2021: The Year Of Yebba

2021: The Year Of Yebba

2021 has not been kind to us. There’s been all sorts of mayhem going on around the world however for me personally, there’s been a shining light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of the queen herself aka Abbey Smith aka Yebba.

After a couple years in relative, intentional obscurity, making herself available for only a pocket full of people willing to search, Yebba has so far graced us with not one, not two, not three, not even four but five incredible singles in the lead up to her album drop this month on the 10th. Literally this week.

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I’d easily put Yebba up there with some of my favourite artists of all time. Top Ten easily. Without a doubt. She’s insane.

October Sky, Louis Bag, Boomerang and finally a Spotify version of My Mind were gifted to us this year and each one is incredibly beautiful in its own way.

I’ve already once touched on how beautiful and moving her song My Mind is and how her guttural and raw performance on Sofar’s YouTube channel regularly brings me to tears so I won’t repeat myself and waste your time. I mean it’s currently got over 18 million views so I’ll let you make your mind up for yourself HERE.

October Sky was the first single she released in the lead up to her first album, Dawn and it’s such a beautiful, quintessentially ‘Yebba’ song. Cathartic songwriting, insane runs and vocal control and this God-given talent of making you feel all sorts of emotions. I think it’s a combination of her tone, her writing style and the emotion she manages to convey through her recordings that really just hit you in the gut. She doesn’t have to be screaming or soaring on super high notes for you to feel what she wants you to feel.

October Sky has this beautiful guitar that lies in the background of the entire song, and it compliments her voice so well, especially in the first half of the song. I always find this song randomly popping into my head at the most random of times.

She also released a cover of The Past and Pending by The Shins which is just another notch on her belt, so haunting in this super simple and rustic way.

Louie Bag featuring Smino followed, released in July.

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Here’s the thing. I wouldn’t say that Louie Bag is my favourite, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s not??? Does that make sense? I mean, you’ve got Yebba, that’s a given. But Smino?? Slowly becoming one of my favourite musicians too. It’s hauntingly rhythmic and her voice just floats amongst it all. Then Smino’s bridge comes in and it drives the message home super hard.

The chorus on this track is super catchy. Again, really rhythmic and percussive, though there’s only really a muted drum kit, some light strings and synth and a few added effects to fill in the space, however it just works. This song slaps. That’s all. Highly recommend. 10/10.

Boomerang is her latest release, coming towards the end of August. It’s gritty and raw and introduces this side of Yebba that I’m so excited to see more. There’s this super groovy bass line in there that just chugs along like a steady train and keeps the song really moving and her voice just dance all over this track. She doesn’t really try and show off too much in terms of vocals and trills and runs but she still manages to leave you in awe. I think it’s her delivery. There’s just so much intention and emotion in every line she sings. It’s so effortless.

Honourable mention just HAS to go to a track by Lucky Daye, How Much Can A Heart Take which our girl features on.

The way this song has me by the neck. Choke hold. Captive. I could play this song on repeat all day, everyday. I forced myself to learn new, super hard big-girl guitar chords specifically so I could play this song and sing along because at this point I’ve got this song running through my veins keeping me going. Lucky Daye has been one of my favourite artists this year. His album Table For Two is ridiculously good, popping with incredible features and beautifully written songs that get stuck in your head for hours. Obviously, for clear enough reasons, this song is my favourite on the entire track.

Ever since it was released, ever since they performed it live on Jimmy Kimmel, it’s run my entire life. But we’re here to talk about Yebba. About Abbey. Unless it’s somehow escaped you so far, girl can sing. This song is insane and credits to Lucky Daye but honest to God it’s her verse and chorus that completely make this song. At least for me. Make your own choices here.

Here’s hoping I don’t go AWOL again and I make it back in time to give y’all a full review of Yebba’s album Dawn when it releases on the 10th of September! Let’s see.

x

Priya

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Hello Certified Lover Boy

Hello Certified Lover Boy

So Drake dropped an album. To those who don’t always keep on top of Drake, like myself, it seemed to come out of nowhere but I’m sure those of you who are bigger fans probably saw it coming. Did it have something to do with the release of Donda and Drake’s long-standing ‘feud’ with Kanye? I don’t know.

