Salute is a really great album; it’s thematically coherent and uses a carefully chosen range of musical styles (primarily from 90s R&B) that complement those themes. I begin by gushing about Salute in order to make it clear that when I say Get Weird isn’t as good as Salute, that doesn’t mean Get Weird isn’t good. The singles, “Black Magic” and “Love me Like You” are both very fun (especially with their teen-movie pastiche videos), and I like the 80s synth-funk of “Weird People,” too, although I suspect they were going more for Prince than for the Huey Lewis and the News sound they end up with. But it doesn’t have the awe-inspiring focus of Salute; and it’s probably nor coincidence that my favourite track on the new album is the one that’s closest to the sound of their last, “Hair.”
More unexpected Huey Lewis influence on “Never Enough” from the new One Direction album. One Direction do have a highly cohesive musical aesthetic, although it’s kind of a baffling one. I was going to describe it as dadrock, although guessing at the age of 1D’s target audience (early to mid teens?), their dads are presumably 40-ish, so the Sprinsteen and Fleetwood Mac that 1D draw on wouldn’t exactly be their music. The decadent-period-Oasis sound they adopt on “Hey Angel” might be closer, though. However they decided to go for this set of references, the surprising thing is that it totally works. Their new album isn’t anything like as good as Four, but it’s got a few good bangers, including, “Temporary Fix,” and even a good ballad, “Walking in the Wind.”
I guess I’m old enough to find the idea of a 90s nostalgia album faintly weird, but, at least in the case of Grimes’s new record, I quite like it. The tracks I like most are the ones that sound like they’re from the janglier end of grunge (The Lemonheads or Belly, say), like “Flesh without Blood” and “Belly of the Beat.” “Artangels” shifts the 90s references slightly to pop-madchester and, specifically, “Jellyhead” by Byker Grove tie-in act Crush.
And finally, from Cardiff R&B band Baby Queens, a beautiful disco-inflected love song.