The best (and worst) new singles: Miiesha, Montaigne and a revitalised Crowded House
01.06.2021

The best (and worst) new singles: Miiesha, Montaigne and a revitalised Crowded House

Miiesha - image by Cole Bennetts
Words by August Billy

There’s some great tracks and one not so good.

Our singles column fires up for another fortnight with spots for Miiesha, Martin Garrix, Crowded House and Montaigne. We’ll let you decide which artists hit the spot and which ones didn’t.

Keep up to date with all the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

Best

Miiesha – ‘Damaged’

Miiesha goes deep on her first single since last year’s ARIA-winning Nyaaringu. While that record was indebted to and infused with the maternal strength of the Anangu and Torres Strait Islander artist’s grandmother, ‘Damaged’ is drawn from a more difficult aspect of Miiesha’s past. Over a guitar-lined neo soul beat from Melbourne producer Lucianblomkamp, Miiesha explores the broken relationship she has with her mother.

While the subject matter is heartbreaking, Miiesha doesn’t skimp on the hooks, with lines like, “Make your mistakes just don’t let your mistakes make you,” delivered with the melodic elan of someone at the top of their game.

Worst

Martin Garrix feat. Bono & The Edge – ‘We Are the People’

Look, this could’ve been much worse. And there are numerous lesser versions of this song out there – e.g. Coldplay and Avicii’s ‘Hymn For the Weekend’ and, well, everything by Maroon 5 post-2002. ‘We Are the People’ is the official song for the 2020 (but really 2021) UEFA European Football Championship and thus trades in vaguely empowering lyrics and big, entirely familiar melodic gestures from Bono and Garrix’s inoffensive EDM production.

But at the risk of condemning Bono and The Edge for simply trying to broaden their horizons, you’ve really got to ask, what’s the point? How much were they paid for this? And do they really have nothing better to do with their time than create entirely forgettable, if not awful footy anthems?

Old dogs, new zeal

Crowded House – ‘Playing With Fire’

Crowded House sound limber, renewed and slyly political on the third single from their upcoming comeback album, Dreamers Are Waiting. ‘Playing With Fire’ credits all five band members as co-writers and apparently stemmed from a loose jam in Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio)’s home studio. Completed during lockdown, Neil Finn’s lyrics are imbued with the anxieties of the COVID era.

But Finn – who now counts his sons Liam and Elroy Finn as band mates – isn’t just moaning about the disruption to his affluent lifestyle. With lines like, “Let’s all be quiet/The next generation’s talking,” and “We’re driving straight to the wall,” the spectre of the climate crisis brings added weight to the otherwise jaunty ‘Playing With Fire’. Everything’s shaping up for Dreamers Are Waiting to be one of Crowded House’s most vital releases to date.

Still a friggin’ banger

Montaigne – ‘Technicolour’

This song isn’t brand new, but after Montaigne’s early exit from Eurovision last week it felt an apt time to remind everyone of just how good ‘Technicolour’ is. You can understand why Montaigne’s performance didn’t secure her a finals spot – the Sydney-based artist was below her best – but in terms of sheer songwriting quality and vocal delivery, ‘Technicolour’ is one of Eurovision 2021’s out and out winners.

This isn’t some jingoistic endorsement – I wasn’t flying the flag for Kate Miller-Heidke’s ‘Zero Gravity’ from EV 2019. Rather, ‘Technicolour’ excels for how it manages to transmute Montaigne’s art pop sensibilities and vocal peculiarities into a thrashing, addictive pop song.

Keen on another fun read? Check out the latest instalment of our indie artists column.