MNEK & Zara Larsson, “Never Forget You” (Epic, 2016)/Daya, “Hide Away” (Artbeatz, 2015)

Over at The Singles Jukebox, we reviewed “Never Forget You” back in October, as it was just creeping into the UK top 40. It eventually made it into the top 10, with Larsson’s subsequently re-released “Lush Life” now up to #2 in the UK. (And I will point out that last August, in my review of “Lush Life,” I said that it sounded like a big fat radio hit, and still expect to be proven right here in the US, because I expect it to follow its UK release pattern and come out in about 3 months, once “Never Forget You” has completed its run.) But while I wasn’t surprised at all to see “Forget” make it big in the UK, I’m still surprised it’s done so in the US, because this isn’t the pneumatic EDM/pop of Calvin Harris or the Chainsmokers. Not only is it more subtle — sure, it sounds big, especially with your speakers up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean unsubtle — but it’s both a) a female/male duet (which you don’t hear a lot of on US pop radio) and b) kinda UK 2-steppy circa 2001. But in today’s US radio landscape, amazingly, anything beat-driven seems like it gets immediately boosted up a bit. Does that mean that those of us who’ve been listening to electronic dance music for the past 20+ years have “won”? Or is it more like Candlebox following in Nirvana’s wake? (I vote the latter.)

Also, I love that we’ve returned to the era of the slow-burn radio hit. Case in point – and it covers the above point, too – is Daya’s “Hide Away.” TSJ took it on in September (I liked it better than any of my colleagues, hearing her as another sister-of-Lorde with bigger beats), but it only just peaked at US pop radio. When I’m in the car with my boyfriend, we often listen to the local rhythmic/top 40 station, and these days they play “Hide Away” about as often as they play the Biebs. It’s a little record on a little indie label, but with the right patience and nurturing, it became a big fat hit. She’s teamed up with Chainsmokers on their next single (spoiler alert: it’s not all that), and I suspect that it’ll be a big one, too. If you’d told me even two years ago that electronic-based records would be the sound of top 40 today, I never would’ve believed you, yet here we are.



About thomasinskeep

I write about music.
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