What’s On Your Liberty Air 2 Pro? #2: NME’s Thomas Smith

In partnership with Soundcore

To celebrate the arrival of Soundcore’s next generation of wireless earbuds, the Liberty Air 2 Pro, we here at NME have partnered with the team at Soundcore to find out what music is keeping us all going as we bravely step into 2021. 

Following the inaugural edition of our special What’s On Your Liberty Air 2 Pro? series – featuring NME’s own Hannah Mylrea – this week it’s the turn of our New Music Editor Thomas Smith to tell us which artists and records he’s been listening to on his Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds this month.

Stay tuned to NME.com in the coming weeks to hear more about the Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds.

Thomas Smith

New Music Editor at NME

NME’s Thomas Smith wearing Soundcore’s Liberty Air 2 Pro

I’m currently listening to…

James Brown – ‘I Got Ants In My Pants (And I Want To Dance)’

I recently watched the James Brown biopic Get On Up which features the late, great Chadwick Boseman as The Godfather of Soul. Boseman totally nails Brown’s voice, mannerisms and dance moves in every scene – he’s just phenomenal.

‘I Got Ants In My Pants (And I Want To Dance)’ is on the more cartoonish-end of Brown’s discography, and his band’s muscular groove does much of the heavy lifting on this one – you can basically hear Brown’s toe tapping away in the background when they take over.

The artist that helps me unwind…


It takes a remarkable amount of effort to make music so chilled, and Khruangbin have totally mastered it. The trio make all of their music in an isolated barn in the middle of Texas that has no internet and barely even a roof – so it’s no surprise that a certain laissez-faire attitude seeps into their music. Their third album, ‘Mordechai’, is a good entry point for newbies as the band embrace bassist Laura Lee’s vocals for some pop-leaning numbers (‘Time’) but show restraint on some of the more ambient cuts (‘First Class’). Utter bliss.

The artist I’m most excited for in 2021…


It’s been so difficult for new artists to build momentum in the last year or so, and DJs and producers might have had it the hardest: their music is usually so informed by and celebrated when played live at clubs and festivals. In spite of that, Logic1000’s new EP is powerful enough to succeed outside of a live performance environment, and her energy has proven to be a real pick-me-up on some of the rougher days we’ve been subjected to during the pandemic.

The best feature of the Liberty Air 2 Pro…

The touch functions on both earbuds make it dead easy to pause, skip or replay without having to fish your phone out of your pocket to control the music. There’s also the option to customise said touch functions in the integrated Soundcore app, so you can set up a system that works best for you.

The song that makes me hopeful for the future…

The Avalanches – ‘Running Red Lights’

The Aussie group’s third LP ‘We Will Always Love You’ turned out to be a late contender for my favourite album of 2020. Featuring some truly stellar musicians as guests (Karen O, Jamie xx, Johnny Marr), it’s a spritely listen that’s somewhat at odds with its rather existential subject matter (getting marooned in space on your tod).

I’ve never been much of a Weezer fan, but I totally fell for Rivers Cuomo’s loved-up gibberish on ‘Running Red Lights’ – it’s got the spirit of a lost psych-dance cut from the ‘70s, but is powered by some modern-day pop production. I take real joy from listening to artists that continually up their game, and you get the sense that The Avalanches are keen to push their own boundaries after two decades in the game. It reminds me that there are always better days in the future – you just have to keep moving forward.

You can find out more about Soundcore and the Liberty Air 2 Pro by heading here.