Our regular round-up of new songs and singles, this week featuring SWIDT, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris, Serge Beynaud and more…
SONG OF THE WEEK
SWIDT – ‘Alfred & Church’
New raps from Onehunga
If SWIDT keep going, future historians will be able to recreate Onehunga from their discography – ‘No More Parties In Stoneyhunga’, the bus-route-repping ‘312’ and now the intersection-referencing ‘Alfred & Church’. The new track is the first of a four-pack to be released over the next ten weeks, and while it’s not as immediate as their previous work (no chorus/hook!) it slots into the storytelling tradition of Mareko’s ‘City Line’. Cali producer Tae Beast (associated with Black Hippy artists like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q) works with their own SmokeyGotBeats to produce an eerie, choppy track with a cinematic buzz of sirens, choppers, squealing tires, and Counter-Strike headshots. Lines range from urgent interjections (“fuck gentrification!”, “where you from?”) to effortless scene-setting (“House parties we raid the fridge / Pantries, potato chips / Milo, peanut brownies / Dunking Pringles in flavoured dips”, “A snapback for a crown / A milk crate for a throne / Motherfucker, this is home”). – Stevie Kaye
Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris – ‘Craving You’
The future of crossover country-pop
Remember when Shania Twain first did country/pop crossover and the hardcore country fam were fuming, but it actually ended up becoming a super iconic sound of the late-’90s? Yeah well, we’re not willing to go that far on this track alone, but it’s definitely a step in the pop direction for country music’s obsessions of the past two years, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris.
For those unfamiliar with the comings and goings of 2017 country music, all you need to know is that Rhett and Morris are the current reigning royalty. Both released award-winning albums in 2016, Maren won a Grammy, Thomas won a bunch of CMAs and AMAs, and both are currently headlining national tours. It’s this collective influence and ‘hot right now’ status the artists have that had the surprise collaboration a roaring success within 24 hours of its release. The beat is so blatantly pop, but the lyrics are concentrated country brilliance: cigarettes, infatuation, and hard liquour.
Morris’ 2016 album Hero was her debut, but Rhett has been a big name for several years now and will likely have label execs pushing him and his perfect social media family (go follow him and his wife on Instagram, immediately) towards the Top 40 market, so the song makes a lot of sense. Shania did it, Taylor did it, Sam Hunt is in the midst of (attempting) it, and Rhett will undoubtedly be next.
If you love pop music give this song a crack, because if we hadn’t told you, you might not have even known you were listening to a country song. ‘Craving You’ is a beautiful, perfect gateway into a genre a lot of people struggle with, and should be added to all of your playlists, immediately. – Kate Robertson and Alice Brine
Dun D ft Sneakbo x Kojo Funds – ‘Badman (Remix)’
Twisted grime remix
North London MC Dun D’s late-2016 grime/afro-trap banger never got quite the shine it deserved. It nailed a certain icy, wavey sound that looked back to 1993 ‘ardkore (the “malfunctioning modem”/”cyberpunk church bells” vibe of, say, Hyper-On Experience’s ‘Lords of the Null Lines’), but the rhymes somewhat faded into the menacing atmosphere. That’s been fixed, for better or worse, in the new remix with luminaries Sneakbo and Kojo Funds stunting off each other. Syllables are chopped and twisted, exasperated sighs and snorts punctuate their lines, and there’s even some rave sirens punctuating the proceedings. Here’s hoping 2017 sees Kojo Funds and J Hus push each other to new heights. – SK
Serge Beynaud – ‘Akrakabo’
The Ivory Coast’s biggest rapper
‘Akrakabo’, the first single from Ivory Coast superstar Serge Beynaud’s new album Accelerate, goes hard in its three minutes – the Ivorian/Parisian coupé-decalé style (hyper-percussive, bassy, minimal) picks up some melodic tricks from Naija afrobeats. Call and response vocals overlap and dip in and out of autotune, the rubbery rhythm gets increasingly frenetic, and then, two minutes in, what’s almost a whole new song emerges from the chrysalis of the earlier track – gorgeous rippling guitar and traditional percussion flower for forty seconds before getting somehow seamlessly integrated into what came before. I’m not sure I’ve heard anything better this year. – SK
The Spinoff’s music content is brought to you by our friends at Spark. Listen to all the music you love on Spotify Premium, it’s free on all Spark’s Pay Monthly Mobile plans. Sign up and start listening today.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.