‘Best Songs Ever’ features various contributors to The Spinoff Music assessing recent songs and singles.
Little Mix – ‘You Gotta Not’
The latest Little Mix is a barnstorming ‘No Scrubs’-style anthem about men that still live at home, rumoured to be shots fired at Zayn Malik (er, again). It’s just unfortunate such a banger had to come shackled to a message about “acting like a man”. Like, what does that even mean in this day and age? I feel like we’d all be better off if sassy English girl groups didn’t perpetuate the myth of prescribed gender roles, thereby adding to the culture of toxic masculinity that oppresses us all. But whatever, the chorus is huge and the refrain is impossibly catchy. There’s even a key change! Godammit, I love a key change. – Leonie Hayden
Whoever wrote the lyrics for endearing Australian teenage pop-punk boy band Kid Zr0’s first single really gave it a nudge: the pre-chorus rhymes “soiree” with “foyer” while the chorus unforgettably rhymes “gin martinis” and “chugging VBs”. These guys seem purpose-built to play the NRL Grand Final in a couple of years, by which time the 15-year-old singer will have just about reached the legal drinking age. – Calum Henderson
Guy Sebastian – ‘Set In Stone’
Guy Sebastian is one of pop music’s most consistent artists – there’s no need to ever worry that 13 years deep into his career he’s gonna surprise you and drop a freaky concept album. He’s the dude you bring along to Christmas when you’re sick of dating burnouts, if only because you know your Mum will like him, you know your Nana will like him, and even though you don’t want to like him, you actually kind of love him.
A big fan of the sappy ballad, Sebastian’s latest release ‘Set In Stone’ is a surefire More FM success. It’s no ‘Battle Scars’ or ‘Art of Love’, but it doesn’t need to be, because it’s good enough not to be questioned and will set him up nicely for another season mentoring on The X-Factor Australia. – Kate Robertson
Kenny Chesney – ‘Setting the World on Fire feat P!nk’
Released as a single in July, ‘Setting the World on Fire’ sneaks in here by virtue of its appearance on Chesney’s just-released Cosmic Hallelujah. A duet with P!nk, ‘Setting the World on Fie’ captures the best of the clear eyes, full hearts middle America which we’ve mainly seen the worst of during this election season. The lyrics are corny as hell, but affecting regardless, and the liquid guitar line and slow bass drum stomp show again why Chesney, 20 years deep into his career, knows the modern Nashville craft as well as anyone breathing. – Duncan Greive
Japandroids – ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’
I always saw the band name ‘Japandroids’ and gave them a wide berth, assuming they would play some kind of tiresome and irritating math rock. It’s taken until now to realise they actually sounded like Bleed American-era Jimmy Eat World playing Hold Steady covers i.e. glorious and perfect indie rock. Their new single after a four-year hiatus is a little slicker than 2012’s Celebration Rock; it sounds like something you’d hear in a dream and wake up briefly convinced you’d accidentally written the best song ever. – CH
Maggie Rogers – ‘Dog Years’
Maggie Rogers made her name known (somewhat) when a video made the rounds on Reddit and Facebook, showing Pharrell vibing out as he listened to her song ‘Alaska’ while hosting a masterclass for NYU music students.
Last week, Rogers released ‘Dog Years’, another “folk dance” track. The first ten seconds could be straight from a Disney live action trailer, and Rogers’ voice is at risk of sounding like your usual “incredible first audition singing Bon Iver” contestant but I loved the song for the way it builds, almost enticing you to move. The lyrics would be right at home on a Ray Lamontagne album. Coupled with a distinctly dance beat and natural samples, Rogers has her own sound and I’m here for all of it. – Madeleine Chapman
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.