“It’s not impossible for us to have it all.”

“Valentine (What’s It Gonna Be)” by Rina Sawayama | All right, so it’s a song released on Valentine’s Day that the singer herself says is here because she hates Valentine’s Day. Also, here on my side of the world it’s all over: it’s the 15th. Also, yes, I know I’m writing about this partly because I have not scheduled anything for today, and partly because Rina Sawayama is one of those artists who have been on my radar for months now, only for me to hold on to for a while, for no reason. I have read about her on Monocle: another one of those globe-crossing artists they love, definitely of Japanese origin but growing up in the UK, her music as nomadic – and appealing to the young ones; a hint to an accidental theme week for next week – as that sounds. This one’s slinky, appealing, and for once, I got why I rushed to write this, even if I usually don’t. [NB]


“My only connection is in your direction.”

“Stay Alive” by Hollie Cook | In the past couple of months I have made a return to listening to BBC 6 Music – the stream’s no longer intermittent. Here’s the thing about listening to one radio station (from elsewhere) for an extended period of time: it has its own rotation rules, and it puts a slightly different set of songs on repeat, so you get a slightly different idea of what’s out there. I’ve been telling this to Jeany, about how the Brits play Sunflower Bean’s “I Was A Fool” more than the Americans who actually provide them a home. (Or I missed it completely.) Hollie Cook is another example – but then again, she hasn’t quite crossed over across the pond, which isn’t a problem. I like how she merges reggae with that reverbed-up 60s sound. Also, turns out she’s the daughter of the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook. And this isn’t her first release, but her third solo release – she worked with reggae act Baby Slit before setting out. It does lend to that authentic yet modern feel. What did I say about “slightly different” earlier? Yep. Now, to trawl through the inbox again. [NB]

“지금 보고 있는 게 꿈은 아닐 걸.”

“Bboom Bboom” by Momoland | And our first ever K-pop post of 2018 goes to Momoland, the only group I know (from any country) who manages to get away with integrating dabbing in not just one of their songs. (And the first time they used it, in last year’s criminally underrated “Wonderful Love”, it did not feel like a gimmick.) I’ve long been wary of calling songs from rookie K-pop groups the one song that will break them out, but it’s safe to say that this has brought this gang closer. Again, the precedent has been there – I actually liked their debut, “Jjan! Koong! Kwang!”, in all its frothy and bouncy goodness. And, again, “Wonderful Love”, which is such a feel good song I don’t know why I did not write about it the first time around. But with “Bboom Bboom” the group presents a quiet grower that’s reminiscent of Red Velvet at their least confused: subliminal grooves, hooky choruses, and no off spot all around. (It definitely helps that this song is produced by Shinsadong Tiger, he who helped bring EXID’s iconic “Up & Down”, and most of their other singles, to the world. There are questions of plagiarism, however, from a Russian group.) Also, Shalla is entranced by that dance at the chorus. Steady, quite entrancing. It’s rare that we agree on our love for the same song, so that makes this one a winner in our book. [NB]

“You were the jet plane. I was a parachute failing.”

“Heartbreak Junky” by Kyle Craft | Well, it seems I’m catching up with more new music lately. Keep that streak going, Nicksy! But there’s a lot to work to do, still. You’ll have to forgive me for knowing little. Kyle Craft is a southern rockster transplanted to the north west – this isn’t a sound I’d expect from Portland, but then, everything collides these days. (Also, he did come from Shreveport, so says Wikipedia.) He’s prepping for his second album, and off it is this song, which makes for a surprisingly potent soundtrack to an afternoon walk. But then the lyrics feel like you’re watching someone spiral into despair, wanting to get out… but that’s what makes it alluring. I go through Wikipedia further and learn that Kyle and I share the exact birthday. Down to the year. I guess a major difference is that I did not pick up a musical instrument. [NB]

“Don’t you care for something sweet to drink?”

“Skin” by Locks | Well, look who’s listening to the radio again, and writing about songs from off it! Now, only if he could do it faster. I heard this track on 6 Music a couple of weeks ago, but decided to schedule it today because of that inbox situation. Locks is a band from London, unsigned and with a very bluesy sensibility – which I find refreshing, admittedly, considering I’ve been listening to more pop in months past. The sense of foreboding comes from L. Geary-Griffin’s vocals – cold yet inviting, warm yet chilling – and the band fully embraces their Tom Waits-meets-Nick Cave thing. “Skin”, their new single, wraps that all up in a package you can’t help but be drawn into – I was essentially in a trance, and I had this on earphones. Must’ve been a weird few minutes, me dazing out to a song. But that happens many times. [NB]