New Music Friday: Adele! Kelly Clarkson x Ariana Grande! Billy Porter! More!

 New Music Friday: Adele! Kelly Clarkson x Ariana Grande! Billy Porter! More!

Hello, it’s me. The true arrival of Q4 and the return of a certain artiste made now feel like a spot-on time to get back to New Music Friday round-ups after almost exactly three months in the wilderness, so here we go. On the one hand, the completionist in me is sorry to have missed several weeks’ worth of blogs, but on the other… wow, I’m glad I wasn’t doing it last week!!

Anyhoo, here are the new songs being added to my rolling 2021 playlist (which has been continually updated all year, even if this here website hasn’t).

We start with – who else? – Adele; whose return with Easy On Me is comfortingly familiar; the kind of piano ballad that wouldn’t sound amiss on 21… except, when you really listen, it would. There’s a world-weariness to her voice; a maturity to the lyrics that plant her very firmly in the here-and-now – not as a crestfallen early-twentysomething but a mother trying to articulate to her son why his domestic norm has imploded. I know there’s the promise of more creatively bold stuff on her album, but for now, this is the emotional sucker-punch most of us wanted. I don’t tend to rush to Adele’s music when she’s not actively in the spotlight, but she just feels like a Blockbuster Event and I’m always very much here for it.

Elsewhere, it’s the first day of Christmas! I don’t make the rules; Kelly Clarkson does. Her second holiday album When Christmas Comes Around… (not, of course, to be confused with Matt Terry’s winner’s single) is out today, and the Ariana Grande collab – whilst not currently an official single (so I’m bending my own playlist rules a bit here) – is surely set to be the song that turns the most heads. Santa, Can’t You Hear Me has all the glitter-fabulousness you’d want from these two joining forces at the most wonderful time of the year, and whilst I do wish the chorus had a tiny bit more of a rush about it to match the excitement elsewhere on the song, it’s a high-camp smash!

Elsewhere, Foxes continues the lead-up to her long-long-long-awaited third album with new single Dance Magic; which – while not as ~immediate as Sister Ray – is still a certified bop. MNEK and Jade Thirlwall are among the writers of Billy Porter‘s new song Children, which slaps; and GRACEY hits another bullseye with Sad Song, from her new EP Fragile.

Finally, this season’s girlgroup song from Drag Race UK is no Break Up Bye Bye or UK Hun?, but BDE (Big Drag Energy) still stacks up pretty well against other custom-made songs from across the franchise. The mid-tempo Pick ‘N Mix version, stolen by River Medway, is of course the best, though I’d be surprised if we saw scenes similar to those caused by the United Kingdolls.

Listen to all this and more on the rolling 2021 playlist here, or below.

Shaun Kitchener

Scriptwriter for the theatre and TV (currently Hollyoaks) and freelance entertainment ~reportage.