Hear all of this music on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.
Dylan Cartlidge – “Hang My Head”
Dylan Cartlidge‘s “Hang My Head” is such a massively catchy, soul-pop, maximalist song that it really should have been considered for the UK’s Eurovision entry. Cartlidge would undoubtedly have drawn far more votes than the measly zero we ended up with. Cartlidge goes from singing super sweet soul, hook-filled pop, and brilliant flowing rapping within this song. It’s wrapped around a killer chorus urging us to “keep on moving” even if he still “hangs his head” now and then. It’s an empathic and positive message, and the melody will never leave your head. That, I promise. We can’t wait to hear what he has up his sleeve next.
Cartlidge says the song “is about when you feel like you’ve let others down, especially yourself. When, for whatever reason, physically or morally, you’ve taken a wrong turn or made a bad choice, but not the ‘I shouldn’t have parked there’ kind. It’s the silent one that you only think about or notice on the way home to your loved ones. It touches upon self-growth and learning from your mistakes, and trying your best to get out the front door every day knowing you’re doing yourself, your work, and your family justice.”
Lenka – “Ivory Tower”
Australian pop’s Lenka has a brand new banger of a single. “Ivory Tower” is peppy melodic synthpop influenced by the sounds of the 1980s, especially Cyndi Lauper and the dance-pop of that era. It’s an absolute earworm with a melody that seems to have always existed. Lenka takes down the “privileged princess” type that selfishly values their riches and consumption above all. What sounds on the surface like a bubbly, happy pop tune has a more profound point. The deep problems we have today, like institutional racism, income inequality, and a fragile environment, all stem from the greedy taking more than their fair share and entrenching their power above the needs of everyone else. Sometimes a little pop ditty is a lot more than just that. Lenka hits all the right notes on “Ivory Tower”.
“This song is essentially about me trying to get inside the heads of the rich, powerful, selfish ‘princesses’ that only care about themselves while others suffer,” says Lenka.
Tilda Allie and Larry London – “Dreamworld”
Swedish alt-soul artist Tilda Allie collaborates with British producer Larry London on her latest stunning and sultry single, “Dreamworld”. Allie has a remarkable, expressive voice that conveys deep emotion as she dances around the melody’s notes with jazz-like ease. That vocal power stands front and center in “Dreamworld” as it should, with London’s minimalist beats and grooves moving around her. With this much talent, she won’t be under the radar for much longer.
Beharie – “Don’t Wanna Know”
Alt-R&B’s Beharie sports a smooth and groove-laden sound as heard on his latest single, “Don’t Wanna Know”. This is sophisticated, jazz-inflected alternative soul in the realm of Jordan Rakei, Tom Misch, and Michael Kiwanuka. The music is warm and inviting, carefully layered and constructed, and oozing a soulful dreaminess. The Norwegian artist wrote the tune to explore masculinity, sexuality, and gender identity. It’s a sweet song that makes you think and chill out in equal measures.
Beharie says, “I wanted to make this film to portray a phase in life that can often be extremely confusing, anxious, and filled with overwhelming emotions, while at the same time challenging the concept of masculinity and exploring if there is room for vulnerability within it. The main character goes through a phase of wanting to be masculine. At the same time, he is feeling overwhelmed by confusing feelings related to his best friend. ‘Am I not tough enough for him? Do I need to train more?'”
Ana De Llor – “Malèna”
Ana De Llor brings Portuguese folk elements to moody avant pop on “Malèna”, a track that looks at how society attempts to control women and their bodies. De Llor is defiant in her celebration of women’s power and criticizes the “fragile ego” of the patriarchy for “mansplaining why I exist”. The striking video visuals also highlight how men have traditionally been allowed to define women’s “beauty”. Women highlighting our own beauty can be inclusive and vast, allowing those previously marginalized to be part of the beautiful whole. These sentiments are matched with banging beats, multi-tracked choruses, and the Portuguese drum known as an adufe.
“Both the track and video are about women’s identity not belonging to society’s mold of what a woman is supposed to be in order to be accepted as one,” says De Llor. “It’s about literally not caring what the patriarchy thinks or says and about elevating all the ways we exist in the world.”