#NewMusicFriday: ‘I See Love’ by Jonas Blue feat. Joe Jonas

It’s Jonas-meet-Jonas as DNCE frontman Joe Jonas joins forces with tropical house hitmaker Jonas Blue on I See Love, taken from the Hotel Transylvania 3 soundtrack.

With the animated sequel being called Summer Vacation, it’s fitting that the team at Sony called on Blue to produce a summer single to accompany the movie. Mix this in with the funk typical of Joe Jonas and you move into your usual, commercial pop track. However, that is not to say that this latest collaboration isn’t at all enjoyable.

While previous singles such as Alien and Rise have seen the Essex DJ and producer flex his tropical house music muscles, I See Love sees him explore a new genre entirely. If you’re a Joe Jonas fan, then you’ll definitely enjoy this song, as it sounds more like a DNCE single than a Jonas Blue one. It’s alright for those like myself who will happily settle for typical funk pop, but for those who expected another single with tropical house at the forefront, then they may be disappointed.

In terms of the main hook, it’s the mixture of Joe’s chanting vocals and the underlying, refined bass notes which give the song its catchiness. Outside the realms of the chorus, the rhythm of the lyrics in verses follows the same off-beat pace throughout. Although this is both ideal and typical of this genre of music, if there’s the opportunity for experimentation with the speed of the vocals, then it feels somewhat lazy to have the same sound running all the way through. Sure, it may help with the song’s memorability, but it’s not the most creative.

Despite the criticisms, I See Love sits comfortably within this week’s new music playlists, but as your traditional pop track. If you’re looking for a casual, commercial sound and an easy dance track, then this is it.

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Musical Discovery: ‘Find Our Way’ by Midnight Kids feat. klei

Slowly but surely, a more relaxed form of dance music with a euphoric feel is making a resurgence, and Midnight Kids are certainly helping to bring it back with their atmospheric hit Find Our Way.

Having made a name for themselves already with huge remixes of tracks from the likes of The Chainsmokers and The Temper Trap, the DJing duo are now switching over to production with the release of their debut single.

In keeping with the pair’s remixing style, Find Our Way is quickly establishes a chilled tone in the verses, sticking to soft piano chords and a controlled beat in order to allow the vocalist (in this case, up-and-coming singer klei) to shine through and guide the listener to a loud and ecstatic chorus.

After some trap in the build-up, the track descends into galactic electronica full of intriguing synth sound effects, yet it’s the pulsing chords and bass lingering underneath the vocals and melody which deliver the subtle kick to this single.

Capturing a sense of mystery and intrigue with lingering instrumentals, Midnight Kids certainly live up to their name with this chilled dance debut.

Find Our Way is available now on Spotify and Apple Music.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Glass Mansion’ by Elephante

The second EP from American DJ and producer Elephante (real name Tim Wu) contains songs as delicate as the record title itself. Glass Mansion, following on from the artist’s 2016 debut I Am the Elephante, seems to adopt a more stripped-back sound whilst still preserving the electric grit and punch of the previous release.

It’s a sound which was hinted by singles such as Troubled and Come Back for You, switching pulsating  synths for smooth guitar melodies. With that being said, the chill vibes of Plans appear throughout the EP, and the grungy Black Ivory instrumental gets a follow-up in the form of Red Smoke.

Come Back for You opens up the EP with smooth guitar, dramatic fanfare and marimba alongside soulful vocals courtesy of Matluck. It’s a song which feels somewhat selfish lyric-wise, working with the instrumentals to give off a sense of loud, bold bravado. It’s certainly a strong introduction to the nine-track release.

Contrast this with the following three songs, and the record becomes more reflective. Have It All featuring Elephante regular Nevve (from Catching On and Sirens on the previous record) comes with a slightly harsher feel no doubt compounded by deep, hazy synths. It’s a return to true Phante grit, but unlike previous tracks, the instrumentals are saved for the hook. Soft verses pour out emotional messages before being bolstered by expressive choruses which, although not your traditional party sound, bring with them a feeling of calm euphoria.

Off the back of perfect seaside track The In Between, Wu returns to the mic to sing alongside singer Knightly on the bouncy All Over Again – the layered vocals seeming to cleverly represent the frustrations of two individuals stuck in a complicated relationship.

Yet, it’s the fifth track of the EP, No Room for Lovers, which is perhaps the most significant. Not only does it serve as the beginning of a new emotional mindset across the remainder of the record, but it also strikes listeners as being the most ‘out there’ in terms of Elephante’s typical sound.

Completely devoid of any electronica, this track – featuring female vocalist Crystal – instead adopts plucky guitar and a fluid drum beat to give it a boisterous, confident groove. It’s your traditional sassy funk hit, and it sure as hell embraces that.

After Red Smoke serves up an expressive instrumental break, the final three songs of the EP become increasingly reflective, uploading and upbeat in nature, concluding an emotional arc present across the nine tracks.

In a series of tweets on Twitter, Wu said the EP is about “the journey of finding grace and happiness in a half-built home” and over the course of the record, the producer takes a creative and imaginative approach to this concept whilst also fleshing out a new stripped back style.

If his debut I Am the Elephante was the weekend party record, then Elephante’s Glass Mansion is the EP for chilled evenings.

Rating: 4/5

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Just Got Something’ by Codeko feat. Alex Winston

Lyrically speaking, it has the traditional make-up of a summer dance song. Cue vague and confusing lyrics about something romantic or some unorthodox relationship. Yet, it’s the instrumental elements of Codeko and Alex Winston’s Just Got Something which gives this track an edge.

