NME Radio Roundup 3 October 2022: Stormzy, Arctic Monkeys & Kid Cudi
Last week Stormzy returned with the stellar ‘Mel Made Me Do It’, his first solo single since 2019 opus ‘Heavy Is The Head’. The surprise seven-minute track was accompanied by a staggering, cameo-filled music video, with everyone from sporting legends José Mourinho and Usain Bolt, to musical talents like Little Simz, Headie One and Dave, and even Louis Theroux making an appearance.
‘Mel Made Me Do It’ leads the additions to the NME Radio playlist this week, alongside the latest preview of Arctic Monkeys’ seventh record, the second single off Kid Cudi’s upcoming Netflix feature, and fresh cuts from Beck, Alvvays, Courting, and more.
Check out the latest additions to NME Radio 1 and 2 below:
On the A List:
‘Mel Made Me Do It’
“I been the G.O.A.T. for so long, I guess it’s not exciting when I win / Boo-hoo, someone grab the violins,” so begins Stormzy’s latest track, perfectly encapsulating the effortless charisma and confidence the artist possesses. On the stunning tune, Knox Brown’s exquisite production serves as the perfect backdrop for Stormzy’s regal return: 808 booms impart the beat with necessary power, while echoing strings support the artist’s impressive lyricism. It’s a triumphant return.
Arctic Monkeys return with the confrontational ‘Body Paint’, the second preview of their upcoming seventh record, ‘The Car’. The track assumes a quiet rage, the band tapping once again into their recent fondness for balladry against noticeably pointed lyricism. “For a master of deception and subterfuge / You’ve made yourself quite the bed to lie in,” Alex Turner sings against downtrodden piano chords.
‘Willing To Trust (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)’
Kid Cudi has returned with ‘Willing To Trust’, the second preview of his upcoming album and Netflix special, ‘Entergalactic’. The cut sees Cudi express unadulterated devotion to a partner against a trippy mix of downtempo electronic drums, glacial synthesisers and reversed electric guitar wails, and it’s brilliant.
Indie hero Beck returns with a cover of Neil Young’s 1972 classic, ‘Old Man’. Without any pretence, Beck mellows down with only an acoustic guitar in hand, making sure to nail the signature traits of Young’s music, from the cadence of his guitar playing to the stacked, sun-drenched harmonies of Laurel Canyon’s glory days. The Los Angeles native demonstrates the everlasting relevance of Young’s lyricism, as he echoes the song’s search for genuine connection: “Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you / I need someone to love me the whole day through”.
On the B List:
Jangle pop heroes Alvvays find contentment in the mundane with ‘Belinda Says’, the latest preview of their first album in over four years, ‘Blue Rev’. The track bursts into focus with distorted, undulating guitars, as Molly Rankin sings about the folly of living for cheap thrills (“New dress could turn your head / But how long til we reel it in? / Paradise and I find myself paralyzed”). In a moment of quiet, she tenderly fantasises about a quiet life, (“Moving to the country / Gonna have that baby / Wait tables in town”) before leveraging on Belinda Carlisle’s 1987 smash ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ to drive the message home.
Liverpool alternative rockers Courting have returned with ‘Famous’, a raucous cut from their debut album, ‘Guitar Music’. The quartet’s distinctive sonics are heard almost instantaneously, the track kicking off with a glitchy loop before a restless post-punk rhythm kicks into gear. Frontman Murphy-O’Neill’s spoken word vocals read as equally absurd and aloof (“I hope David Byrne is proud of me / I hope David Beckham is, uh, proud of me”), and serves as the perfect commentary for the track’s wild musical ride.
Alt-rap star Channel Tres returns with his bouncy new single ‘No Limit’ off his upcoming debut LP, ‘Real Cultural Shit’. The track wears the rapper’s west coast origins proudly on its sleeve, adopting a slinky tempo, deep bass and a synth that would sound undeniably comfortable on a Snoop Dogg record, in an exciting glimpse of what’s to come on the anticipated record.
Alt-pop artist Willow Kayne has returned with her latest single, ‘Mr Universe’, featuring legendary DJ General Levy. The hyperactive track sees the Bristol native contrasting her breezy vocals with breakneck jungle beats, with General Levy fusing Willow’s leisurely verses with rapid-fire bars that match the track’s impossibly rapid pace. Towards its breathless end, Willow showcases her anarchic approach to production by dropping in an unexpected trumpet solo, which she punctuates with intermittent, tongue-in-cheek ad-libs.
On the C List:
The War On Drugs
‘Oceans of Darkness’
The War On Drugs have returned with ‘Oceans of Darkness’, an ‘I Don’t Live Here Anymore’ outtake off its recently-released deluxe edition. Previously premiered in a stripped-back form on The Tonight Show, the track finally sees the light of day in its pristine, fully produced form, boasting a perky mix of jangly acoustic guitars, sun-kissed organs and a stomping rhythm.
‘Not My Job’
Breakout trio FLO have returned with their latest single, ‘Not My Job’, off the re-release of their debut EP ‘The Lead’. The cut finds the trio bemoaning an emotionally distant partner with endless attitude and charm: “It’s not my job / If you ain’t feeling vulnerable / That says it all for me”. Their chemistry is palpable throughout the track, with Stella, Jorja and Renée being quick to offer harmonised ad-libs and vocal stacks whenever one steps forward with a solo verse.
Alice Longyu Gao
‘MAKE U 3 ME’
Rounding off this week’s picks is multi-hyphenate Alice Longyu Gao’s latest single, ‘MAKE U 3 ME’. The delightfully chaotic track resists easy categorisation, smashing disparate moods and genres together in a manner that would make 100 Gecs proud. While most of the track offers an exaggerated, sugary-sweet take on 2010s synthpop, its main sections are sandwiched between noisy metal breakdowns, featuring pummelling drums and Gao’s ear-grating screams, making her promises to “make you love me” sound more sinister than seductive.
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