- Though dewy-eyed insouciance has always been Lana Del Rey’s calling card, in the build-up to this fourth album she’s seemed – dare we say it – upbeat? Indeed, while Lust For Life’s singles haven’t exactly broken with her “Hollywood sadcore” vibe, there’s definitely something fresh going on. For starters, there are features aplenty, including the Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Atlanta’s latest hip hop star Playboi Carti, and even Stevie Nicks. There remains an eerie edge to these ever-cinematic songs, but this time around they occasionally swirl with smoky trap. So while Del Rey’s voice maintains that striking summer wine-sweetness, this feels a record set to reach fans outside her core fanbase.
- In these turbulent times, it’s heartening to find young artists willing to stand up for their beliefs. Enter Hertfordshire teen Declan McKenna, 2015 winner of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, BBC Sound of 2017 nominee, and rising singer-songwriter responsible for deceptively sunny-sounding but socially-engaged indie-pop, tackling everything from xenophobia and the plight of transgender teens to FIFA corruption. In a year where it’s become commonplace for pop artists to cynically pay lip service to big issues for exposure, McKenna’s debut feels considered and genuinely thought-provoking. Plus, it’s hook-heavy enough to help him disseminate his message widely.