Fresh Music Friday: Barkaa, 5SOS, and Harry Styles

It’s Fresh Music (Saturday), a special edition just for SURG’s beloved audience, and Andy Park, Harry Gay and Georgina Rafferty are diving in to some of the most highly anticipated new hits from rap legend Barkaa, Australia’s own 5SOS (who I once saw at the Sheaf?), and the one and only Harry Styles.

Fight For Me – Barkaa

Harry: This is the best song of the bunch. The soulful backing track and hard-hitting beat compliment the angry and passionate lyrics so well. This is an upsetting and sobering song about trauma, tracing the broken link between parent and child, shattered by drug abuse and addiction. Barkaa has said this song was inspired both by her mother’s story of growing up in foster care, but also by her own experience of being absent from her children’s lives due to her past addictions. Barkaa said this is the most heartbreaking track they’ve worked on and you can hear her soul being laid out to bare on this. Fight for those you love.

Andy: I’m not the biggest listener of hip-hop in the least but this was undoubtedly moving. Barkaa poignantly captures the collective disillusionment with a system that continues to oppress her people. Her flow is straight as she honestly reflects on her struggles and shortcomings. Zaachariaha Fielding (Electric Field) punctuates Barkaa’s with a catchy and powerful hook. As much as this is a politically motivated track, it also reads like an intimate letter to her children.

Georgina: Loved the beat, loved the lyrics, then it got better. Juicy harmonies paired fantastically with hard-hitting words kept me bopping my head the whole time.

Take My Hand – 5SOS

Andy: Like many Aussie youths, 5SOS was one of the voices of my childhood and teenage. When the lead singer belts in the chorus, I am transported back to the time She Looks So Perfect echoed through the assembly hall. It’s clear that the band has adopted more contemporary pop sounds to move with the times but they’ve still kept their characteristic anthem feel. Perhaps, they played it a bit safe but this was a pleasant, nostalgic listen.

Georgina: 5SOS’s last few musical releases have struggled to resonate with me, despite being a hardcore stan in 2014. My first impression was that it felt a bit slow, and the pacing was off, a good bit of drumming and harmony helped save this over time. Feels like the build-up song before the main characters kiss in a movie. 

Harry: Truth be told, I had no idea 5 Seconds of Summer even existed anymore. I thought they had retreated into the ether after the boy band craze of the 2010s ended. In any case, I have been forced to listen to them once again in a Clockwork Orange style situation; instead of my eyes being wrenched open, though, it’s my ears. While not bad, this just is not special in any way. It is a mix and match of generic sounds seemingly generated in a lab to manufacture a hit. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying this slow drab number, not least of which is the truncated singing which sounds like it’s stabbing into my tympanums. There is no hook, no grab, to be found in this single. I can’t imagine TikTok picking this up and turning it into a success either. This is a fart in the wind.

As It Was – Harry Styles

Georgina: As a forever 1D and Harry fan, I had high hopes waking up this morning to new music and it did not disappoint. The beautiful church bells mixed with synth create nothing but serotonin in my brain. Paired with beautiful lyrics, this track has me very excited for the rest of the album. 

Harry: While I’m not much of a Harry Styles fan, he certainly has proven himself to be the most talented of the modern-day fab five, with a successful solo music and acting career. Watermelon Sugar was an annoying earworm that got overplayed on the radio and TikTok (sorry, not sorry). As it Was is a fun 80’s throwback, however, with a good hook that doesn’t get too grating, even though the chorus is virtually non-existent, merely repeating the title of the song over and over again. I like the little flourishes that are added throughout the song, such as the random tubular bells that come in right at the climax. I can’t imagine this one getting too much airtime but it’s a fun bop that is pleasant enough to listen to.

Andy: He’s back! Harry Styles has always done pop right and he hits the nail on the head again. His vocal delivery is soft and apathetic in an honest way —  his lyrics are frank as he introspects on loneliness and lost love. Fashionably dressed in 80s synths and an energetic groove (reminiscent of the riff in Take on Me), I will definitely be bopping my head to this as I cry in my bedroom.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *