Another week, another One Direction solo artist attempts to cash in on his own singularity. Unfortunately for Liam Payne, he’s no Harry Styles, so we’ll just skip over him to the good stuff.
Muse – Dig Down
After 2015’s Drones, and finally being able to see Muse live, I was convinced of the fact that Muse would never be the same band they once were, grinding away at subdued space rock in stuff like “” and “”. Sure, with the grandiose production of NAME and NAME, Muse transcended the satellites they once gazed upon from down on Earth and vaulted themselves into the arenas they so richly deserved to play. Unfortunately for some original fans of their work, it lent a certain air of disconnection. The production was too overdone in some tracks, and while the lyrics were always snappy, it wasn’t until Drones that they reminded me once again of what great music they could create. It looked like they were beginning to return to that subdued sound. Here, though, they seem to be taking a step in the opposite direction. It’s not horrible, but what do they expect when they allow the chorus to merely be a repetitive yelp bellowing from Matt Bellamy’s throat? The guitar does them no service either, whining and grinding distortion mechanically, like a spaceship working its way through the sky. The overproduction returns, and don’t even get me started on the strangely suggestive title. Strange all around, I have to hope they’ll improve on their next single, and this will merely be a blip on a well done album.
Land of Talk – Life After Youth
What an unexpected surprise it was to find out that Land of Talk, a band I enjoyed in college, was returning with a new album. Back in 2002, their debut album Some Are Lakes set me on a path towards shoegazing pop that found me falling in love with other similar bands like Silversun Pickups, The Head and the Heart, Matt and Kim, Sleigh Bells and Chvrches. To say this is the godfather of them all is understated, at least for my musical journey. Well, with Life After Youth, they’ve returned to form. Singer Elizabeth Powell’s ambient vocals power the fuzz and guides down a river of noise-pop dreams. Much like Grandaddy’s recent return, Land of Talk feels like an old friend that came back for a visit and it feels like no time has passed at all.
Key Tracks: Spiritual Intimidation / This Time / Heartcore
Selena Gomez – Bad Liar
I was ready to dive into what apparently is a frontrunner for ‘song of the summer,’ Crying in the Club by Camila Cabello. Before that, I started with another new single by Selena Gomez, Bad Liar. Now, I had long dismissed Gomez as another manufactured Disney darling, a money machine for the Mouse that would eventually fade away, leaving us with distant memories only of her fling with Justin Bieber. Luckily, that’s not the case, and I’ve been proven very wrong. Bad Liar should have been the hit crowned a full month before summer even starts, as Gomez’s staccato chorus pumps you up and lets you down roughly when you realize the shade dwelling beneath the words. Gomez hasn’t stopped pulling the punches since her equally decadent hit Can’t Keep My Hands to Myself from two years ago. I have to say, Selena may be the real deal, and even though I must be jumping on the train long after it left the station, this may continue her run of star charting singles.
Come back next week for the newest from Shakira, Bleachers and Halsey!