From Ariana Grande + Gwen Stefani to PJ Harvey + Last Shadow Puppets
Andrew Trendell

07:00 19th March 2016

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If you want music that's larger than life and forces you to stretch your arms up to the sky in love, then Lights is the one for you. That same love she puts into her own record, she also translates into a sheer admiration for the music of others. 

That's why this week, we're handing her the reigns - asking her to lend her wise ears to review the biggest new tracks of the week, from Ariana Grande and Gwen Stefani to PJ Harvey, Bat For Lashes and The Last Shadow Puppets...

Cat’s Eyes - 'Drag'
"Off the top I really like the chord changes, really unpredictable but still satisfying. I like the lo-fi, soft vocals, it feels really ambient and cool. The production is pretty classic and I think it could belong to any era. Lyrically this song employs one of my favourite songwriting tactics, a soft and happy-ish sounding song written about something really dark. Apparently these folks don’t get along."

Last Shadow Puppets - 'Aviation'
"This one didn’t stand out much to me until the chorus, but there it is! I like the words, suddenly everything makes sense. The rhythm of the vocals are really interesting. The string section makes it feel cinematic which definitely contributes to the visual aspects of the lyric."

PJ Harvey - 'The Community of Hope'
"I always notice lyrics first in a song. This lyric pretty much sounds like an essay on the state of a capitalist society with very little poetic flare but I think it really works in this song. I always love to hear songs written for a greater purpose, I think it’s an important time for that if you have something to say. All the melodies are super simple making this kind of a sad anthem."

Ariana Grande - 'Dangerous Woman'
"I don’t love the verses in this (doesn’t quite stand up to the rest of the track) but the sweet, unexpected melody in this pre chorus is really killer and sets up the dark, powerful chorus really well. Most of the lyrics I can’t really understand, but I like how she mumbles a lot. Some people can get away with that because their vocals are so great. I don’t really believe her when she sings “I live for danger” though."

Rostam - 'Gravity Don’t Pull Me'
"This is really weird and cool. I can’t tell if he is about to laugh or start bawling to be honest. But it’s easy to listen to, I like all the filtering synth arpeggios that run throughout, I suppose that’s what moves along what would ultimately be a pretty simple and slow song. It’s really great when the lo-fi 808s kick in."

Bat for Lashes - 'In God’s House'
"This one is ultra dark, I can’t fully tell what’s going on in the story even after a few listens. But I’m getting a dark bride vibe. I like how unpredictable it is. Not my favourite Bat for Lashes track, but I love her fearlessness and pure force of creativity."

Gwen Stefani - 'Misery'
"Gwen has been one of my heroes for years! I think she’s such a legend. This isn’t my favourite song of hers though. Some of the lyrics in this are really cheap but when the chorus kicks in I like it a lot. I love her voice and think she can get away with anything for the most part. She’s doing some stuff with it that’s really moving in this track. I like the Cyndi Lauper vibe!"

Peter Bjorn and John - 'What You Talking About?'
"The energy of this one is awesome, and some of the production flares like the little hooky bell in the tag is really interesting. The melody wanders all over the place and I really like most of that. Sometimes I wish it would resolve more, it feels like the melody is trying to be too dark over major chords but that was likely done purposefully."

Lights releases new album Midnight Machines on 8 April.

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Photo: Press