Yes, if you can hear anything over the screams of her millions of excitable fans, Billie Eilish, one of (if not the) biggest pop stars in the world right now, has released a new song. A dramatic departure from the catchy melodies of songs like “bad guy” – which we still have stuck in our heads from being played on repeat everywhere we went this summer – “everything i wanted” is a melancholy, brooding song, reminiscent of the singles from her debut EP from 2017. Restricting her vocals to almost a whisper, she sings of a disturbing dream she had, and some have speculated it’s a cautionary tale of fame and fortune.
From Billie Eilish to Idris Elba, Q-Tip and Little Simz: here’s all the songs soundtracking our Friday.
Billie Eilish – “everything i wanted”
Charlotte Lawrence – “God Must Be Doing Cocaine”
If you already thought Charlotte Lawrence’s new song “God Must Be Doing Cocaine”, was hauntingly beautiful enough, the accompanying visuals will confirm that for you. As the LA-based singer-songwriter stares at the camera (and into our soul), mysterious hands reach out and touch her face, while the video intersperses blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shots of Lawrence in different settings, from a river to a woodland to a shot of her mouth with a crucifix in between her teeth. Singing of the state of the world as she ruminates what sort of escapism a deity responsible for our planet’s creation would seek out, her powerful vocals are layered over a simple, cinematic arrangement. It’s not one to miss.
Johnny Utah – “4Tounce”
Somewhere between indie-rock, funk and bedroom-pop (think The Internet meets Rex Orange County) sits Johnny Utah, the alter-ego of 23-year-old multi-intstrumentalist Jacob Sullenger. Since gaining a loyal fan base through his viral Twitter videos, Utah’s lo-fi sound has been making waves since his debut single “Honeypie”, and follow-up track “4Tounce” is set to propel him even further. Singing of a past relationship and feelings of remorse, Utah’s DIY production and honest lyricism mean that the Philadelphia-based artist is definitely one to watch.
James BKS – “New Breed” feat. Idris Elba, Q-Tip and Little Simz
Performing at Coachella. Being sampled on Taylor Swift’s geographically confused “London Boy”. Terrifying us all in the Cats trailer, e.g. the most chaotic energy of 2019. Idris Elba’s been busy this year, and after rapping alongside Wiley, Sean Paul and Stefflon Don on this summer’s “Boasty”, another collab this way comes, this time with French-Cameroonian artist and producer James BKS, the first artist to be signed to Elba’s 7Wallace label. Featuring Elba, hip-hop legend and A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip, and rapidly rising rapper and Top Boy star Little Simz, “New Breed” is a love letter to Africa, with accompanying visuals depicting cartoon versions of each of the artists as Simz, Elba and Q-Tip get recruited by James to join his orbiting spaceship and the ‘new breed’.
“Little Simz, Idris Elba, Q-Tip and me strongly and proudly represent the New Breed movement”, explains James. “A different way to approach music with no borders, no judgment, no labels. We have learned from our past mistakes and victories and our eyes are on Africa, while in the meantime we embrace our own personal paths, respectively in the UK for Little Simz and Idris Elba, in the US for Q-Tip and in France for me”.
“The Cameroon percussions and rhythms are the lungs of my tracks, the hip-hop bass their spine, and the Swahili gospel chants their heart”.
Lucy Lu – “Compos Mentis”
No, we’re not talking about the Charlie’s angel – Lucy Lu is also the moniker for London-based singer-songwriter Luke Bower, who drops his latest single “Compos Mentis”, featuring fellow artists Harvey Causon and Gabriel Gifford. Merging indie-pop with jazz tones, as layers of Luke’s haunting, warped vocals trickle over the smooth production. Soon to be supporting Loyle Carner on his European tour, it’s the start of exciting things for Lucy Lu.
“The song’s lyrics draw on imagery to create a feeling”, Luke explains. “Harvey and I are both keen on ambiguous lyrics allowing the listener to draw their own story from the song. What I found so interesting was that when the song was finished, the feeling it conveyed totally aligned with that in my head, but the sound world felt like an even split of the three of us”.
Rose Gray – “high again”
Following on from her debut EP “BLUE, LATELY”, Walthamstow-based singer-songwriter Rose Gray drops “high again”, an electrifying, soul-inspired track about partying too much and longing for escapism. As with her previous single “Blue”, the video is directed by her boyfriend and The King’s Man star Harris Dickinson, and is influenced by the visceral, haptic filming styles of Lynne Ramsay, Andrea Arnold and Claire Denis. With impressive vocals and an effortlessly cool vibe, Rose Gray is well on her way to a blossoming musical career and we can’t wait to see her embark on it.
“I wrote ‘High Again’ in the middle of summer”, she tells us. “There was this magic energy in London at the time that I wanted to capture in my next song. I had a crazy few weeks with my friends which was fun, but still everything felt a bit fucked up – like the song I guess. Partying around London and running away with our feelings – and that was okay…”
Princess Nokia – “Balenciaga”
We’ve been obsessed with Princess Nokia for a while, but after making her feature film debut and collaborating with Ellesse this year, we have so many reasons to stan. After her iconic beauty show-themed video for Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.) earlier this year, the New York singer and rapper returns with another offering from her highly-anticipated upcoming album, “Balenciaga”. Name-dropping every fashion brand under the sun, Destiny Frasqueri remains one of our favourite artists in hip-hop right now, and we’ll be counting down the days until her next album. Keep your eyes peeled for the “Balenciaga” video dropping soon, which will obviously be fantastic.