Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, U2, Kelly Clarkson

(From left) Taylor Swift, U2, Kelly Clarkson and Sam Smith released new tracks much to the delights of their fans. Photo: Agencies

Simply the best

U2 released You’re The Best Thing About Me, the first single from the band’s highly anticipated album Songs Of Experience.

The band announced the track’s release with a tweet that begins with one of the song’s lyrics “I’m the kind of trouble that you enjoy.”

The track will be included on U2’s upcoming 14th studio album, which follows up their 2014 release Songs Of Innocence, the two albums together inspired by a collection of poems by William Blake.

The earlier album delved into the band’s influences and experiences from the late 1970s and early 1980s, while the second volume is intended as a collection of “intimate letters to places and people close to the singer’s heart; family, friends, fans, himself.”

The original Idol

US singer Kelly Clarkson has revealed that her latest album, Meaning Of Life, will release in October, and she’s made the LP’s first single available to those who pre-order.

Clarkson revealed the news with a tweet that reads: “THIS is the album I’ve always wanted to make!! Pre-order Meaning Of Life to get my single Love So Soft AND Move You!”

Love So Soft is also joined by a video directed by Dave Meyers, who has worked with Kendrick Lamar and Missy Elliot.

The album, Clarkson’s eighth, marks her debut with Atlantic Records, with which she signed a worldwide deal last year.

A statement from Atlantic says Meaning Of Life is “the album Kelly Clarkson was destined to make with Atlantic Records, a collection of smart and sensual soul-inspired pop that immediately belongs among the legendary label’s classic canon.”

The follow-up to 2015’s Piece By Piece, is set for release on Oct 27.

Play it again, Sam

He says goodbye, but we say hello. Sam Smith is back with Too Good At Goodbyes, the first single off his forthcoming sophomore album, and he had us at sayonara.

“I’m never gonna get too close to you, even though I mean the most to you,” Smith sings, ”in case you go and leave me in the dirt.” In other words: You can’t fire him, because he quit.

Once again, Smith is plumbing the depths of melancholia with a flawless, effortlessly flexible tenor that seems to be on loan to the underworld from somewhere in the heavens.

There’s not a lot in the track that he, carry-over collaborator Jimmy Napes, and songwriter-producer duo Stargate have come up with to detract from that instrument.

For the first minute of the song, Smith’s voice is joined only by the sparsest and most basic piano chords, along with some finger-snapping. Eventually a light beat kicks in, then a gospel choir, as if to almost mock Smith’s romantic lamentation by raising it to the level of spiritual battle.

Those extra production elements drop out as easily as they drop in, though, until it’s finally just piano and fingers again, then a sobby, a cappella closing line.

Look what you made her do

Ready For It is the second to be released from Taylor Swift’s upcoming sixth studio album, Reputation.

More direct and pop-oriented than Look What You Made Me Do, the dark and bitter track she released late in August, this one is based around a throbbing bassline with plenty of Swift’s deft and interlocking melodies. However, it’s no Shake It Off and continues what seems to be a swerve in musical direction for the singer.

Lyrically it’s a love song with a sly references both to Swift’s string of paramours and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s long romance (with its two marriages), although it appears she’s casting Taylor as the dominant character in that relationship.

“Knew I was a robber/ First time that he saw me/ Stealing hearts and running off and never saying ‘sorry’/ But if I’m a thief then/ He can join the heist and/ We’ll move to an island/ and, and, he can be my jailer/ Burton to his Taylor/ Every love I’ve known in comparison is a failure/ I forget their names now/ I’m so very tame now/ never be the same now…”

Reputation drops Nov 10. – Agencies