Certified Lover Boy dropped on the 3rd of September, and honestly, I jumped on Spotify to listen to it and it was like my entire Friend Activity bar was also listening to CLB. I’ve already seen polls comparing Drake and Yes albums, seeing which one is more popular, trying to draw a line in the sand between who’s Team Drake and who’s Team Kanye.

I’ll be honest. This time round I’m staunchly Team Drake. One of my friends said said it pretty bang on over Instagram; “CLB is just so much easier to consume“. Now that’s not to say it’s a lazy album or it’s ‘basic’. The way I see it, with so much going on all the time in the world and all of our lives in a bit of turmoil, I didn’t really have the energy to pretend to be a genius and try and decipher all of Kanye’s tracks and piece it all together. If that makes me a lazy listener, that’s on me, but listening to Certified Lover Boy was infinitely easier and more enjoyable than listening to Donda so that’s my opinion on that.

But let’s get into CLB hey?

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I mean, it kicks off with a Masego sample, straight away with Track 1, Champagne Poetry, a monster 6 minute track. It’s pretty hypnotic to listen to if you ask me and I didn’t even catch how long it actually was because of how easy it was to listen to.

Girls Want Girls with Lil Baby is the first song to introduce a feature artist on the album, the first of many, and if we’re being real, the feature artists really come in clutch throughout the album. Lil Durk, Giveon, JAY-Z, Travis Scott, Future, Young Thug, Yebba, 21 Savage, Project Pat, Tems, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Kid Cudi all dance around this project and all of them seem to find a track that welcomes them perfectly if you ask me.

Love All which features JAY-Z is a track I was super excited to listen to when I saw the track list. It’s super laid-back and true to a really smooth RnB heritage. Then you’ve got JAY-Z’s feature verse. There’s just something about his tone and his voice when he’s on a track, I love it. His delivery and everything about his verse got me so excited to listen to every word he said. Great track.

Fair Trade sounds exactly like what you’d expect when you’re combining Drake and Travis Scott and the switch up in TSU sent me for a real one. Unexpected but incredibly appreciated. So many different moods in one song.

Pipe Down made me feel super nostalgic, like 2016 Drake in 2021 form if that makes sense. Super sensual and ethereal in some of the sounds that he’s got on there. Then came Yebba’s Heartbreak. The way my jaw dropped when I saw the title of the song on his Instagram.

It’s a super simple song lyrics wise, arrangement wise, Drake doesn’t even feature on it, but it makes for a beautiful interlude type of song, nestled in the middle of the album. Obviously Yebba delivers everything and more.

No Friends In The Industry is just begging for a Kendrick Lamar feature if you ask me but Drake carries it well enough, for now, and 7am On The Bridle Path was a good track for a really focused listen. Had me really intently wanting to hear what he said and understanding each line.

Fountains featuring Tems scratched my ever present dancehall itch with a really muted jam that carried the track. Tems’ verses are so satisfying to listen to and her voice contrasts the lower frequencies to really tie the song together.

I’m always a fan of any Ty Dolla $ign feature, and I don’t know if Drake was trying to keep up with Ty’s impressive pipes but I really appreciated his vocals on Get Along Better. Both of them deliver really solid vocal performances and because there’s not a lot going on instrumentation wise to detract from the vocals they really carry the track.

IMY2 featuring Kid Cudi is probably my low point on the album though it’s not horrible. Just feels a bit predictable, what we’ve come to expect from Drake. Cudi’s verse is fun I guess, very Kid Cudi, but the rest of the track doesn’t really do much dynamically.

I like Certified Lover Boy. A lot. I don’t know if it’s partially fuelled by timing, the release of Donda and how much I don’t like that latest release but I’ve listened to CLB more than a few times since it’s come out. It’s a genuinely enjoyable album to listen to in my opinion.

People I could imagine on this album?

Snoh Aalegra, Anderson .Paak, GoldLink, Kendrick like mentioned before, maybe an actual Masego feature, Kehlani or Syd would have sounded beautiful if they were given a verse on Race My Mind but for an album that had a little more than a week of promoted hype, this album has kept me very well fed.

