When we cast an eye over this week’s new release schedule, it struck us that it felt a bit like the good old times again. You remember. The days when a multitude of well known pop acts would release singles on the same day, all hoping to race up to number one in an intense and epic week long chart battle – see Blur vs Oasis, Geri vs Emma, and Posh vs Posher.
Admittedly, the likelihood of any of this week’s new releases immediately shooting straight to the top are long gone thanks to log jammed streams for endless Drake rendering the charts pretty bloody boring indeed (yawn), and these days it’s all about who has the chance of long standing growth over a number of weeks, even months.
So with three former boyband graduates releasing new solo singles today, we feel it only right we guide you through them one by one with a handy playlist for you to listen to them all on. Let the battle commence…
- NIALL HORAN – Finally Free
Out to stream and download today via Capitol
Now it’s fair to say Nialler – he of course, being part of One Direction – is a bit of a favourite of ours on this here blog. His debut album “Flicker” is still on heavy rotation with us nine months on from its release, and his hit singles like “Slow Hands” and “On The Loose” remain total bops.
This then, his first brand new material since that time, is also his first ever song for a movie soundtrack – namely, it’s the title theme for the forthcoming animated flick Small Foot – featuring the voice talents of everyone from James Corden to Danny DeVito.
If it’s any indication of what his second album will sound like, it’s safe to say he’s smashed it again. A foot stomping, euphoric acoustic power pop belter, “Finally Free” builds up to a blinding chorus: ‘When you’re right here beside me / There’s nothing else I need / Yeah, your eyes keep me reminding / That nothing’s out of reach / When you’re with me, it feels like I’m finally free’.
Considering the last decent title song for an animated film was Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” for Trolls, we’d say with this pedigree and the success he’s had on his own so far that Master Horan has assuredly got another huge hit on his hands.
- DANNY JONES – Is This Still Love
Out to stream and download today via Danny Jones Music
If you want to raise a hot bone of contention to any members of McFly at the moment, it seems you simply have to passive aggressively send a caps locked Tweet to them as to when their sixth album – the one that was due for release in 2013 before McBusted happened – is ever going to be released.
The truth is though, petty fangirl politics on social media aside, is that no one can say for now when they’ll return from their indefinite hiatus, what with Tom Fletcher’s continued success as a bestselling author, vlogger, and stage show extraordinaire with his ‘The Christmasaurus’ project.
Enter then the Bolton wanderer Danny Jones, who launches his solo career proper this week with his first ever single. Even back at the band’s height, he was always touted for potential solo success, so “Is This Still Love” has a lot riding on it already following his recent launch gig at Islington Academy in London.
As The Voice Kids judge has often cited, one of his biggest influences is Bruce Springsteen, so it’s not unsurprising that a touch of the legendary rocker’s bluesy stylings creep through onto this cool, understated but slow burning number with a slight 80s feel. By which we mean it takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate, but it’s a style of music that you can tell he feels right at home on.
- MAX GEORGE – Barcelona
Out to stream and download today via Silver Max Entertainment
The Wanted were always a puzzler where boybands and pop at the start of this decade were concerned for the present writer. Chiefly because there was only two singles of theirs they truly soared to great heights on – that being their Ed Drewett penned chart toppers “All Time Low” and “Glad You Came”.
They seemed to spend the majority of their subsequent career trying – and failing – to recapture the pop majesty of these two releases (not to mention starring in terrible reality shows and constantly playing handbags at dawn first with One Direction, then each other) so when they split in 2015, no one was expecting much in the way of solo magic from any of them – confirmed when Nathan Sykes released an album of so-so John Legend cast offs and disappeared into the ether thereafter.
Max George’s first release is a revelation though. Always the band’s most gifted vocalist, as most good summertime songs should be “Barcelona” is a top pop bop tailor made for the beach and the bars with a Pina Colada to hand (and what sounds like a trumpet break when the second chorus kicks in) reminiscing about a holiday romance and trying to turn it into something more: ‘Met you on a beach in Barcelona / Spent the whole night talking till the sun came up / Had me feeling like I’ve always known ya / And I knew I’d never get enough’.
Of course, the true judge of things will be whether he progresses and develops himself rather than make the mistakes his former band did. But on this single alone, there’s a promising case to argue that Max will make a success of himself as a solo artist.
Which boybander gone solo has released your favourite this week? Don’t forget to Tweet us or comment below and let us know your thoughts on our #SongoftheWeek this week!