This week’s tracks reviewed: Ciara, Chance the Rapper and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
If you thought Ciara was going to ease us in gently with her first new music since 2015’s Jackie, you were dead wrong. Level Up races out of the gate like a greyhound with the runs: breathy Beyoncé-inspired growling at the start, then manically fast beats with very “Instagram caption ready” lyrics about loving yourself and turning mistakes into money. The incredible Parris Goebel-choreographed video starts with CiCi instructing us: “Love yourself. Get up and dance. Level up!” We will, Ciara. We will.
It’s Not So Bad in LA
If she’s trying to sell us on Los Angeles, Lana Del Rey-lite Allie X is about to lose her job as a travel agent. The only good things she can recall about the city are cheap parking, weed dispensaries, lemon trees and blue skies. By the time she’s recounting the sex workers on Venice Beach and how the “ghosts of the 90s walk the streets”, you’re thinking it’s probably better to book a long weekend in Magaluf and leave it at that.
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
What is happening to music? In recent times we’ve had reality stars making grime songs, holographic musicians returning from the dead to perform onstage and DIY SOS’s Nick Knowles having a crack at being a country musician. So yeah, of course 2018 brings us more confusion in the form of an apocalyptic hipster nursery rhyme about fruit. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, AKA Will Oldham, reckons he was high on THC-laced blueberries when he wrote this song. Why not? Sure.
Chance the Rapper
I Might Need Security
By way of apology for not delivering his album on time, Chance dropped four new tracks last week. Good for fans, bad for singles column word counts. And it’s a real wild ride: on Work Out, he’s spreading positive affirmations about it being alright to skip the gym, and wishing his ex-girlfriends success in life. But on standout track I Might Need Security, he takes a slightly different tack, looping a sample of Jamie Foxx singing “fuck you”, and slamming everything from Twitter trolls to Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Apology accepted, Chance.
Thru These Tears
Thru These Tears might sound like a tear-soaked breakdown after an devastating split, but it’s equally applicable to how we’ll all be feeling post-Love Island. “This hurts like hell/ But I keep telling myself/ It’s gonna get better” – see? Very much a mood for those early days of Jack and Dani withdrawal.