New Singles Review: Kelly Clarkson, ZAYN, Tove Lo, Sam Smith, and More!

This week many high profile singles were released. From rapper G-Eazy to One Direction alum ZAYN to actress-turned-pop-star Hailee Steinfeld, the music was arresting, soulful, and sometimes awful. Here we go!

ZAYN featuring Sia – “Dusk Till Dawn”

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Soaring ballads about undying love can get boring, but ZAYN and Sia breathe new life into the tired subject with their gorgeous, inimitable vocal performances. The bombastic production creates an aura of anticipation in the verses and catharsis in the chorus. The song is very Sia-esque, lyrically, and the hook is weakened by the cheap and overused metaphor of “staying from dusk till dawn.” Overall, it is a valiant effort from an artist who seemed to have lost his way after his smash debut single and album. This is a quality track, and one that incites excitement for the album, it does everything a proper lead single should do. Hats off to you, ZAYN and Sia.

Score: 80

 

Kelly Clarkson – “Love So Soft”

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One of the most underrated and strongest vocalists in modern popular music, Kelly Clarkson returns with the lead single from her eighth studio album, Meaning of Life. After changing record labels and finally getting the opportunity to record the album she’d always dreamed of, “Love So Soft” is soulful, sultry, bold, and grandiose. With a genuine and honest vocal performance, Kelly delivers an incredibly strong song. Lyrically, the song is adequate and production-wise, it is crisp and clean, leaving enough room for the vocalist to shine. The ad-libs and traditional post-bridge/second chorus “big notes” are heavenly to the ear and exude confidence and happiness. This track is a triumph for both Kelly, the person, and Kelly, the artist.

Score: 90

 

Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso featuring Florida Georgia Line & watt – “Let Me Go”

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A horrific mashup between country, EDM, and pop, “Let Me Go” is an atrocity that should have never occurred. Hailee started off strong with the HAIZ EP and the solid subsequent singles “Starving” and “Show You Love.” After that she released the abysmal “Most Girls,” and now this garbage. The song is generic, bland, and uninteresting. The vocal performances sound phoned in and Hailee sounds almost robotic on the track. Florida George Line follows up their last EDM collaboration (a bad track of many on The Chainsmokers’ Memories… Do Not Open) with this. Their last album was very strong and if they want to crossover to pop, the EDM/dance-pop lane is clearly not for them. Alesso’s production is clunky and boring leaving for an underwhelming drop. As for watt, I don’t even know what they do on the track.

Score: 40

 

Tove Lo – “Disco Tits”

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Following up the slightly overrated and majorly underperforming Lady Wood, Vol. 1, “Disco Tits” is a delectable slice of sexual liberation with a side of disco funk. The strong production adds to the track’s charm, and the lyrics that made “Talking Body” and “Cool Girl” so strong make an appearance on this track. It’s a return to form while still showing artistic evolution.

Score: 60

 

Blake Shelton – “I’ll Name The Dogs”

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A sappy and dopey love song asking your significant other to settle down with you is always welcome in my book, and “I’ll Name The Dogs” is just that. With a convincing vocal performance from Shelton, this single is fun and looks like it could be a country radio hit. However, it does not seem strong enough to launch an album off of, but anything can happen.

Score: 60

 

G-Eazy featuring A$AP Rocky and Cardi B – “No Limit”

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With slick production and a strong cast, this single should have been a slam dunk, sadly, it falls flat. Rocky provides a strong hook and Cardi a fine verse, but G-Eazy almost seems like an afterthought on his own song. This is Cardi’s first major output since her smash single, “Bodak Yellow,” and it should do enough to cement her as a force. The track doesn’t detract from Rocky’s talent, but it certainly doesn’t make me want to hear another G-Eazy song.

Score: 50

 

Miguel – “Shockandawe”

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A stark departure from the mainstream fluidity of “Sky Walker,” “Shockandawe” is built around a chunky guitar riff and distorted vocals. The sexy track sounds like an advanced version of some Wildheart songs. Miguel’s vocal performance is strong and his lyrics are even stronger. Another strong effort from the underrated R&B wunderkind.

Score: 70

 

Sam Smith – “Too Good At Goodbyes”

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Sam Smith finally returns with a gorgeous and lush new single. Between the fantastic vocal performance and arrangement and the clean production, “Too Good At Goodbyes” is a slam dunk. The interesting ways in which Sam plays with the melody and the way he layers his vocals is the chorus is masterful. Happy to have you back, Sam!

Score: 80

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