Pop Music Column #1: From Eurovision 2019 To Slipknot's Return

on Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Words: Saam Das

The dawn of a new era. The birth of a nation. Nah, just the start of a new column dedicated to new pop music. Partly inspired by this weekend's Eurovision Song Contest, which was controversial for a number of reasons, but also new tracks from the likes of Charli XCX, Gryffin, and Halsey. Oh and Slipknot, obvs.

Eurovision 2019

Understandably, many people were boycotting the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest due to the ongoing political/humanitarian situation between Israel and Palestine. Madonna, who had been criticised for agreeing to perform on the TV show, took matters into her own hands however - using her performance as a platform to promote unity while also emblazoning a pointed "WAKE UP" slogan.

As for the contest itself, we're not quite sure how an extremely bland effort from the Netherlands came away with the victory, while a sparkling performance of 'Zero Gravity' from Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke languished in ninth place. The UK finished last, as was perhaps to be expected in the current European political climate, but Michael Rice shouldn't be too disheartened with his above par performance.

Halsey - 'Nightmare'

Speaking of European pop, US artist Halsey's new single 'Nightmare' is evocative of controversial Russian duo t.A.T.u, whose excellent pop hits 'All The Things She Said' and 'Not Gonna Get Us' were somewhat overshadowed by their faux lesbianism. The anthemic 'Nightmare' successfully uses a quiet-loud dynamic, and some expectedly angsty lyrics from the outspoken popstar: "I'm tired and angry but someone should be."

Charli XCX - 'Blame It On Your Love' (Feat. Lizzo)

If Lizzo is the "queen of everything" as Charli XCX claimed in the lead-up to the release of their new track 'Blame It On Your Love', then the latter must be fast becoming Queen Of The Collab. Following up '1999' with Troye Sivan, 'Blame It On Your Love' actually recycles the terrifyingly brilliant 'Track 10' from Charli XCX's 2017 'Pop 2' mixtape. Yet another nugget of PC Music-infused gold.

Gryffin - 'Hurt People' (With Aloe Blacc)

Both Gryffin (with the likes of Elley Duhe and Bipolar Sunshine) and Aloe Blacc (with Avicii on their chart-topping 'Wake Me Up') have a history of successful collaborations so it makes perfect sense that 'Hurt People' works so well. Blacc's stunning vocals take centre stage with Gryffin wisely building up the instrumentals around the fantastic top-line melodies on this floor-filler.

Slipknot - 'Unsainted'

We realise that including Iowa's premiere metal merchants Slipknot in a column about pop music is asking for trouble but a) they're "popular" and b) their new single 'Unsainted' is arguably their most accessible song to date. To the extent that Slipknot even appeared on the 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' talk show to perform the track. They're still doing the masks, the hefty percussion, and the crunching guitars - they've just added a choir and a huge singalong chorus. Splendid.

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