The Knack Music Reviews

She’s Kinda Hot: 5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer have slowly been prepping the release of a new album, and now the first taste of the follow-up to its self-titled 2014 LP has arrived. Today (July 17), 5SOS unveiled the new lyric video for its sophomore effort's lead single, "She's Kinda Hot."

Channeling the ebbs and flows of My Chemical Romance's 2007 hit "Teenagers" mixed with the vocals of Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, "She's Kinda Hot" takes 5 Seconds of Summer mildly away from the poppier sound that helped launch them to super stardom and brings back the acoustic guitar the band first rose to fame for.

At its core, "She's Kinda Hot" is a quirky little number, with marimbas sitting just below the surface of the picked guitar work in the opening verses. To fit with the song's funky little melody, 5SOS sing about being alright despite society telling them otherwise. "My shrink is telling me I got crazy dreams / She's also saying that I got no self esteem / She's kinda hot though / She put me on meds, won't get out of my head / She's kinda hot though," the group sings in the opening verse in a theme that continues throughout the rest of the track. Despite being losers of slobs or a little insane, 5SOS is alright and the leader of a new broken scene.

What helps "She's Kinda Hot" to be a glimmering spot in 5 Seconds of Summer's discography is the chorus, when the acoustic guitars and marimbas drop out and the tight power chords and punchy percussion kick back in. It's the sort of hook that will get stuck in your head for more than five seconds this summer.

After one of the worst-kept secrets in pop history (some of you lot should literally be recruited by MI5) and an announcement involving some dude spray painting a wall for two hours, 5SOS's brand new single 'She's Kinda Hot' is finally out there and ready to penetrate our patient little lugholes.
Yup - Ashton Irwin, Calum Hood, Michael Clifford and Luke Hemmings might still be buzzing about on the Rock Out With Your Socks Out tour, but they've sort of written this new song with John Feldmann and The Madden Brothers that they just can't keep to themselves.
It's premiered/currently premiering on radio across the planet, and now we're gonna talk about this introduction to the so-called 'new broken scene.' Hooray.

Nothing 5SOS have done before, actually. Of course 'She's Kinda Hot' is a slice of polished punk-pop at its roots; that's what these boys do best. But this just feels like a step up, y'know? A game changer. A new milestone in 5 Seconds of Summer's journey from Sydney schoolboys to fully-fledged punk rock royalty.

Like, here's the thing; the lads' debut's obviously bloody brilliant and we love every single song on that damn record. What they've done with 'She's Kinda Hot,' though, is taken that winning formula (the cheekiness of 'Good Girls,' those killer 'She Looks So Perfect' hooks, that punch-pow-pow 'English Love Affair' instrumental) and made it even more 5SOS.

Let's face it, some of the songs on the debut were well old; written by boys just waiting till they were 18 (k, maybe not Ashton) and trying to make sense of the world, girls and everything in between.

While older stuff like 'Kiss Me Kiss Me' had a cute naïvety about it, 'She's Kinda Hot' is confident, ballsy and loads of other adjectives that essentially equate to AWESOME. This track properly harks back to the early-to-mid noughties heyday of pop-punk. It wouldn't sound out of place on The Offspring's Conspiracy of One album, could easily fit on Sum 41's All Killer, No Filler and even has a Weezer vibe about it. Yet somehow, despite sounding a bit like all of the above, it's still unmistakably 5SOS.
Right, we're blabbing. Sorry. It's just really frickin' good.

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Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud” Music Review

Straying away from x breakup anthems such as "Sing" and "Don't," Sheeran got back in touch with his lovey-dovey song for "Thinking Out Loud," lyrically discussing the softer side of life and the comforting side of being with another person.

Musically recalling love songwriter extraordinaire Jason Mraz, Sheeran keeps things relaxed and loose for on "Thinking Out Loud." Little starts and stops of his acoustic guitar keep pace underneath a bit more flared playing in the mix, which adds to the intimate nature of the track in the "I'm singing this around a beach campfire" type of way. Even when the drums kick in, there's no real displacement on this song... it's all one smooth, casual ride to the marriage altar.

"Darling I'll be loving you 'til we're 70 / And baby my heart could still fall as a heart of 23 / And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways / Maybe just the touch of a hand / Me, I fall in love with you every single day / And I just want to tell you I am," Sheeran sings in the pre-chorus before wholeheartedly asking for a nice proper cuddle in his lady's "loving arms."

Both the message and the musicality of "Thinking Out Loud" is the direct opposite of the funky fresh Pharrell Williams-produced lead single "Sing," but both songs work as individual Ed Sheeran pieces, exploring and exposing both sides of his artistry. Will the message get muddled on the album x as a whole? It seems as though only time will tell... luckily the album drops in five days.

"Thinking Out Loud" is a track from Ed Sheeran's new album x, which will be released on June 23 worldwide. This track was released as a part of a series leading up to x's release, wherein Sheeran releases one new song a day. Earlier this week he debuted the studio versions of "Afire Love" and "Bloodstream." The songs "Sing," "Don't" and "One" have also been released.

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Charli XCX: Sucker

She might have had one of the summer's biggest hits with "Boom Clap," but Charli XCX is still best-known for her assists on other artists' songs, most notably Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" and Icona Pop's "I Love It." It's not as if she has been hiding, Sia-like, in the background -- in the past 18 months, she has toured extensively and cranked out a 15-track album, the critical-but-not-commercial favorite True Romance, as well as a half-dozen or so other songs and several features. But that was just a prelude: Her second LP, Sucker, is poised to be the album that makes the 22-year-old Brit a true stand-alone star.

In fact, virtually everything about this album is big and mouthy: Where True Romance was practically a mash note to the pop-critic intelligentsia -- with shimmering production, clever samples and a big assist from alt-pop savant Ariel Rechtshaid -- this one's as subtle as a Super Bowl TV ad. That's not to say the songs, nearly all of which have hooks big enough to be spotted from a satellite, aren't sophisticated. They range from me-and-my-homies party anthems ("Break the Rules") to buzzy new wave ("London Queen"), from a girl-group homage ("Need Your Love") to a potential prom anthem ("Die Tonight"). Virtually every sound on the album is wielded like an earworm-y hook: the grinding guitars and video-game noises in "Gold Coins," the synth squiggles in "London Queen," the EDM-inspired breakdown in "Break the Rules," the booms in "Boom Clap."
Perhaps more than any other young hitmaker, Charli has a sound that is distinctively her own, despite the murderers' row of producer-songwriters onboard: Stargate, Greg Kurstin, Benny Blanco and Rechtshaid weigh in with a song apiece; Patrik Berger (Robyn, Lana Del Rey) and frequent Rechtshaid collaborator Justin Raisen helm several others. The surprise, however, is Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. He's one of four writers on "Hanging Around," but his mark is unmistakable on the song's lighter-waving chorus.

Thanks to "Fancy" and "Boom Clap," Charli's voice is already among the most ubiquitous of the year. But Sucker is likely to confirm that she's one of pop's biggest new stars -- and biggest personalities.

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