Chart Mondays: Nicki Minaj - Super Freaky Girl

Another week has gone by, and Sam Smith & Kim Petras are still at the UK top spot on the chart with "Unholy", so this time I'm reviewing "Super Freaky Girl" by Nicki Minaj, and I never know what to expect when it comes to this queen of hip-hop, but I can guarantee she serves in every visual, and this is just another serve and a half! Selling sex, fierceness and charged energy, Nicki Minaj doesn't disappoint both with this song and the music video, and you can totally understand why she has hit after hit after hit.

Sampling Rick James' "Super Freak" throughout, Nicki Minaj transforms the track creating lyrics about sexual fantasies and desires while also rapping about the length of her career. The songwriters are listed as Rick James, Alonzo Miller, Lukasz Gottwald, Aaron Joseph, Lauren Miller, Vaughn Oliver, Onika Maraj, and Gamal Lewis, with Dr. Luke, Malibu Babie, Vaughn Oliver, and Aaron Joseph acting as producers.

The music video sees Nicki Minaj as a Barbie-like character who also has a love interest who resembles Ken - played by Alexander Ludwig (known for being in The Hunger Games, Vikings, and Heels, as well as The Band Perry's music video "Gentle On My Mind"). The video feels like it's straight out of Fergie's music video for "M.I.L.F. $", it's that suburban lifestyle, only Nicki Minaj has a more sexed-up style, with sexual intentions and suggestions. There's choreography, of sorts, passionate delivery from this queen rapper, and there are also some vicious (freaky) accessories within the scenes including a very sharp knife and some scissors.

New Release: As December Falls - Mayday

I've been a fan of As December Falls for a couple of years now after first discovering them from a Facebook advert, and I've never looked back since, having bought their signed CDs from their store (yes I love signed CDs, I'm addicted), and signed up to their Patreon (the BEST Patreon account I've ever signed up to), and I've listened to their songs again and again. They've literally filled the gap of mainstream-rock female-led rock that I've been needing to fill ever since Paramore went synth-rock, and while some bands and artists occasionally stepped into the gap like Evanescence, Avril Lavigne, The Pretty Reckless, Olivia Rodrigo, and Bronnie, I never quite filled that gap until As December Falls came along, and now they're my favourite female-led rock band and I've loved every single track, cover, and demo they've ever dropped (including the ones on their Patreon, in addition to the track that Ande Hunter took lead vocals on, exclusive to Patreon).

The four-piece, consisting of Bethany Hunter, Ande Hunter, Timmy Francis, and Lukas James, hail from Nottingham and have been on the music scene since 2014, rising and building their fanbase. Two studio albums later and they're boasting millions of Spotify streams and sold-out tour dates! They've definitely on the verge of huge success, and I am totally here for it, especially as they're an independent band.

Directed by Justin Griffiths, this music video is a pure performance piece that totally showcases the band's vibe and energy. "Mayday" is hard rock at its finest and allows each of the band members to shine with the music video visually showcasing that during awesome cut scenes and unforgettable visuals. 

It was shot in a prison, and the band recruited some of their fans to star in the music video. There's also a slight narrative as we watch Bethany Hunter start singing in the corridor of the prison with orange overalls in her hands as arms reach out to her through the bars - easily referencing the lockdown that the pandemic caused - and later we see her performing the track whilst wearing the orange jumpsuit.

Such an amazing music video, that correlates well with the track, as "Mayday" is all about coming out of lockdown and struggling to be back outside and socialising - it really was a tough time for everyone.

“'Mayday' is our heaviest track to date. It was inspired after coming out of lockdown, we were so used to being trapped in our houses that getting back to normal life and going back to socialising outside was a struggle. It’s about becoming acclimated to things that aren’t healthy for you and breaking down those walls,” Bethany Hunter said of the track. She also went on to talk about the upcoming album, "The album is a call to arms. We were so tired of the music industry being full of sharks and just the world in general at the moment. Everywhere you look, it’s just falling to shit. It’s about not sticking to the rules when you know there’s a better way. It’s a middle finger up to old ways, that we can do this without that bullshit. That’s why we called it 'Join The Club'.”

