Song of the Week delves into the new songs we just can’t get out of our heads. Find these tracks and more in our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Slowdive returns with “Kisses,” their first new song in six years.
Six years after their major comeback – their stellar 2017 self-titled album – Slowdive is back again for more. “Kisses” is the first single from Giants’ upcoming album, Shoegaze. It’s all aliveand happy reintroductions to what they do best.
From the moment the groove kicks in and the band’s signature guitar riff kicks in, it’s crystal clear just how influential they’ve been over the years – with Gen Z, Spotify, and TikTok embracing emotion channeling to counter their out-of-this-world chaos, Slowdive’s dreamy, soothing sounds have been recycled by dozens of bands. indie, bedroom pop producers, and even top 40 stars. Shoegaze has evolved from a niche subgenre into an atmospheric sensibility suitable for any style of music.
But Slowdive is more than just hazy guitars and dreamy melodies. It’s also more than just music to play when you’re sad or stoned. Slowdive can create an entire atmosphere on a single strum, or on a single common note between singers Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell. They let their vocals envelop them, and the reverberation is so thick that when the band is at full force, the elements wash in and out of focus like windshield wipers.
On “Kisses,” the band roots their sound for another simple yet evocative quartet melody, with much of the track’s trepidation arriving at the vibrant guitars and tenderness of Halstead and Goswell’s vocals. Where their captivating title takes the band almost black and white, “Kisses” lets in the sunlight, and colors slowly begin to take shape as the song unfolds.
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The production of their new album was marked by a period of grief and loss (particularly the loss of Joswell’s mother and drummer father Simon Scott), and Joswell describes the album as depicting a “crossroads”. However, despite their conflict, Halstead noted in a statement that It’s all alive is a more “hopeful” record, and “Kisses” illustrates that—although there is a thread of uncertainty that permeates through the instrumentation, Halstead and Josewell harmonize in romantic harmony, landing on the windswept pictorial “Kisses/The Desert Sun Is Born.”
Similar to Slowdive classics “Allison” or “Star Roving,” it’s fun to hear the band indulge in powerful, energetic vibes, and the subtlety of their chord structures reflects the turning of darkness into light. For a band that started over 30 years ago and has gone on to pioneer an entire genre, it’s great that they just keep getting better.
– Paulo Ragusa