A new week means a new round of records, some festive as we hop into December, and some plain ol’ bangers. Miley Cyrus is finally back with her much anticipated newest album Plastic Hearts, which just exudes bad bitch energy, Rina Sawayama returns with her new single ‘LUCID’, and Bille Joe Armstrong has released his lockdown covers collection, No Fun Mondays. And of course, we’ve got some Christmas tunes thrown in the mix as well!
TUNE OF THE WEEK: Miley Cyrus ft. Billy Idol – ‘Night Crawling’
‘Night Crawling’ is the intense Miley tune I’ve always wanted. AND it has a feature from Billy Idol. Honestly what more could you want.
‘Night Crawling’ is heavy from the very start, with a hard synthy backing tune that’s later combined with the more rocky sounds of electric guitar and snare drums. It sounds almost like ‘White Wedding’, very fitting considering Idol’s feature. It’s definitely a headbanger, ESPECIALLY with that great cutting chorus line of ‘Night crawling/ Sky falling/ Gotta listen when the devil’s calling’, and makes you feel like you’re in some cyberpunk 80s rock dreamworld with it’s pairing of dance synth and the rock-screamo vocals. Not to mention, Idol and Cyrus’ voices work brilliantly together, their intensity overlapping and joining together to make you feel properly hyped up.
To put it bluntly, this is just a damn good tune. It’s heavy, intense, catchy, and a new take on Miley’s work that excites me to no end.
‘Night Crawling’ is available to listen to now via RCA Records.
Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts
Plastic Hearts is finally here guys. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this album forever because I’ve been SO EXCITED for it to arrive, and it’s FINALLY HERE, and damn, did Miley deliver.
Slamming straight out the gate with the banger that is ‘WTF Do I Know’, Cyrus sets us up from the get-go the punkier side to her artistry. It’s hard, it’s fast, it’s rock. Cyrus is angry, and that anger leeches into you, making you feel powerful; like you could do anything, whether that be brave your next trip to the shops or disassemble the patriarchy. We follow on to more hard tunes, like ‘Plastic Hearts’, ‘Gimme What I Want’, and ‘Prisoner’ (feat. Dua Lipa), before we hit my favourite of the album, ‘Night Crawling’. Cyrus’ album is littered with great collabs from rock artists, fuelling this hard rock vibe; we’ve got Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks, all serving power and talent.
I will say, however, that the latter half of the album is nowhere near as strong as the first. The first half of the album makes you want to don a leather jacket, some big chunky boots, and go smash a car window; the second half is more like the comedown afterward. Also, I’m going to say it: even though I am a DIE-HARD Stevie Nicks fan, the remix of ‘Midnight Sky’ with ‘Edge of Seventeen’ was nowhere near needed. Why not just have an original Stevie Nicks feature on a remix of ‘Midnight Sky’, without bringing ‘Edge of Seventeen’ in it? Of course, the covers at the end of the album are brilliant. ‘Heart of Glass’ has easily got to be one of my top played songs of the year so far. The slower songs in the latter half are still great, don’t get me wrong, with ‘High’ and ‘Never Be Me’ being personal faves, but they just don’t deliver on the hard rock energy that the first half of the album does with great gusto.
Plastic Hearts is available to listen to now via RCA Records. Check out ‘Midnight Sky’ down below.
Billie Joe Armstrong – No Fun Mondays
Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has been steadily releasing covers of songs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in a charming series he coined ‘No Fun Mondays’. Now, he’s finally released them all in one big collection.
Amongst the big bangers like ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, ‘Kids in America’, and ‘Manic Monday’, (that Armstrong covers to perfection), there are some lesser-known covers as well. Described by Armstrong himself as a way to coax people into listening to some ‘rarer’ tunes, with tracks like ‘Corpus Christi’, ‘That Thing You Do!’, and ‘You Can’t Wrap Your Arms Around a Memory’, No Fun Mondays does a great job at both allowing the listener to relive some well-known tunes as if you’re listening to them for the first time, as well as introducing you to some great tracks you wouldn’t have ever come across otherwise. It’s got that classic heavy punk Green Day sound, and of course, Armstrong’s killer guitar skills.
To put it simply, this is just a good collection of covers. Armstrong doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with his renditions of these classic tunes, but the album is still certainly enjoyable, and I’m always down to listen to anything to do with Green Day.
No Fun Mondays is available now via Reprise Records. Check out ‘Manic Monday’ down below.
Rina Sawayama – ‘LUCID’
I am most definitely not alone when I say that in the past year I’ve kind of fallen in love with Rina Sawayama, namely because of her KILLER album, SAWAYAMA (that was ROBBED at the Grammys, but we move). ‘LUCID’ is yet another great dance track from the Japanese-British singer-songwriter.
‘LUCID’ opens up with some reverberating synth beats, letting you know from the get go that you’re in for something good. The bass lowers, and Sawayama’s vocals come in, rising over the backing track to truly show off her range. The winning note for the song for me, however, is the layering of Sawayama’s high vocals over a shorter, lower lyric in the chorus, creating a pleasant sound all around. The dance beat is simple but catchy, irresistable to bop along to.
‘LUCID’ appears on the deluxe edition of SAWAYAMA, released only a couple days ago, and follows the same theme of the new additions to the tracklist of a more dance-pop sound. Although definitely a heavier dance track than that of SAWAYAMA in my opinion, I wholeheartedly embrace this club sound that Sawayama is putting out. It’s giving me major ‘Rain on Me’ vibes (unsurprising as it’s produced by Bloodpop, Lady Gaga‘s producer), with Sawayama’s vocals over the lower heavier bass track, and all in all I just think it’s a good dance track.
‘LUCID’ is available to listen to now via Dirty Hit.
Alanis Morissette – ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the UK population is familiar with John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s Christmas tune, ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Since it’s 1971 release, it’s become a staple Christmas classic, covered by numerous artists of a plethora of genres. The newest addition to this collection is Alanis Morissette‘s version.
Morissette doesn’t change the atmosphere of the song, still keep the choir, big drums, and bells, merely singing the vocals against the classic backing track. In my opinion, this is how this song SHOULD be covered; the backing track alone is great, and doesn’t need changing just for the sake of it sounding ‘different’. Morisette has what I would call a ‘classic’ voice. The almost nasal tone of her Canadian accent that comes through in her vocals makes her sound very Joni-Mitchell-esque, so her voice sounds like it comes straight out of the 70s. As such, she’s a near perfect fit for this tune, especially considering her impressive vocal range, which she is happy to flex.
Although my favourite cover of this remains the John Legend version from 2019 (even if it’s not a traditional remake of it, it’s just great okay), Alanis Morissette’s new addition is nothing to turn your nose up at.
‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ is available to listen to now via Sony Music.
Other Selected Releases
Frock Destroyers – ‘Her Majesty’
King Princess – ‘Pain’
Arlo Parks – ‘Caroline’
3OH!3 – ‘Kissletoe’
Sam Fender – ‘Winter Song’
YUNGBLUD – ‘Mars’
Sam Fischer – ‘For Now’
Liam Gallgaher – ‘All You’re Dreaming Of’
Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr
Gary Barlow – Music Played by Humans
Amy Winehouse – The Collection
Bad Bunny – El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo
Steps – What the Future Holds
This Week in Records: Playlist Edition
Need a weekly music fix of all the songs you should care about? We’ve made a super handy playlist of all this week’s biggest releases, so just sit back and listen to the good stuff. Updated every Sunday.