Taylor Jules “Helicopter” (SINGLE)

The faint noise of a helicopter’s fading blades is broken apart by the decadence of a piano, its keys echoing into the background and extending a warmth that was absent only a few moments prior. There’s a light hum from the bassline starting to enter the frame beside them, but it’s only a hint of the melody that singer Taylor Jules is about to conjure up in her brand new single “Helicopter,” a track that explores a fractured relationship mended once more. All ears are focused on our lead vocalist as she starts to sing, and her melancholic tone does a good job of seasoning the words with a frankness that is impossible for us to escape. Jules chips away at our souls with her smoky timbre, and in the wake of her opening prose, the piano’s dominance in the mix swells and encourages us to trust our lead singer as we press forward through the darkness ahead.

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The brooding, smoke-like bassline that surrounds all of the melodies evolving out of groove is no match for the verses when they start picking up steam just before hitting the chorus. Taylor Jules is getting too furious in her attack to be stopped at this point; her enigmatic poetry is starting to take shape and rattle us at our core, her command of the instrumentation is starting to look like that of a conductor leading a symphony, and as the chorus slips through the cracks and drowns us in its optimism – despite the fleeting sense of uncertainty hinted at in the lyrics – her voice remains the strongest part of the song.

On the surface, the chorus in “Helicopter” is one of the more streamlined parts of the whole song, but upon closer inspection, it’s the track’s most versatile point of emphasis. There’s a splash of rock-like swagger here that sweeps us off our feet and takes us to a place of vivacious movement when we’re not quite expecting an uptick in the adrenaline, and even in its most experimental moments, none of the song’s substance ever becomes fragmented or confusing. Jules wants respect for going out on a limb and feeling out her musical depth here, and she’s not going to have a hard time scoring it as this track finds consistent airplay on both sides of the dial this winter.

In a tizzy of piano and bassline indulgence, Taylor Jules offers one last thrust of the chorus before “Helicopter” reaches a smoldering end, and even if you don’t usually go for this muscular variety of pop music, getting this hook out of your head after even a cursory listen is no easy feat. “Helicopter” is an addictive, swanky slab of pop/rock suited to a generation of fans who love the smarter side of pop, and it’s a testament to how far Jules can go if she sticks with this formula. It was made for a younger crowd, but no matter your age or interest in the mainstream pop of today, you’re more than likely to find something to love about this singer.

Mark Druery