Summer is over and while the warm weather seems to be sticking around, Winter is coming. But, what was the music that kept us going through the summer months whether at home or the festivals? The IndustryMe team comes together once again with their best song and album of the last quarter.
Kloe Paton (Writer)
U.K. raps’ favourite villain and the African Giant stamp yet another collaborative effort into the ground with another almighty hit. Not unlike collabs ‘Play Play‘ or ‘Sekkle Down‘ that came before it, ‘Masculine‘ strikes a balance that so many strive for. It’s got the slick lyricism of a respectable rap track, but with the energy and melodic brilliance to be a radio favourite. J Hus continues to write future-platinum singles in his sleep.
Best Album: Diddy–The Love Album: Off The Grid
I’m probably cheating by labeling this as the best album of the last quarter, as Diddy pulls together a DJ Khaled-esque R’n’B roster so illustrious that he can’t really miss.
The N.Y. legend orchestrates odd pairings (French Montana and The Weeknd, or Herb Alpert and The-Dream) while blending classic with current. True to his A&R roots, Diddy lets new artists shine on his sentimental album dedicated to living and lost loves.
Who else pulls together Jazmine Sullivan, Busta Rhymes, Teyana Taylor, Mary J. Blige, and Babyface on the same album? We get it Diddy, you’re the bad boy for life.
Esme Watson (Writer)
Best Song: Taylor Swift – Dear John (Taylor’s Version)
My favourite song from this quarter has to be ‘Dear John (Taylor’s Version)’ from the re-release of Taylor Swift’s breathtaking album, ‘Speak Now’. Growing up, Taylor’s music has always been a constant in my life, hence why I have felt so nostalgic and excited by hearing these tracks for the first time, again.
Ultimately I have picked this track because this song talks candidly about her experience with romance at such a young age. Although, now we get to hear it sounding more like a cover. It illustrates how far she has come from the first release, whilst noting how she has not only taken back the rights to her music, but the rights to be celebrated as an artist.
Best Album: Olivia Rodrigo – GUTS
Choosing a favourite album of this quarter has proved a lot easier than expected. I have already written my review of this album, but it still needs to be talked about. My favourite part about ‘GUTS‘ in its entirety is its inward look at all things that come with girlhood. Importantly this LP puts Olivia Rodrigo at the forefront of pop music. It is perfected in a way that captures her vulnerability and anger so well.
In addition to being a step up sonically for Olivia, it is a project that pays homage to the music she loves and relates to. Similarly to the 90s girl-power grunge movements in music, Rodrigo can be honest and unmerciful. A definite favourite from this would have to be ‘ballad of a homeschooled girl’. It hits hard with its Hole-like sound and the common awkwardness every teenage girl has felt.
Tara Folkes (Writer)
Best Song: Tone Stith – Smoking In The Park (Paradise)
‘Smoking In The Park (Paradise)‘ serves as the opening track to Tone Stith’s newest EP – ‘P.O.V‘. The track, produced by Kenneth “KP” Paige, is a beautiful and ethereal melody with Tone laying down his soft, silky vocals. The accompanying music video perfectly conveys the song’s narrative as Stith is seen smoking in the park as he waits for his partner to arrive.
Best Album: Victoria Monét – JAGUAR II
Following a number of EP releases over the years, American singer-songwriter Victoria Monét has finally released her first studio album – ‘JAGUAR II‘. Featuring producers D’Mile, Jeff Gitelman, and KAYTRANADA, she has created an R’n’B album for those who miss the sound and style of the 90s and 00s. As a result, this LP manages to balance the old with the new perfectly. Singles ‘Smoke‘ and ‘Party Girls‘ were both well received but it’s the third single ‘On My Mama‘ which definitely stands out – earning her first Billboard Hot 100 hit since 2019.
Peter Wellman (Writer)
Best Single: hemlocke springs – enknee1
Anthemic bedroom pop. I didn’t know it could be done. But hemlocke springs, the moniker of North Carolina-born singer and songwriter Isimeme Naomi Udu has absolutely nailed it. There is a dreamy quality to the arrangement, the triangle hits whilst she sings ‘Anyone out there to love me’ is reminiscent of Owl City. The kicks running through are light and poppy and yet there is a real late night in the car driving with friends feeling to it. There is a real sadness along with hemlocke questioning if she understands that ‘people aren’t puzzles /no/But they puzzle me.’. This is an exciting song from an artist that we can only hope to see more from.
Best Album: Hozier – Unreal Unearth
‘Unreal Unearth‘ is the third outing for Newcastle-born (no not that one) singer and songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne. It is a strong LP, with the standard highs and lows of his projects with some slightly baffling choices. Standouts include the delicate instrumentals on ‘Son of Nyx‘ and the power ballad of ‘Francesca‘. This is a breakup album for those who read or wish they read more. With more influences and a longer time to work on, this feels like the most developed of his studio albums. The folk rock-inspired (and my personal favourite) Anything But pulls together a story of traveling through hell.
While that raw and impassioned quality, drew a large proportion of his early fans this record has fewer of those moments. Those qualities are fewer and further between, but deeper when they hit for instance on fan favourite ‘First Time‘. Lyrics like ‘And the first time that you kissed me / I drank dry the river Lethe,’ are moments of singular beauty within a picturesque and expansive album.
Thomas Atkinson (Editor-in-Chief)
Best Song: Billie Eilish – What Was I Made For?
The Barbie soundtrack had plenty of great music, but it was one of the film’s closing tracks that stood out there and as a whole this quarter. The approach from Billie Eilish is straight to the point, but the beautiful production and emotional delivery grip you. The song’s question also will hit home for many not only in the moment it’s placed in the film but for life as a whole. In times of uncertainty, it is a question we all ask of ourselves and Billie delivers its themes perfectly.
Best Album: Aluna – MYCELiUM
On her second solo LP, Aluna delivered a project full of bangers to get the party started. Collaborating with everyone from TSHA to Tchami, this has a stacked feature list that is all used to the best of their ability. The album celebrates growth and finding yourself, which is the perfect message to dance the night away to. Whether on the anthemic ‘Mine O’ Mine‘ with Jayda G or the bouncy Route 94 collab ‘Underwater‘, there is plenty here to love. If you want an experience that puts the fun into a rave, this is the project for you.