My Spotify Release Radar Five: February 15, 2020

Release Radar is a playlist of new music created by Spotify and based on your personal taste. I have widely ignored it in the past but in the interest of constantly discovering new music, I have decided to regularly start engaging with it. For this feature, I listen to the first five songs listed on the playlist and provide some feedback on each track.

Morrissey, “Love Is On Its Way Out”

Morrissey remains one of my favourite music artists despite everything. Yet, with his new album, I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, due to be released soon, I am fatigued by his dramatic rock sound of these past few years. I dream of a more mellow Morrissey, where he embraces a style more suited to intimacy and smaller venues. In fact, the most exciting part of his new single, “Love Is On Its Way Out,” is easily the arpeggio interlude that precedes the explosive finale. Not even the lyrics have anything new to say.

King Krule, “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag You”

I love this languid style of King Krule, making already a second appearance on my Release Radar features. King Krule was my favourite discovery of last year, when I fortuitously came across a performance of “Easy, Easy” at the David Letterman Show from years ago. Since then, I have been fascinated with his melting pot of styles. “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag You” presents a haunting sound, driven by slowly strummed guitars. The lyrics are wonderfully enigmatic and the video that accompanies it, which finds the singer/songwriter/producer burning at the stake, just as compelling.

Alicia Keys, “Time Machine” feat. Cedric Gervais

Time has been good to Alicia Keys, as her status by longevity seems to have made her somewhat of a spokesperson for the American recording industry – a fact proven by her hosting the GRAMMYs this year. The new singles from her upcoming album A.L.I.C.I.A. seem promising, though the sound seems to fall just short of mainstream. Perhaps this Cedric Gervais remix of “Time Machine” is an attempt to increase its exposure in the clubs and it has a greater sense of urgency. But I still find the groove and vibes of the slower original song better.

Rita Pavone, “Niente (Resilienza 74)”

As a young vocalist, Italian Rita Pavone’s tomboyish look made her seem quietly androgynous and rebellious. Yet, most of her well-known songs are ballads, and this considerably softened her image. At the age of 74, she now showcases more raw energy than arguably ever before on a new song, “Niente (Resilienza 74),” written by her son. It seems to be a late rebirth for her as a rocker and she certainly seems to have the voice to back up this claim. It will be interesting to see whether an entire LP of this type of music can be as successful and noteworthy.

Diplo, “Heartless” feat. Morgan Wallen and Julia Michaels

American DJ Diplo released last year a collaborative project with country star, Morgan Wallen. A year later, they release a remixed version of “Heartless,” which finds Wallen dueting with vocalist Julia Michaels. The modern country-pop vibes of the track are still there and the melody is quite catchy. Musically, the two versions would be quite similar but while I am not the biggest fan of her diction, Michaels brings a more engrossing theatricality to the song. Yep, I really like this song.

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