The best of this week’s new music: Ariana Grande is the pop star we deserve

Elsewhere, Lady Gaga’s comeback gets a solid ‘meh’ and there’s a Sean Paul overload


Ariana Grande ft Nicki Minaj
Side To Side

Bland singer-songwriters who have 14 people proofreading every tweet are over: Ariana Grande, with her insistence on being carried like a baby by her bodyguard and constant sassing of journalists, is the pop star we need. In Side To Side, a sultry reggae-lite song about getting banged so hard you can’t walk properly, she recruits Nicki Minaj to lay it out: “I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop.” Ariana is the pop star we deserve.

Lady Gaga
Perfect Illusion

Gaga’s comeback – co-written by Mark Ronson and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker – is her first mainstream record since 2014. And it’s just… fine? It does make you think, though: what if we were all experiencing some kind of collective hallucination between 2009 and 2011, and Lady Gaga was never actually that amazing? The tea cup, the meat dress: what if it was all a distraction from the fact her voice has the same pitch as a commuter whining “Can you move down please?” in a packed train?

Soft Hair
In Love

Soft Hair is a new project from Connan Mockasin and Late Of The Pier’s Sam Dust. This starts off all trippy and 70s, then there’s a bit that sounds like an elderly R&B singer teetering on the edge of a nervy B, then a long clarinet solo and then 10 seconds of a lone drum. It’s begging to be used during a scene in a Seth Rogen comedy when someone accidentally takes LSD.

Kaytranada ft Syd
You’re The One

Summer’s over, the big duvet’s out and you’re secretly putting the heating on when your partner’s out of the flat. So it’s almost a kick in the stomach that Kaytranada has made this sunshine house anthem. It features the Internet’s Syd Tha Kyd, who whispers: “You ain’t no good for me, I know it’s true.” It could be a plea not to break her heart, or a goodbye to the last Solero in the freezer.

Sean Paul ft Chi Chi Ching
Crick Neck

Sak Noel & Salvi ft Sean Paul

Ninety per cent of music in 2016 is tropical house or Sean Paul. This week alone, he has two tracks out: Crick Neck is an aggressive electro-dancehall anthem about an expensive chiropractor bill as a result of leching in the club, and Trumpets is basically the same thing with trumpets. They could have saved time and studio fees by just merging these two tracks and giving Sean Paul the afternoon off.


Issy Sampson

The GuardianTramp

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