the yearning in the chorus is heartfelt and charged. Like the song’s video, it sends you into space, leaving you floating in the weightlessness of your own emotions.

Words
Alim Kheraj
Wonderlist

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