Chart Mondays: Steve Lacy - Bad Habit

With Sam Smith & Kim Petras still at number one on the UK chart with "Unholy" - a song I adore and I hope will continue its reign for many weeks, I decided to choose to review "Bad Habit" by Steve Lacy for my Chart Mondays review. This song has peaked at number eight here in the UK after being stalled at number nine for the past two weeks, will it rise again next week? The track has had global success managing to chart at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as charting in the top five in Australia, Israel, and New Zealand, becoming his biggest global hit to date.

Written by Steve Lacy, Diana Gordon (yes, that's Wynter Gordon who sang that hit song "Dirty Talk"), John Kirby, Britanny Fousheé, and Matthew Castellanos, "Bad Habit" is an addictive R'n'B indie song that has a hint of dance thrown in which is what makes this song extra catchy. Steve Lacy has been in the music industry for a few years and seems to be underrated so it's great to see him get the recognition he deserves.

The music video, directed by Julian Klincewicz, doesn't have a lot going on, Steve Lacy performs the track in a studio space where he can be seen dancing and moving to the track while a pulsating light switches colours, freestyling and just being himself, almost as if the camera was left running and the song was played on repeat and he was left to do his own thing. There's a clear passion for the track displayed, and the scenes with his dog are adorable. Halfway through, the visual takes on a blurred concept which then intercuts the other scenes in the rest of the video - my takeaway from it is that it suggests that things could be different in an alternative reality, which links in with the concept of the track.

Rutherford Royal - Back Burner

Spreading a bit of laid-back country and western music onto my blog is the recently released debut single by Rutherford Royal, titled "Back Burner". The song goes on to add an element of rock about three-quarters of the way through, bringing the listener right back in, before slowing it down to a mild and chill level as the song comes to a close.

Rutherford Royal, real name Andrew Christopher Rutherford Royal, is a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter, who manages to showcase everything he has got on this track, "Back Burner". He hails from the barrier islands of South Carolina and likes to use his deep connection with the land in his non-traditional music, gaining inspiration from the eastern south, transforming dark rock and indie Americana with current country and western rhythmic vibes. "Back Burner" totally showcases his awesome and unique art. He is set to release a debut album soon.

Talking about the track, Rutherford Royal said: "The boy has been waiting for the girl to fall in love with him as he watches her burn through several brief, meaningless, and destructive relationships. Despite clear signs that he should move on, he is determined to die on this hill. Often it feels like the right thing to do is take the side of love and wait for the one you know you’ll never get over. This can be the single most destructive decision you ever make, but half-measures will only lead to a life of what-ifs."

Chart Mondays: Ed Sheeran - Celestial

I might be making Chart Mondays difficult for me by covering this music video right now, but it's new in the UK chart at number five and it's full of such cute visuals, that I just had to cover it today, so I'm hoping it doesn't rise up to number one - although, it is Ed Sheeran, and it's one of my favourite songs he has released. Since Sam Smith & Kim Petras are still at number one with "Unholy", I chose this song from the UK Top 10.

Written by Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, and Johnny McDaid, with the former two songwriters co-producing the track, "Celestial" is an addicting track that has a cute autumnal vibe to it perfect as the weather changes from summer to autumn. Clear and crisp, the song has that exciting feeling of love mixed throughout with Ed Sheeran's vocals on fire from start to finish.

The music video, directed by Yuichi Kodama with Genki Kawamura and Masami Hatanaka acting as producers, is a fun day in the life of Ed Sheeran the Pokémon trainer. The visuals mix real life with cartoon animation warping both worlds into almost an augmented reality concept as if both complement each other. I like the idea of Ed Sheeran being the only person who can see the Pokémon, so when he's travelling on Lapras or Charizard, the average general public sees Ed Sheeran travelling on invisible creatures.

The first half of the video comes off better on story concept, I love the idea of us all having our own Pokémon in our homes, helping around the house (or making things worse). The second half becomes more skewed, with Ed Sheeran just going about and walking on the street, but then ending up at the end trying to stop Mew and MewTwo, regardless of that, the imagery in the second half is beautiful, that field with the Bulbasaurs is just epic!