45s of the week: Kanye West, Christine & The Queens, Glass Animals and more

The tracks you need to hear this week including an absolute bop from The Dalai Lama.

Kanye West – ‘Wash Us In The Blood’

When Kanye’s name starts flashing up in your news feed, you never really know what’s going to be at the other end of the click. Maybe he’s dropped something that lives up to every high plaudit he’s ever bestowed upon himself; maybe he’s said something absolutely fucking bonkers. ‘Wash Us In The Blood’ – Ye’s first new offering since divisive 2019 Christian gospel LP ‘Jesus Is King’ – lands firmly in the former camp. Taking the religious heartbeat of that record, and using it to add biblical, heavy weight to a track that calls for deliverance for Black America (“Rain down on the pain/ Rain down on the slain”), it’s an urgent, impassioned expression. Laced over siren-like backing, there’s a discomfort and tension that’s like an echo to the world right now.  

Christine and the Queens – ‘Eyes of a Child’

Remember that innocent time, when you could wantonly scoff Big Macs and never put on a pound, and tax returns were a hazy, distant concept? Chris clearly does, and she is FUMING that the naïve protagonist in her latest track is still merrily wandering about without a care in the world, while she has to shoulder the weight of being an internationally-beloved pop star. Well, not fuming per se – more ‘writing an actually not-that-exciting ballad about it’. But we see you Chris, and we know that beneath the slow torchlit pianos lies RAGE. 

Glass Animals – ‘Heat Waves’

A break-up anthem for when you’re sad, but still sort of slightly feeling yourself, the latest cut from forthcoming LP ‘Dreamland’ arrives in a fug of sweaty summer unlovin’. “Sometimes all I think about is you/ Late nights in the middle of June/ Heat waves been fakin’ me out/ Can’t make you happier now” croons the self-styled Wavey Davey (not entirely sure how we feel about that one tbh). It’s an ode to those balmy nights when bare skin and beer gardens make everything seem OK, but you know deep down that, come drizzly September, it’ll all turn swiftly back to shit. Lesson here: don’t be fooled, but DO make your resulting track a funky lil’ woozy jam.

Maisie Peters – ‘Sad Girl Summer’

A wine-soaked girl gang anthem in the making, ‘Sad Girl Summer’ takes the Lily Allen blueprint of everyday storytelling and sends it down to All Bar One for a 2-for-1 pitcher deal. “Change your shoes, get ready/ That boy is such a loser” instructs Maisie over lilting acoustic guitars as a conveyor belt of spurned-but-sassy pals get the pep talk. It might not be as razor-sharp as Lils at her finest back in the day, but there’s an earwormy charm here that’ll see likely see Maisie do rather well indeed.

Rachel Chinouriri – ‘Beautiful Disaster’ 

It’s been a quiet year so far for buzzy Croydoner Rachel Chinouriri, but on her first cut of 2020 she proves that you don’t need a whole load of bangs and whistles to make your point. ‘Beautiful Disaster’ – a collaboration with fellow Londoner Sam Dotia – clocks in at barely over two-minutes and acts almost as a study in atmosphere more than a traditional verse-chorus song. All whispered, fragile vocals and hazy, undulating electronic backing, it’s a tender, introspective listen; sure, it’s unlikely to be blasted on Match of the Day any time soon, but Chinouriri is clearly confident enough to know that she’s not about that anyway.

Dalai Lama – ‘One of My Favourite Prayers’

Turn the speakers up to eleven muthafuckerssss! Not content with being the OG mindfulness influencer, everyone’s favourite top lad the Dalai Lama is now embarking on a music career – well, in so much as a Buddhist prayer set over pan pipes can really be considered an attempt at knocking Ed Sheeran off his pop star perch. Still, the DL did get this latest cut premiered on Pitchfork, and let’s not forget he’s already popped out for a turn on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage back in 2015 with Patti Smith. Pretty damn rock’n’roll.

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