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The best (and worst) new singles this week: Jessica Says, Emma Louise, and more

New tracks from Jessica Says, Emma Louise, and more.

Single Of The Week

Jessica Says : Brand New Thing 

A heart-rending piano ballad to usher in the winter blues. ‘Brand New Thing’ isn’t an explicitly sad song, but Jessica Says sounds so absorbed by the memories she’s re-living that the rest of us get pulled into her vortex. The hook, “You kiss me like I’m a brand new thing, like I wasn’t damaged with parts missing,” will evoke divergent interpretations depending on circumstance and experience. In the context of the song, however, it’s hopeful and offers incentive to keep going even when things look dire.

 

Mitski : Nobody 

Unafraid to stick a power-pop juggernaut next to a nu-metal inscribed mini-epic, Mitski’s oeuvre is reminiscent of ‘90s indie-rock bands like Pavement and The Magnetic Fields; bands whose identity was entwined with the idea of mutability. It’s a thrilling characteristic, even if the returns are occasionally underwhelming. That’s not the case with ‘Nobody’, a vibrating alt-disco number that suits Mitski more than we could’ve predicted. With lyrics alluding to the unrealistic expectation of being saved by another’s love, it could be read as blunt existentialism. But boasting Nile Rodgers guitar riffs and a gyrating drum groove, ‘Nobody’ beams with self-assurance. 

 

Nine Inch Nails : Shit Mirror

Here’s a filthy blast of deconstructed punk rock that could only come from one band. Heavily layered, mutilated electric guitars charge out of the blocks, Trent Reznor shouting alongside like a true Black Flag disciple. Organised into three distinct sections, ‘Shit Mirror’ has a rough spontaneity that gives the impression of ungoverned adventure. It’s as though the recording session was so fertile that Reznor and Atticus Ross bypassed the editing procedure.

 

Emma Louise : Wish You Well

Voice manipulation is by no means a new technology, but Emma Louise singing a whole record in character as a man (by virtue of pitch shifter) still seems futuristic. On ‘Wish You Well’ the songwriting itself is in line with the ‘70s singer-songwriter fare of Harry Nilsson and Carole King. It’s a sophisticated composition, not quite transformative but better than Bernard Fanning.