Have you heard Certified Lover Boy? Do you care? Would love to hear your opinions on this record because I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than I anticipated.

x

Priya

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folklore // embodied

folklore // embodied

Honestly, I think I’m in love with Taylor Swift.

I don’t know if she set out to release arguably the best album of her career, but in my opinion, that’s just what she did.

I also don’t know if I’m the best person to be making statements like that because aside from her singles and a few tracks here and there I’ve rarely been an active Taylor Swift listener in the past, but damn, she did a good thing with folklore.

I think more than just her music, I’ve been super invested in her career. The shit show she went through with Kanye that kind of ruined one of the best moments of her life, which also subsequently spiraled into this whirlwind of a series of episodes that just plagued a huge portion of her career, then losing ownership of all of her masters and essentially having to start from scratch, the girls been through it. I think there’s so much she’s had to deal with, and she’s still managed to have a long, successful career. Gal must be tired.

 

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But on to folklore.

Like I said, I think I’m in love. This entire record is just so beautifully nostalgic and haunting, I genuinely wish I could go back to the moment I listened to the entire album for the first time so I could experience those feelings again.

I’m sure you’ve read one hundred and one reviews of this album already, because in keeping with my character I’m a little behind on this, so I’m just gonna share with you some of my favourite tracks from the record.

 


 

the 1
Come on. This song. So beautiful. The words, which are obviously just as strong throughout the entire album, just make it so simple and powerful. It’s so gentle, but there’s so much emotion in this one song.

my tears ricochet
My favourite song. Hands down. There’s so much anger and authenticity in this one song alone. Side note; I highly suggest you do not listen to this song for the first time while going on your daily walk because you will end up crying in public and it’s not a good look. ‘And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake?’ ‘You know I didn’t have to, want to haunt you, but what a ghostly scene.’ ‘You wear the same jewels, that I gave you, when you bury me.’ Come. On. Come. On. My jaw visibly dropped several times throughout this song just listening to the words Taylor was singing. Shivers every time.

seven
If I had my way, this song would be the main title motif for a modern gothic YA film, and the big build up would be playing while the main protagonist is running through the woods, with this huge looming countryside mansion in the background, after they come to a mad realisation. That’s if I had my way. That’s all I’m saying.

mad woman
Imagine thinking Taylor Swift would allow anyone to have the last word when it came to losing her masters and being taken advantage of by music industry heavy-weights. I feel like this song is Taylor’s response to that entire situation, and even the way she consistently gets portrayed in the media. It’s just so hauntingly cathartic and emotional. ‘Every time you call me crazy, I get more crazy, what about that?’. I think this is my second favourite song on the album. It’s so strong, so forceful in it’s tone, but so gentle and alluring at the same time.

epiphany
So many layers to this record. I saw so many people talking about how this song was maybe a nod to healthcare workers and front-liners during COVID and I could find no better meaning for such a beautiful song. It’s so melancholy, but suitably so.

 


 

This entire record sounds like you’re listening to the old Taylor Swift after she’s lived a life and experienced a million things, which I guess it is and you are. Sonically, it’s what I feel Taylor Swift was meant to be making, not that her past albums or singles have been bad in the slightest, rather that she embodies this record far more naturally in my opinion.

 

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I could listen to this album for days. Not gonna lie, I have been.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the album – what’s your favourite track?

x

Priya

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Thank You Lennon Stella

Thank You Lennon Stella

Hello boys and girls, hope you’re well and thriving!

The time has finally arrived for Lennon Stella to share with us an album that I feel like I’ve spent years waiting for. Lennon was amongst the first few musicians I included in my playlists I shared on here, she featured quite a few times, and it’s been so fun to watch her grow, touring with The Chainsmokers, featuring on songs with artists like Liam Payne, touring and just over all killing it.

She’s come a long way from singing Happy Birthday to Harry Styles and using empty butter containers to perform The Cup Song with her little sister Maisy (who’s also a brilliant artist in her own right, and features on the album).

