n this week’s instalment of What’s Going On, we’re going to check out the fresh new tracks from great Canadian artists Johnny Orlando and Toronto Poor Boy. Plus, the return of legends Billy Idol and Soft Cell as they are both out with new material and there’s also a bewildering cross-generational collaboration between Dua Lipa and Elton John that somehow works. As always, if you like what you hear, be sure to stream and follow the artists.
Elton John & Dua Lipa – In a collaboration of epic proportions, superstars Elton John and Dua Lipa have teamed up for their new single “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix).” Slightly perplexing, “Cold Heart” seems to be less of a remix and more of a mashup of sorts. It features bits of Elton John songs from over the years (“Kiss The Bride”, “Rocketman”, “Where’s the Shoorah?” and “Sacrifice”) along with new vocals from Dua Lipa and flashy dance production magic from Australian trio PNAU. Explaining their approach to the track, PNAU says: “Setting a stage for the two greatest performers in the world today Sir Elton John and Dua Lipa, we knew we had to go in deep, take them into our world, the psychedelic lazer black-lit club.” Mission accomplished.
Listen to Elton John & Dua Lipa’s new single “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” below.
Billy Idol – Iconic rocker Billy Idol is back! And he’s brought that signature sneer with him. Idol is dropping his new EP The Roadside on September 17 and the first taste of what’s to come is his new single “Bitter Taste.” The Butch Walker produced track also features Billy Idol’s longtime guitarist Steve Stevens and is all about the 1990 motorcycle accident that changed Idol’s life. The serious track has a very modern rock feel with Idol even sounding reminiscent of the late Scott Weiland. Explaining further on how the accident impacted him, Idol says: “Certainly, the motorcycle accident was the catharsis, the wake-up moment. A little bit of me got left on that roadside. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in the end; it was a wake-up call. Maybe on that roadside I left behind the irreverent youthful Billy and opened the door for a more attentive father and a more sensitive musician.”
Listen to Billy Idol’s new single “Bitter Taste” below.
Soft Cell – Synth-pop legends Soft Cell recently announced the release of their first new album in 20 years Happiness Not Included, due out on February 25th of next year. The duo behind such hits as “Tainted Love”, “Memorabilia” and “Sex Dwarf” just released “Heart Like Chernobyl”, the first single from the new project. Singer Marc Almond is in top form on the song that feels like a modern take on the classic Soft Cell sound. Explaining how “Heart Like Chernobyl” came to be, Dave Ball says: “When I wrote the music to ‘Heart Like Chernobyl’ it was at the height of lockdown and I had been alone for about six weeks. I was feeling a bit Joy Division and recalled their track ‘Isolation’. I played, programmed and recorded the track digitally in my home studio – Kitchen Sink Drama. The track title was Marc’s idea, as was the subject matter.”
Listen to Soft Cell’s new single “Heart Like Chernobyl” below.
Johnny Orlando – Toronto-born pop superstar Johnny Orlando is out with his new single “Daydream.” A slightly retro affair, “Daydream” has an ’80s pop feel with 2021 appeal. Coming after the release of his dance-leaning single “I Don’t” with DVBBS earlier this year, this track further proves that the teen sensation can successfully tackle a variety of sounds. On what he wanted to accomplish with “Daydream”, Orlando says: “My goal with this track was to make a good song and have a good time while doing it. I just want to be able to make whatever type of music I’m feeling. I love all genres, and I also love the flexibility of doing whatever moves me musically.”
Listen to Johnny Orlando’s new single “Daydream” below.
Toronto Poor Boy – Who is Toronto Poor Boy? They say the best way to understand someone is to walk a mile in their shoes. In this case, ditch the shoes and instead listen to Toronto Poor Boy’s new single “No Stressing” to get a feel for who the talented Canadian hip hop artist really is. The breezy upbeat track is a personal manifesto of sorts for the Jamaica-born MC, breaking down how he approaches life: no beef, no drama, no stress. “No Stressing” is available on Toronto Poor Boy’s new 26-song album Until the End of Hurting Times. Describing how the pandemic has impacted his songwriting on the album, Toronto Poor Boy says: “Last year was definitely a year for reflection for a lot of people and it gave me the ability to really put my thoughts and feelings into my lyrics.”
Listen to Toronto Poor Boy’s new single “No Stressing” below.