#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.


Musical Discovery: ‘Disconnect’ by Clean Bandit & Marina

For some people, seeing the name Marina next to Clean Bandit is a pleasant surprise. Not least because the single in question – Disconnect – first debuted two years ago at Coachella, but also because it was in 2015 that the Hollywood singer last released some music.

Now, she joins forces with Jack Patterson of the classical-pop trio to produce a song that’s finally graced our song libraries in full studio quality.

Almost following the template of Symphony (Clean Bandit’s collaboration with Zara Larsson), soft vocals and piano chords can be heard at the start of the song – the appearance of the latter instrument being no surprise given that Jack is the band’s pianist.

It a sound which is reminiscent of Rather Be, Extraordinary and Real Love. It builds on the success of Symphony to deliver another track which balances the classical and electronic aspects of the band’s style perfectly, complete with yet another soulful vocalist.

As mentioned previously, Marina’s last musical venture was two years ago. Since the release of her debut album, The Family Jewels, in 2010, the 31-year-old is yet to score a number one single (2012’s Primadonna being the closest at No. 11). Hot off the success of Rockabye and Symphony, a collaboration with Clean Bandit could be the song that takes her all the way to the top spot.

Musical Discovery: ‘Stronger’ by Clean Bandit

Last week’s Musical Discovery was Clean Bandit’s cover of Show Me Love, taken from the special edition of their debut album, New Eyes. Today’s Musical Discovery is their new track, Stronger, also taken from the special edition.

(The track has no official video or recording yet.)

The song itself begins with a melody that starts on-beat before going off-beat. As a listener, this can be both confusing and intriguing, but the song later reverts back to an on-beat rhythm.

For fans of Clean Bandit, Stronger is very similar to their number one single, Rather Be, containing feel good piano riffs, the occasional flurry of violin solos and soulful vocals.

However, I felt as though the song comes to a rather abrupt finish, with the tune stopping altogether. Unlike Rather Be and Extraordinary, there is no slow pause. But overall, the song is another single which adds to their collection of chart hits.

What do you think of this song? Comment below!


Musical Discovery: ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

After hearing the song being played before, and seeing it on TV, I immediately began to develop a liking for the band Clean Bandit, as well as the vocals provided by Jess Glynne. The song itself starts with beautifully constructed violin solos, which at first seems unusual for an electronic dance track, but soon set a really feel-good emotion.

Then comes the synthesiser melodies along with Glynne’s vocals, which give a unique feel to the track, and add to the upbeat emotions communicated. When it comes to the chorus, pianos and violins are reintroduced to give a soulful part of the track. It is this which stands out as the moments of soul are separate from the upbeat verses, making the song become a great combination of melodies.

As for the video, my personal opinion leads to me thinking it is very similar to Bastille’s Pompeii music video, as both see an individual run away from people with crazy-looking eyes. Regardless, the video also links with the overall feel-good tone set.

The song has a predicted release date of the 19th January for those in the UK, and it is likely that it will be a huge hit in the charts when it is released.

In the meantime, I thoroughly suggest listening to it, and getting it when it’s out!