45s of the week: Taylor Swift, Jaden Smith, Sylvan Esso and more

The tracks you need to hear. Anna Matheson reviews the singles of the week.

Taylor Swift – ‘Cardigan’

In the summer that should have seen her tour the world and headline Glastonbury, you could have forgiven Taylor Swift for taking it easy when her plans went down the toilet. But then, sitting back has never really been the 30-year-old’s style. Instead, she’s pulled the rabbit out the hat with the indie pop crossover we never knew we needed, bringing in The National’s Aaron Dessner to remotely co-write the bulk of a new fully formed 16-song album, ‘Folklore.’ The whole effort dropped last night along with a self-directed video for lead single ‘Cardigan’ that sees the singer transported to different natural scenes through a magical piano. Lyrically, the track’s a classic Swift output in its highly romanticised metaphors – this time, Swift’s an ‘old cardigan’ waiting to be adored in a tale she’s described as an ode to the nostalgia of young love. But her usual power-punch choruses are put aside in favour of a more subdued mix of delicate vocals and just a touch of that glitchy melancholy uniquely familiar to Dessner’s melodies.

Jaden Smith – ‘Cabin Fever’

One might question whether the offspring of two mega-rich actors could ever sincerely produce an artistic exploration of the claustrophobic choler of cabin fever while living in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, but far be it from us to dissuade Jaden from giving it a shot. Dubbed by the 22-year-old as his ‘quarantine love song,’ this smooth follow up to 2019’s ‘Erys’ the track forms part of forthcoming project, ‘Cool Tapes Volume 3,’ and is produced by Lady Gaga/ Ellie Goulding collaborator, BURNS. Tinged with floating beats, Smith serves up a slice of summer with lyrical references to beaches and palm trees while yearning for his lover. Which, if nothing else, proves the stars are just as thirsty for a good old summer hook up as the rest of us.

Kylie Minogue – ‘Say Something’

We may not be returning to the dance floors any time soon, but that hasn’t stopped the OG princess of pop releasing a song so laden with a heady mix of funky-riffs and disco-perfect synths that you’d be forgiven for prancing around in your living room in your PJs. The first effort from aptly named upcoming album ‘Disco,’ ‘Say Something’ is Kylie’s first output of new music since 2018’s ‘Golden’ and the star has admitted that working on new material has given her an outlet to stay sane in lockdown. It seems fitting then that in a time of great uncertainty, the track ends in a sparkling crescendo of hope with lyrics: “Cause love is love, it never ends. Can we all be as one again?”

Lydia Loveless – ‘Love Is Not Enough’

It’s been a long wait for new music since 2016’s ‘Real’, but the alt-country singer is coming in hot with a moody single straight off her upcoming album ‘Daughter.’ A charming mix of soft electric guitar and snare groove topped with smooth vocals revealing just a hint of country twang, it could feel as though the track bears the scars of the Ohio songwriter’s recent divorce from former bassist, Ben Lamb. However, Loveless has asserted that the sombre lyrics don’t just tackle individual relationships but the wider concept of love trumping hate. She explained, ‘It’s not enough to ‘feel’ the emotion of love to make things work whether it’s in your own personal relationships or the way you interact with the world.’

Sylvan Esso – ‘Ferris Wheel’

Childlike chants, dropped beats and melodic vocals combine to create this undeniably Sylvan Esso-sounding track complete with a nauseatingly catchy chorus. Accompanied by a slick video directed by Supercollider that sees the singer Amelia Meath groove her way around an abandoned fairground in South Carolina, the song is the second output from the duo’s upcoming third studio album ‘Free Love’, out in September.

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