A fluid, off-beat drum beat allows for some interesting experimentation with pace and tempo throughout the song, Winston’s soft vocals often overlapping with the snappy snare drum. It’s this bouncy rhythm already established at the start of the song which lends itself to the track’s build-up, working alongside pulsing, hazy synth to create suspense before the main hook.

The melody itself clearly establishes what sort of vibe the song wanted to go for. Pronounced synth notes which sound somewhat like trumpets allude to a carnival tone, complete with an electronic fanfare. Mix that with a punchy drum beat and you have something a lot more interesting…

Just Got Something is available now, both on Spotify and Apple Music.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ by Sam Calver (Jack Wins Remix)

As much as a remix can breathe life into a piece of music, it can also cut free the structural restraints of the original. With his take on up-and-coming artist Sam Calver’s Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, Jack Wins creates new ground for a summery hit.

On the original, Calver experiments with the flow of his vocals underneath a slight trap beat. While at times the weaving of lyrics around the relaxed tempo brings with it a creative flair, it does sound rather disjointed and has this rather ‘tight’ sound to it. There’s a sense of the vocals wanting to explore a new rhythm, but the track’s instrumentals are holding Calver back. Cue Dutch DJ Jack Wins spicing things up a bit.

With new backing piano chords moulding around the vocals, there’s much more room for Calver’s voice to take centre stage with a more anthemic edge. From stabs supporting the higher ends of his vocal range, Wins’ traditional club sound in the second verse works well with the lyrics, giving a much grittier feel to Sam’s sound. Through Jack’s creativity, we finally get a track which feels unrestrained and liberated – a feeling which translates well into the minds of listeners when giving this club track a spin.

Jack Wins’ remix of Don’t Tell Me You Love Me is available to listen to now on Spotify and Apple Music.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Drink About’ by Seeb feat. Dagny

It’s been nearly three years since the Norwegian DJ trio Seeb shot into the spotlight with their hit remix of I Took A Pill in Ibiza. What followed was a string of collaborations on remixes and original tracks – the group working with the likes of One Republic and Ocean Park Standoff – before last month, the hitmakers finally announced the launch of their debut EP.

Nice to Meet You is out on 20 April, but today saw the release of the first single from the record – Drink About, featuring fellow Norwegian, Dagny.

Once again, Seeb’s traditional, bouncy synths shine through underneath a steady rhythm – a style which has sadly become a bit too repetitive after a lengthy back catalogue from the group, yet still strikes a unique tone with calming piano chords in the verses which make Drink About a more laid-back release.

Although the instrumental backdrop to the track may appear all too familiar, it’s usually the vocal structure of the song which tends to deliver the fresh sound. In this case, Dagny – another artist close to their big music breakthrough.

Like Paloma Faith but without the slight raspiness, the 27-year-old experiments with the flow of lyrics in a playful manner, moving seamlessly between controlled, soft vocals and smooth high notes on this anti-love song.

Packed full of the typical characteristics of a Seeb hit, Drink About easily falls into the uniform structure of the Norwegian group’s previous works, yet somehow also generates a calmer pace unlike remixes such as Lost Boys and Rich Love.

If the lead single is ever demonstrative of the full picture of an EP, then there’s a chance we could see more relaxed tones in addition to club hits when Nice To Meet You is out in two weeks’ time.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Dreamer’ by Axwell Λ Ingrosso

Over five years since the DJ trio Swedish House Mafia announced their split, group members Axwell and Ingrosso have done a good job of filling the SHM-shaped hole in the world of EDM. This time, the pair return with a more reserved dance track in the form of Dreamer.

Whilst tracks like Something New and Dream Bigger have taken the more loud and bombastic route, their latest single – taken from their album More Than You Know – maintains the same anthemic vocals in a rather low-key fashion. In a sense, it’s a song which lacks the traditional punch of a busy dance hit. Whether that it is a good or bad thing in the context of Dreamer is up for debate.

Such an indication comes with the central drop of the track – something which is somewhat underwhelming when one considers the build-up beforehand. Layered with impassioned vocals centre-stage from Trevor Guthrie, a hint of the main melody and additional tones to back it up, it’s an assortment which suggests a hard-hitting hook…

The end result? A descent into a trap-like beat which, although an interesting change of style, feels disappointing until the listener plays the track several times and know what’s coming. The aforementioned elements remain, but it still feels like there’s something missing. It’s almost like the horn-like synths push the song forward, whilst the simplistic drum groove holds it back. Whilst the musical ‘tug-of-war’ may sound like an interesting concept to play with, it just leaves the listener in this weird state of limbo, unsure if this is one of those chill trap tracks or – at a stretch – an unconventional club hit.

The former is what I’ve come to accept Dreamer as being. It’s alluded to with the soft piano chords in the opening, and a slightly orchestral-style interlude in the middle of the song, but it’s not long before this atmosphere is lost to the chorus.

For me, it’s not the first song to fall victim to a delayed fondness. Initially, Something New, the soundtrack to a weekend with friends in February last year, caught my attention with its almost guitar-like melody, but something still felt underwhelming. It was only months later that whatever dissatisfaction I felt went away. On this occasion with Dreamer, the time it took for me to appreciate the change in style was shorter. Yet, in such a judgemental music climate, it shouldn’t have to be down to the third or fourth listen for it all to suddenly click – however replayable a song may be.

Despite feeling stripped back in areas, Dreamer is an interesting change Axwell Λ Ingrosso’s dance style, and in parts of the single where things may feel rather flat, that’s where the remixs – as always – can step in to inject new life into it.

Those should be interesting…