Singles round-up: January 2019

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We’re not even a full month into 2019 and yet there has already been an explosion in the amount of music being released. With so much to pick and choose from, I thought it would be prudent to pick up and review a few of the things that have been released over the last few weeks, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything!

Hozier – “Almost (Sweet Music)”

It’s been a long time since Hozier’s debut album shook the world. No one was able to resist the sonorous, brooding magic of “Take Me to Church” or the summer-y delights of “Someone New”. “Almost (Sweet Music)” is his first new release in several years; it’s got a bit more of a pop groove than his previous output but it’s still undeniably Hozier. Hearing that gorgeous, powerful voice again is also a treat unto itself. Apparently, a full album is on the way; if that’s the case, this single is an indication of good things to come.

Catfish and the Bottlemen – “Longshot”

Catfish and the Bottlemen have never elicited anything more from me than a shrug of the shoulders. It seems that even as I’m listening to them I feel like I’m forgetting who they are. Their newest single “Longshot” is no exception, but it’s somehow one of the worst offenders: not only does it not have an identity for itself, but it reminds me of Alt-J (another rock band that just doesn’t hit the mark from me). Here’s the thing about the modern rock scene: the artists that are making a difference these days either went heavy (like Gojira), went weird (like Arcade Fire) or embraced a unique style (like the inimitable Lucy Dacus). The Foo Fighters are still pretty well entrenched in modern music (apparently they’re planning on a release this year too), which makes me wonder what the appeal of Catfish and the Bottlemen really is when the band they’re cribbing off of is still one of the biggest bands in the world.

Jade Bird – “I Get No Joy”

This is what I want more of in 2019. An honest-to-God slice of homegrown classic rock, delivered by a unique voice that’s keeping things fresh. Bird’s rhythmic, almost rapped lyrical delivery over the top of an arrangement of mostly acoustic instruments is a real treat and a breath of afresh air. I stumbled upon this by accident and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard in awhile; as an added bonus, this single also has a B-Side AND C-Side that are just as cool!

Lucy Rose – “Conversation”

What a serene experience this song is: a plaintive piano and strings arrangement with brooding lyrics and haunting vocal harmonies to tie it all together. In its final verse, it turns macabre, almost sinister with the addition of delightfully unsettling synth. I haven’t heard of Lucy Rose other than this song but “Conversation” holds a lot of promise.

Westlife – “Hello My Love”

Where do I even begin with this? First of all, who decided we needed more Westlife? Why did they record new music instead of just doing a greatest hits tour? More importantly, who on earth is listening to Westlife these days besides Irish women who grew up fawning over them in the 90s? The song itself is fine but completely indistinguishable from modern boy bands. We’ve moved on, boys. I was hoping you would have too.

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