Sunday, August 27, 2017

Singles Roundup: Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Trivium, & Arch Enemy

As I assumed would be the case, the fall slate of releases is being announced, and with them come new singles to herald the upcoming albums. Let's take a look at a few more:

Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do

The biggest release of the fall will be the new one from Taylor Swift, and the first taste we're getting is a truly bizarre number. Taylor became a full-fledged pop star with "1989", which was an album I gradually warmed to. She did more with the limited palate of modern pop than most people could, and the string of singles off that album will be remembered for as long as she's around.

This song is something completely different. Instead of backwards looking pop, this is forward looking pop, which is where it falls apart. Modern pop is no longer about writing songs, but creating Vine-length memes, and that's where this song exists. Taylor tries to be a sultry noir vixen, but she's too innocent to pull it off. The beat of the song is plastic and flaccid, and worst of all is that she reduces the hook to a repetition of the title. None of Taylor's talent or personality are on display. The track tries so hard, but feels so bland. It's a terrible song, and a very bad omen.

Foo Fighters - The Sky Is A Neighborhood

I sort of gave up on the Foo Fighters with the whole "Sonic Highways" experiment. It wasn't because of the idea, but the execution. They became increasingly bland, losing all the spunk "Wasting Light" had. This new track is a continuation of the Foos aging ungracefully, writing slow and colorless 'rock' that doesn't offer much to listen to. Like the first single, there isn't much of a hook to this song, nor a riff to sink your teeth into. It's so generic that it becomes sad to realize this is the last rock band in the world to come along that can sell out arenas. This is not an arena sized song.

Trivium - The Hate From Your Heart

I don't even remember the last time I listened to a Trivium song. Curiosity got the better of me here, and I decided to give them a chance. I have to say I like where the band is going these days. They've matured into a metal band that understands the keys to songwriting. The riffs are simple and chunky, and many will complain the chorus is too radio friendly, but that's why it works. It's an inviting song that is easy to get into. Metal doesn't need to be more complicated than that. I may have to give the whole record a chance after hearing this.

Arch Enemy - The World Is Yours

The world's best (only?) arena death metal band is back again, and this song encompasses everything that's good about them. It's aggressive and definitely death metal, but it's also uplifting and anthemic. The guitar playing is magnificently melodic, and the main hook is so simple you can't help but remember it. In fact, the only downside to the song is that new second guitarist Jeff Loomis is unnecessary. His solo is notably weaker than Michael Amott's, and since solos are all he's responsible for on the record, having him around doesn't seem worth it. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the album after this. It's great.

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