2018 has brought with it the usual pie in the sky pledges, New Year’s resolutions doomed before they even start, and a renewed sense of optimism about the world. Well… No matter the fate of the latter, there’s still music, right? Three weeks into the first month of the year and 2018 has already thrown up some weird, wonderful and promising releases:

Justin Timberlake – ‘Supplies’

Since announcing his new album ‘Man of the Woods’, pop’s former kingpin has confounded the world, firstly with comeback single ‘Filthy’, a gritty dub-funk track that showed only glimpses of the signature Timberlake vocal cadences we’ve grown used to.
New single ‘Supplies’ startles even more, the video laying the social issues on thick; ‘end racism now’ placards, images of Harvey Weinstein flashing across TV screens, #MeToo – It’s all there. But where the song feels heavy-handed in its attempt to plop JT headfirst into 2018’s social conversation, it makes up for it by being catchy and at times downright entertaining (Timberlake flashing a nonchalant semi-smile while hanging off the roof of a speeding car, anyone?). This bizarre trap-pop track leaves us none the wiser as to what Timberlake’s first album in five years will resemble.

5/10

Kid Wave – ‘Twenty-Four’

As a young person, it’s always good to hear the honesty of someone your age who hasn’t got it all worked out. ‘Twenty-Four’ is the latest single from Swedish band, a more brooding and reflective track which retains the rockier edges of the group. Refreshingly simple (the drum track is the same GarageBand beat used in the demo), ‘Twenty-Four’ bemoans singer Lea Emmery’s frustrations of reaching an age people view as too old to screw up (‘Am I too old for my mistakes?’).

8/10

Jack White – ‘Connected by Love’

Jack White’s music is heading in a curious direction. The rawness and simplicity that The White Stripes had back in the day was replaced by an expansive, more indulgent and sound on both of his subsequent solo albums. 2014’s ‘Lazaretto’ was a solid record whose occasional indulgences were reigned in by some well-balanced tracks.
‘Connected by Love’, from White’s upcoming album ‘Boarding House Reach’, seems to strip away most of what is best about his music; the song is devoid of punchy guitar riffs, clever quips and a clear direction; instead what we hear is a witless chorus about being ‘connected by love’, a lifeless guitar solo and mis-fitting drums. A dispiriting return.

4/10

Preoccupations – ‘Espionage’

Canadian band Preoccupations release their third record, inspiringly titled ‘New Material’, in March, and its first single shows the band threatening to sound more anguished and discomforted than ever.
Low baritone vocals, quavering synth and industrial sounding delays fuel a charged up post-punk track, its chorus sounding almost like a doomed battle chant (‘Falling out/We are bound/Shreds of doubt/Sinking all the way down’).

8/10

Reykjavíkurdætur – Hvað er málið

Icelandic hip hop collective Reykjavíkurdætur (Daughters of Reyjkavik) are making waves in a burgeoning Icelandic rap scene with their boisterous, fierce style and lyrics, tackling all sorts of stereotypes with their entourage of performers (they have between 15 and 20 members!).
‘Hvað er málið’ (‘What is the Matter?’) has all the things you’d want in a hip hop video: fur jackets, copious amounts of alcohol and even a copy of David Hasselhoff’s autobiography. Rock and roll.

7/10

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