It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Spark’s music expert and legendary L.A. radio DJ Nic Harcourt to weigh in on what new music he’s got on repeat at the moment. Below, he shares his newest picks added to his Spark Radio playlist and shares a spotlight on his favorite earworm of the week.
New to Spark Radio:
Faye Webster: Cheers
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: We’re On Our Way Now
The Joy Formidable: Into the Blue
Typhoons: Royal Blood
Tom Freund: Happy Uke
Jessie Ware: Please
Spotlight: Billie Eilish: Your Power
Unless you were a Gen-Z kid, discovering and sharing Billie Eilish’s early singles “Ocean Eyes” and “Bellyache” on TikTok and Snapchat, then you were most likely caught completely unawares by the seemingly sudden success of her 2019 debut album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? The album topped charts around the world, quickly infiltrated social media and television, and could be heard well, just about everywhere, (including your local supermarket and coffee shop) and she swept the big four categories of last year’s Grammy awards with Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.
Pop music comes and goes, it is by its very nature a disposable commodity. Don’t get me wrong, we all have songs that stick in our memories because of the important moments in our lives when we first heard them (who we were with, where we were etc.) but there’s a long list of pop stars who shone brightly only to never be heard from again, at least until the nostalgia package tours or when a song is rediscovered in a TV commercial or on TikTok. With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether Eilish and her producer/brother Finneas are built for the long haul, it would seem that they are.
Eilish’s Bond theme for “No Time To Die” (when will we get to see Daniel Craig’s covid delayed final turn as 007?) proved that she can mix it up with an orchestra, and although she kept a relatively low profile during 2020, she released a couple of singles “My Future” and “Therefore I Am” that hinted at a new direction, one that pushed electronics into the background, and added more organic instrumentation, freeing up the space for her most important instrument, her voice.
Up next? “Your Power”, an acoustic ballad that gives us perhaps some of her most personal lyrics to date as she addresses power dynamics in a relationship and a man who has taken advantage of a younger impressionable teenager. “She said you were a hero / You played the part / But you ruined her in a year.” But it’s not just personal; as a society, the last few years have seen long-overdue reckonings with bad behavior in all areas of life, not just the entertainment industry or politics. Social media exposure and public shaming have forced accountability on the previously unaccountable. As she sings “Will you only feel bad when they find out? / If you could take it all back, would you?” As the song was released to the world, Eilish posted this statement on Instagram. “ I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart. This is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced. I hope this can inspire change.”
Check out the track on this week’s playlist adds and have a gander at the official ‘Your Power’ video, which I’ve posted below. The video, which features an 80lb Anaconda wrapping itself around Billie’s neck and upper body, (you can rent anything in LA) was created and directed by her, (her fourth official self directed music video) and was shot in Simi Valley, just outside of her hometown of Los Angeles. Billie Eilish’s sophomore album Happier Than Ever drops July 30.