From sitting at the top of ‘one to watch’ lists by MTV and YouTube, to performing to packed crowds at Glastonbury Festival and Jay-Z’s Made in America, 2019 has been Grace Carter’s year. Her stratospheric rise isn’t stopping anytime soon, with her latest single “Fired Up” signalling a move into more vulnerable lyricism. Singing about growing up and falling in love for the first time, we’re already obsessed.
The return of the (original) Sugababes, Ghetto Sage and Rex Orange County: here’s all the tracks soundtracking our weekend.
Grace Carter – “Fired Up”
Willie Jones – “Whole Lotta Love”
Country music is having a moment this year. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ country-meets-rap song “Old Town Road” dominated the charts for a record number of weeks this summer, with endless remixes being released throughout. 24-year-old Louisiana-born Willie Jones similarly merges contemporary country music twangs with energetic hip hop in his new track “Whole Lotta Love”. Beginning as a Taylor-Swift-Love–Story-era acoustic ballad, Jones soon begins rapping and flips our expectations of the genres on their heads.
DJ Spoony feat. Sugababes – “Flowers”
There’s been so many iterations of the Sugababes’ line-up since its conception in 1998 that we’ve lost count. But now Keisha Buchanan, Siobhán Donaghy and Mutya Buena – the OG trio whose first album One Touch was blasted out of all of our Walkmans – are back making music. Releasing a version of the 2000 Sweet Female Attitude song “Flowers”, Sugababes feature on DJ Spoony’s new track, reigniting our love for both the song and the girl band with a wave of noughties nostalgia.
JP Saxe and Julia Michaels – “If The World Was Ending”
JP Saxe has had us in our feels since his breakout single “The Few Things” (which has incidentally since amassed over 50 million streams), and his latest track, a collab with Grammy-nominated Julia Michaels, is no different. The visuals for “If The World Was Ending” show Saxe and Michaels singing to each other across a split screen as they navigate a difficult relationship.
“The song is about that special person in your life that for whatever reason you just can’t seem to make it work with”, explains Michaels. “If the world is ending, and there was nothing left to hold you back, would you make your way back to them for one last night?”
Rex Orange County – “Pluto Projector”
Rex Orange County has been pioneering softboi indie pop since his debut album Bcos U Will Never B Free in 2016, making an impression with his relatable lyrics and half-spoken vocals. The Surrey-born singer’s latest offering is just as sweet as ever, as he sunnily sings about “feeling at home” with a partner.
Lilla Vargen – “Solitary”
After singing about leaving behind a toxic relationship with her last track heartfelt track “Why Wait”, we’ve been obsessed with the trickling voice of Lilla Vargen, the Northern Irish singer-songwriter now returning with “Solitary”. Showcasing her impressive vocals once more, Vargen’s poppy piano ballad details the feeling of learning to enjoy solitude after ending a relationship, following on from the themes of “Why We Wait”.
“Solitary is me learning that being alone doesn’t have to be a weakness”, explains Vargen. “It was one of the first songs I wrote in London, and I was recognising that the relationship I’d been in had been wrong for some time – that I’d rather go on by myself than deal with that struggle anymore. I was ready to be on my own for a while”.
Ghetto Sage – “Häagen Dazs”
On Wednesday, rappers Noname, Saba and Smino announced their new collective Ghetto Sage, hastily dropping the first track yesterday morning. “Häagen Dazs” combines the energetic flows of Saba and Smino with Noname’s laid-back verse, and now we’ll be patiently counting down the days until a debut EP rears its head.