#NewMusicFriday: ‘Perfect to Me’ by Anne-Marie

After a smash debut album and a string of high-profile collaborations, the Essex singer returns with a fresh take on a previous release with the chilled but confident single, Perfect to Me – ★★★★☆

2018 is Anne-Marie’s year. Speak Your Mind was a hit record while her list of featured appearances currently includes the likes of Rudimental, Marshmello and David Guetta. Now the singer-songwriter keeps things rolling with a new version of album track, Perfect.

A sharp, real take on society’s perceptions of perfection and beauty, Perfect to Me has a sassier, more pronounced feel. While the rhythm of the original was staggering and complex, this latest version sounds tight and controlled. The quiet piano is replaced with expressive guitar chords to give it a vibe which fits in with past releases 2002 and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Perfect to Me is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.

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Musical Discovery: ‘FRIENDS’ by Marshmello & Anne-Marie

It’s only three days until the love-fest that is Valentine’s Day, and rather than releasing the typical love song, Marshmello and his latest featured artist Anne-Marie wanted to go down the more anti-romance route with their single, FRIENDS.

Described in the title for the lyric video on YouTube as being the ‘official friendzone anthem’, Anne-Marie’s smooth vocals give the perfect sassy edge to this track for heartbreakers in a style where you can almost sense the smug grin on her face as she sings the lyrics in the recording booth.

Such a vibe isn’t only given off by Anne-Marie, as Marshmello dabbles in a bit of deception. A fluttering and catchy guitar melody creates an intimate, contrasting tone to that of Anne-Marie’s, right before dropping into a dirty trap beat. FRIENDS is a beautiful anti-climax – both instrumentally and vocally – which continues Marshmello’s mellow sound in a fresh, interesting and unexpected way.

Musical Discovery: ‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit (Jack Wins Remix)

Rockabye as Clean Bandit’s latest release built upon this new style the trio had started to create ahead of their next studio album. However, with messy vocal chop-ups, the appearance of ‘love him or hate him’ artist Sean Paul, and it being their first track without Neil Amin-Smith, Clean Bandit’s new song got off to a bumpy start – taking three weeks for the single to make it to number one. Whilst Rockabye is quite calypso and tropical in nature, fans who miss the band’s more pop-sounding style may enjoy a remix by the Dutch DJ, Jack Wins.

 

After all, at the core of the track is a build-up and drop with vibrant piano/synth stabs, which will take listeners all the way back to Clean Bandit’s earlier releases such as Rather Be and Extraordinary. Alongside a fast-paced tempo and bubbly instrumentals, Jack breathes life into Rockabye with a remix full of colour and emotion – which is a refreshing change from the laid-back original.

However, as well as being transformative (including offering an interesting alternative to Sean Paul, with Anne-Marie singing his lines instead), the track remains heavily faithful to the original – with the vocals remaining untouched and a slight hint of strings heard in the original. It’s a version which balances old and new – and that’s exactly what a remix should be.

Overall, Jack Wins’ style is wonderfully up-beat, tapping into the vibrant piano/synth chords trend we see adopted by DJs such as Sigala (Ain’t Giving Up) and MK (Piece of Me). Jack has already been noticed by key DJs and radio stations, and now, with another high-profile remix under his belt – this time in the form of Clean Bandit’s Rockabye – something tells me it won’t be long before Jack Wins makes even bigger waves on the house scene.

Musical Discovery: ‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie

The past few months have had their ups and downs for the electro-classical Clean Bandit. Tears (feat. Louisa Johnson) was a welcome return, but now the band are without one member, after violinist Neil Amin-Smith announced he was leaving the band earlier this month. It’s an absence which has shocked fans, and can be felt when listening to Clean Bandit’s latest single, Rockabye (feat. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie).

Rather Be defined Clean Bandit. Their fusion of violin melodies alongside dance rhythms and synths introduced classical music (well, in a sense) to a new audience. It was a new style of pop, with a sprinkling of an orchestral vibe, which made the single – featuring Jess Glynne – and their debut album such a success.

It’s now 2016, and Clean Bandit join Two Door Cinema Club and other artists by releasing new material with a fresh new tone. Audiences love that: a sense of progression yet similarity. With Tears, there’s a different club-like feel to their electronic style, and the strings make an appearance in the chorus. Yet, apart from the build-up at the start of the song, they’re absent in the verses. It felt less like a 50/50 split between the two musical genres that we can hear on Extraordinary (feat. Sharna Bass) and Real Love (feat. Jess Glynne), with more of a focus placed on the various synth tones Clean Bandit can explore.

If anything, the calypso Rockabye is reminiscent of Come Over, with bouncy synthesiser chords and an offbeat drum rhythm. Yet this time, Sean Paul is on hand to provide the smooth-sounding vocals instead of Stylo G, and he does this alongside Anne-Marie – who offers a more soulful voice in the chorus. Aside from a change in featured artists, the main melody is a funky mishmash of choppy lyrics and a pronounced bass riff. However, strings seem to have taken a step back in Clean Bandit’s latest release.

Granted, this is the band’s first single since Neil’s departure, and that may be part of it, but apart from the fluttering introduction and conclusion, most of the track seems to be more of a tropical pop song as opposed to one which fuses that with orchestral undertones. It was this perfect merging of genres which made Come Over so successful. Whilst Rockabye fits nicely into the rise in tropical music, it feels out of place compared to Clean Bandit’s previous work.

Hopefully future releases see the trio continue to cover new ground in the world of music, whilst returning to a more even split between classical and electronica – the unique blend which helped them to stand out in the first place.

What do you think of Rockabye? Do you like Clean Bandit’s new style? How do you feel about Neil leaving the band? Comment below!

Liam