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This album, Three. Two. One. is like a culmination of all the work Lennon’s put in over the last few years. The opening track, ‘Much Too Much’ is such a great introduction to the rest of the record, welcoming the synth heavy production, mixed in with her angelic, atmospheric vocals that she’s become know for.

Through tracks like ‘Pretty Boy’, ‘Older Than I Am’, ‘Weakness’, which features her little sister Maisy, and ‘Goodnight’, this record covers so much ground. It’s like Lennon’s stretched herself as much as she can to encapsulate as many aspects of her life into this one record, while remaining so authentic and true to the nature of all these songs and how beautifully they’re constructed.

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So any favourites?

Personally, Golf On TV makes me want to spontaneously combust in to flames, while also dissolving into a puddle of tears, so there’s that. There’s so much, lyrically, in this album that makes. my. heart. sing. The writer’s on this song did a phenomenal job, and the chorus consistently gets stuck in my head for hours on end, which is really not a problem.

Then there’s Older Than I Am, which they had no right putting right after GOTV, because it’s equally as beautiful but so emotionally charged and heavy. Again, the lyrics on this album are just another level, they take you to outer space in the best way possible.

There’s so much light and shade in this album, and having Lennon’s ethereal vocals laced throughout each song just brings them all together on this record and everything just makes sense. Everything fits, and the album as a whole feels like one big puzzle, with all the songs being the little pieces if that makes sense??

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I don’t know man, I’m just so happy this album is finally here. 13 beautiful tracks, I can’t really fault this album at all, though I’m not really one to share an album if I can fault it. If you’re a Lennon Stella fan, you’ll love this through and through because it’s everything that makes Lennon’s music so unique and enjoyable to listen to wrapped up in one record, and if you’ve never listened to Lennon before, this is the perfect first listen.

x

Priya

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Nice One Niall

Nice One Niall

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So maybe I’m a bit quick on the ball, but Niall Horan’s album Flicker dropped literally an hour ago, and after a quick listen through of the album, I’ve decided to share with you guys my favourite songs since I’ve only been waiting since One Direction split up for this album to happen. Let’s go.

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One The Loose: So this is the first song on the album, and I love it. But I feel like I’ve heard this song before??? Like I knew the words to the chorus the first time I listened to it??? It’s definitely a great song, a good intro to the album but I can’t get over my major confusion whenever listening to it.

Seeing Blind: So this is a duet with Maren Morris, and it tugs on my pop-country loving heartstrings just a lil bit. It’s such a cute song and I love Maren’s voice, their voices go together sickeningly well. Niall posted an acoustic teaser of this song on his Instragram and I loved it then, so I’m definitely loving it now.

Slow Hands: Obviously.

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Paper Houses: This song is probably one of my favourites lyric-wise. This album definitely shows off how great Niall is at writing songs, collaboratively and solo.

Flicker: I feel like I can’t not include the title track in this list. Personally, the acoustic one is my favourite, this is beautiful, but the acoustic version is incredible. You can make up your own mind. This is maybe one of my favourite songs on the album.

Fire Away: This song gives me major John Mayer vibes and I’m here for it 100%. The guitar in this is beautiful and again, Niall comes through with the lyrics. Songs like these kind of allow you to find the link between the songs in this album and the ones that Niall contributed as a writer from the One Direction albums.

Mirrors: I’m always a fan of a sing-able chorus. I wasn’t sure about this song, until the chorus hit and straight away it was on my every day playlist as well as my driving and summer playlist. The chorus of this is killer. I’m so keen for the concert to hear this song live. It’s made to be sung by a crowd. I’m hoping this is put out on the radio as a single soon, I feel like it would be killer.

The Tide: So I know I just said this about Mirrors, but this song needs to be released on the radio. It’s such a tune. This song is probably my favourite on the whole album, though Mirrors is a close second. This song is beautiful but at the same time, so intense when you reach the chorus.

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There you go! My personal favourites from old boy Niall’s newest album Flicker. It’s released everywhere, but you can listen to it on Spotify here. Honestly I’ve spent so long waiting for this album to come, ever since he dropped This Town on us out of nowhere. I would love to hear which one of his songs you’re enjoying from the album! Let me know in the comments below!

x

p.f

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