As the days become increasingly short, music is perhaps our only light keeping us going until the holiday season starts proper. So, we bring you our pick of the bunch to keep those spirits high from the musically varied Panoptic team. You can listen to our Spotify playlist, and follow us, here.

Freddie Metherell, ‘Fish’ by Will Joseph Cook

I’m always a sucker for some shameless pop music and Will Joseph Cook so often fails to disappoint. Fresh from the release of his first studio album earlier year, he’s back and in the main, he’s bringing his sickly sweet writing style with him. But as a continuously creative soul, ‘Fish’ is an adjustment from his upbeat melodies, but my favourite from his latest three track EP. In this new song, he strikes on an arresting combination of two unlikely topics. The first, a love of the gill-bearing aquatic craniate animal, which acts as the song’s namesake. The second, a millennial desire for escapism. Unsurprisingly, this tune is packed full of catchy hooks but the lyrics make for a twisted dark fantasy in which he asks you to “imagine if drowning felt like bliss”. Desperation for some relief in the unpleasant realities of 21st century life is understandably a hot topic right now.

Brooklyn Jones, ‘World Gone Mad’ by Bastille

You would expect that a song written by Bastille for a dystopian Netflix movie starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton playing a human/orc cop-duo would be ridiculous. And, like me, you would be wrong. The song is haunting, and gorgeous, and perfectly political. Lead singer Dan Smith is a self-proclaimed movie buff, which makes his appearance on this soundtrack no surprise.

He draws on the madness of our current world with lines like “If half the world’s gone mad the other half just don’t care” and “We’re lying to ourselves, and dancing by the light of the screen”. Lead singer Dan Smith’s falsetto rings out while gently telling the listener “you don’t wanna fuck with us.”

Bastille have been teasing us with tasters for weeks now, so I am incredibly excited about this single. Their last album was subtly political, this single is outright and outraged. Honestly, go listen to it.

Clare Clarke, ‘Lemon’ by N.E.R.D. and Rihanna

I can’t get over this track, released at the beginning of this month. Rihanna raps, and N.E.R.D. are back. For the uninitiated, N.E.R.D. is a trio comprising of Pharrell Williams, Shay Haley, and Chad Hugo, who’s name stands for No-one Ever Really Dies. Having been AWOL for a while now, ‘Lemon’ is their first single in seven years and its release (and RiRi’s feature) has sparked several responses in the media. The song starts with the line, “the truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off”, and the tight lyrics set against a looped “wait – wait a minute” becomes weirdly addictive. And then Rihanna begins to rap on her guest verse, with moreish lines like “this beat tastes like lunch”. It’s the perfect song to hype to, and especially good for incorporating into your cardio regime; keep it coming N.E.R.D.

EJ Oakley, ‘I Was A Fool’ by Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean are perhaps one of New York’s, if not America’s, most hardworking bands, and their unrelenting pace of output is certainly proof of that. Fresh off the Anger Can Be Power summit (which frontwoman Julia Cumming helped organise), as well as a seemingly never ending tour in the wake of their 2016 album, the three-piece have now released ‘I Was A Fool’, just in time for the end-of-year single rush. Taking a surprisingly different direction from their previous post-punk outing, ‘Human Ceremony’, this new track is surprisingly mellow, and leans towards T-Rex a la ‘Life’s A Gas’ instead of Joy Division, on the spectrum of Sunflower Bean’s known classic rock influences. Is this a welcome change? Most definitely. If there is indeed an album in the works, the path they’re going down is one that I will tread with excitement.

Sidrah Zubair, ‘goodlord’ by Jitwam feat. Nick Walters

As I sat at my desk last night in a coffee-induced haze, trying to figure out how I was going to submit all my essays on time, this tune provided me with a much-needed optimism for a brief moment. The simplistic beat ensures that focus remains on the powerful, jazzy trumpets and Nick Walter’s soulful voice, the combination of which is capable of uplifting most people. Though he is still quite unknown on the music scene, Jitwam’s production style is eclectic, bringing together a range of sounds and genres to make tracks that ooze with emotion.

Image: ‘Lemon’ Music Video, N.E.R.D. and Rihanna

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