We’re just over two weeks into 2022 and already one of the year’s marquee pop albums has arrived: The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’, which imagines a radio station hosted by Jim Carrey and brings in the likes of Tyler, the Creator, Swedish House Mafia, Lil Wayne and Quincy Jones as guests.
The record’s glossy single ‘Sacrifice’ leads this week’s NME Radio additions, which are further bolstered by Kae Tempest’s new collaboration with Kevin Abstract, a taste of the third Fontaines D.C. album and moving synth-pop from Let’s Eat Grandma.
Here’s what we’ve added to NME 1 & 2 this week:
On the A List:
Step into Abel Tesfaye’s expanding vision as The Weeknd with his new album ‘Dawn FM’, led by the single ‘Sacrifice’. Sampling Alicia Myers’ 1981 post-disco single ‘I Want To Thank You’ and boasting production from Max Martin and Swedish House Mafia, this song is tailor-made for the dancefloor.
‘People Disappear Here’
BandLab NME Awards 2022 Innovation Award honouree Halsey reached a new artistic peak with their 2021 album ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’, which was created with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Halsey has now greeted the new year by dropping an extended version of the record that concludes with ‘People Disappear Here’, which is filled with industrial guitar, subtle plinking keys and a straight-faced Nine Inch Nails reference.
‘More Pressure’ (feat. Kevin Abstract)
In April, Kae Tempest will release their fourth studio album ‘The Line Is A Curve’, which was executively produced by Rick Rubin. The super-producer was the one who suggested Tempest reach out to Brockhampton‘s Kevin Abstract to collaborate on the single ‘More Pressure’, which Tempest told NME is about how “we can reframe some of the stresses that we find ourselves under as possibilities for new growth, new resilience, new acceptance – a new level of energy can come from huge amounts of pressure”.
On the B List:
‘Jackie Down The Line’
“I’ll hate you, I’ll debase you / I am Jackie down the line,” Grian Chatten promises on ‘Jackie Down The Line’, the compelling first single from Fontaines D.C.’s third album ‘Skinty Fia’. Chatten revels in inhabiting a thoroughly dislikeable character on this song, telling Rolling Stone: “I think it’s interesting in this world where it’s incredibly important to be good, it just makes it very, very alluring to write from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t want to be good or doesn’t feel the need to pretend to be good.”
Liverpool’s The Mysterines have pulled the curtain back further on their debut album ‘Reeling’ with ‘Dangerous’, an uninhibited new single that will easily make converts of ’90s alt-rock diehards. “‘Dangerous’ is about those wild cycles that life sometimes traps you in, the ones that seem desirable at first but quickly become very ‘dangerous’,” vocalist Lia Metcalfe has said in a statement. “Whether it be with people, places, relationships – the hardest part is always letting go.”
‘So I Just / Slidin’’ (feat. Bone Slim and FELA.Mi)
North London newcomer Surya Sen makes hip-house that’s very easy to love. Together, the upbeat ‘So I Just’ (featuring Bone Slim) and the woozy ‘Slidin’’ with FELA.Mi serve as a potent introduction to Sen, who is tipped to drop his debut mixtape in March via the legendary dance imprint Skint Records.
Get stuck into Tommy Saint’s new single ‘Never’, whose drill stylings are bound to lodge in your brain. As the North London up-and-comer told Clash, this track is “about avoiding the distractions around me and staying on job”. If Saint keeps this up, he’ll no doubt become a force to be reckoned with.
On the C List:
Let’s Eat Grandma
‘Happy New Year’
Let’s Eat Grandma conceal moving lyrics amid crystalline synth-pop on their new single ‘Happy New Year’. “Nothing that was broken can touch how much I care for you / Because you know you’ll always be my best friend,” Rosa Walton sings to her bandmate and childhood friend Jenny Hollingworth on this preview of the duo’s new album ‘Two Ribbons’.
‘Watching Strangers Smile’
‘Watching Strangers Smile’ was completed by Parquet Courts frontman A. Savage during lockdown. “The music was recorded during the sessions for [2021 album] ‘Sympathy for Life’, but it was left unfinished,” he explained. “I recorded the vocals on my own to sort of keep from going stir crazy that first lockdown summer. Apologies to my neighbours for the long afternoon spent screaming these vocals in my bedroom.”
Central Cee has had a stratospheric few years – his ‘Wild West’ mixtape was the only UK debut project to go Gold last year – but he’s not getting complacent. He dropped ‘Retail Therapy’ just a week into 2022, which punctuates the west Londoner’s flexes with an addictive saxophone flourish. It’s another strong showing from his upcoming new mixtape ‘23’, dropping next month.
Gaslighting, a technique of manipulation where a victim is made to question their soundness of mind and reality, is the focus of Canadian duo Softcult’s new shoegaze-textured single, which imagines the point-of-view of a victim who’s been pushed to their limit. You’ll be able to hear more from Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn on their upcoming EP ‘Year Of The Snake’, which is due out in early February.
‘A Job Worth Something’
Silverbacks pair a topical comparison of a healthcare worker on the frontline to a far-less-essential copywriter – vocalist Daniel O’Kelly’s real-life circumstances during the pandemic – with confident post-punk on ‘A Job Worth Something’. It’s the latest single from the band’s second album ‘Archive Material’, which drops this Friday (January 21).