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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Fresh sounds: Lana Del Ray, Radiohead and Assala Nasri release new singles

The latest batch of new tunes exhibit various moods and styles from depressing balladry to an uptempo and beach-tastic reggaeton

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 10: Lana Del Rey performs at Sziget Festival 2018 on August 10, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 10: Lana Del Rey performs at Sziget Festival 2018 on August 10, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)

Lana Del Ray continues her with her lovelorn balladry, Radiohead music left overs are tasty, while Ozuna shows why he is the next big Latin crossover act.

Hope is a Dangerous Thing... by Lana Del Rey

Special “fan tracks” are supposed to be a time when artists cut loose and have fun. For Lana Del Rey, good times apparently mean reading Sylvia Plath, a fellow miserabilist. The late author’s work is the inspiration and reference in this ultra-dark and sparse piano ballad. The stream-of-consciousness lyrics do conjure up some interesting imagery, but at nearly six minutes, it is really rather a long, slow and depressing dirge of a song.

Ill Wind by Radiohead

Such is the pedigree of UK art-rockers Radiohead, that even a rejected song is better than most bands’ strongest material. Originally released on the vinyl single (remember them?) of their rebuffed James Bond tune Spectre, the boys have now released the track to streaming services. Recorded as part of the sessions for their minimalist A Moon Shaped Pool album, the track’s aesthetics are similar, with Thom Yorke’s crystalline falsetto billowing a warning to “Keep your distance, then no harm will come”.

Lahthat Al Liqa by Assala Nasri

This is a nice little mash-up from the Syrian diva. Nasri, whose vocal dexterity includes singing in various styles from Syrian to Egyptian, sticks to her (successful) comfort zone of Khaleeji pop. Only this time, the heavy percussion associated with the genre is replaced by flamenco and Mediterranean-inspired guitars. The star of the show is Nasri’s vocals, which, over time, have become slightly thicker and smokier – a good thing, in our opinion. ­Lahthat Al Liqa’ works because it allows Nasri to sound fresh and current without sacrificing her signature style.

Baila, Baila, Baila by Ozuna

Ozuna likes to keep it simple and catchy. Long-winded titles, such as the aforementioned song by Lana Del Rey, for example, are not for him. As a matter of fact, he usually doesn’t even like using more than one word. After the success of previous DJ Snake-­collaboration club anthem Taki Taki, he returns with latest sure-fire hit Baila, Baila, Baila. Fortunately, his reggaeton pop tunes are a tad more sophisticated than the title, and this proves to be a fun and delightful track tailor-made for a day at the beach. Ozuna was the most-streamed Latin artist on YouTube last year, and this latest release is another solid step in his quest to cross over to an international audience.

Giant by Calvin Harris (featuring Rag’n’Bone Man)

It is pleasing to hear that Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris is continuing the organic production approach explored on his most recent album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1. His latest track is the soulful house of Giant, a collaboration with Rag‘n’Bone Man. This is Harris in more chilled mode; the synths pulse and beats throb, and there are also pleasant touches of brass, vocal chanting in the background, and strings. It presents an emotional backdrop for Rag’n’Bone Man to let rip with introspective lyrics detailing the strains of substance abuse and forgiveness.

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Updated: January 16, 2019 06:27 PM

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