#NewMusicFriday: ‘Always In Between’ by Jess Glynne

Although diverse and wide-ranging, the Hold My Hand singer’s sophomore release is generic, pandering pop which for the most part lacks impact and distinction – ★★★

There was something promising about Always In Between. With just under half of the tracklist for Glynne’s debut being taken up by singles we’d heard before, the new sounds of I Cry When I Laugh were overshadowed by the déjà vu of the old. Her follow-up was destined to be fresh, unheard of and a continued exploration of new directions for the London musician, yet the end result was a lot more underwhelming.

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian sums up the mediocre nature of the album well in his review. The second album should always offer a sense of progression, which Always In Between offers, albeit through the popular vocal styles and musical genres of the day. There’s ballads such as Insecurities for the Adele fans, while Never Let Me Go blends the Sheeran-esque guitar melodies with the harsh trap which has been dominating pop music lately.

Once again, it’s the singles which pack the punch on the record. Hit-makers Rudimental make These Days a vibrant summer jam, while talented singer-songwriter Frances lends a helping hand on the stripped-back pop track All I Am. 123 has a sense of soulful familiarity to it that we’ve probably heard before, while I’ll Be There has hard-hitting drums and catchy yodel-like vocals. The final single, Thursday – released a day before the album – is a refreshing, soft track away from the usual vibrant, loud sounds.

Glynne’s portfolio of hits is testament that there’s a winning formula there somewhere working with a phenomenal voice, yet Always In Between lets this descend to a point of disappointing blandness. It’s a comfortable background listen, but for a voice like Glynne’s, it should be one which commands your attention.

Always In Between is available now.

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Musical Discovery: Jess Glynne, Example and Twenty-One Pilots!

Last week saw me discover some great new music. Through tweets by BBC Radio 1 and V Festival, I stumbled across the latest track by Jess Glynne. Then, on YouTube, I noticed that Example has a new song out too. Lastly, when YouTuber Carrie Hope Fletcher uploaded a cover of House of Gold, I was able to find the original version by Twenty-One Pilots.

So without further ado, here are this week’s three Musical Discoveries!

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne

The latest release by Jess Glynne, Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, follows a string of successful chart hits. These include collaborations with Clean Bandit (Rather Be and Real Love) as well as tracks such as Right Here, My Love and the recent release, Hold My Hand.

With the track containing vibrant piano chords and a soulful final verse, fans of Glynne would be right that the track has a colourful and emotive feel similar to that of Hold My Hand, and the style of Clean Bandit.

Overall, it’s another great track from the singer. The track is well developed, allowing Jess to show off her vocal talents, and then, the song ends well with a laid-back version of the song’s recognisable chorus. It looks set to be a number one hit when it is released in August.

On a separate note, the music video fits well with the track. As a drummer myself, it was fair to say that it was fun to watch!

Whisky Story by Example

After his 2014 album, Live Life Living, musician Example (real name Elliot Gleave) is back with a new track called Whisky Story, which contains a new style of music for the artist known for floor-fillers.

Beginning with soulful vocals which don’t sound like Example’s, the track’s opening is likely to surprise fans expectant of a powerful and driving dance beat which appears in tracks such as Won’t Go Quietly, Kickstarts and Kids Again.

However, Whisky Story contains a clever balance of rapping and singing in its verses to appeal to fans. Both vocal styles seem to fit in perfectly with the bass guitar riff and drum beat. Then the verses slowly, but effectively, fade into the track’s chorus.

But whilst the chorus is catchy and memorable, the latest track from Example’s upcoming album is disappointing, with the opportunity to dance to a deep bass groove only becoming available towards the end of the song.

House of Gold by Twenty-One Pilots

In the past, I’ve only ever listened to country tracks when I stumbled across Train’s Drive By and Hey Soul Sister a few years ago. Now, I was able to find a track with similar, upbeat ukulele melodies – House of Gold by Twenty-One Pilots.

Straight away the song begins with a colourful ukulele introduction alongside the song’s simplistic but catchy chorus. Shortly afterwards, a second ukulele is added which makes the chorus just as memorable.

Another part of the song which also makes it memorable is the melody which flows through the song throughout. As well as this, the track is cleverly developed as the song progresses. In particular, a driving drum beat is introduced early on in the track, before turning into an off-beat rhythm towards the end.

As for the ending itself, the rather laid-back conclusion to the song is fitting. However, that is not to say that the song does not have some issues or surprises. The screaming of the lyrics “become someone” is a bit unexpected for a country song. Lastly, the ending melody also feels unusual, with the final note feeling unsatisfactory in my opinion.

What do you think of these three tracks? Which is your favourite? Comment below!

Liam