Last week was a truly unexpectedly exceptional week for new songs, and they just keep growing on me – I can’t stop thinking about the new Ariana and Social House colllab, I keep hitting replay on the Ava Max tune, and I feel like I’ve been listening to 3 to Tango, Jinny Bingham’s Ghost, and Selfish Love for months, which is just a testament to how good they are really. If you missed it, go check out all the new releases from last week.
Also, it’s worth noting that the OG new music blogger, oneofthosefaces, is back and if you don’t follow her writings, I hugely recommend you follow her on Twitter and head over to her website immediately.
This week I’ve been dithering a bit over some of the songs that are on the list, I feel like when the skies are grey it quite literally clouds my ability to judge songs positively, so imma do my best to be enthusiastic about these 11 songs I’ve picked out for you. And here they are…
Alessia Cara – Rooting for You
I have so much time for Alessia Cara – sure her output has been largely same-sounding, but she always comes off as really engaged in what she’s singing about which isn’t the easiest thing to do. This is a really cool, chilled out song: her voice is, as it should always be, the focus – even though she’s not got the biggest range, she controls it so well and pushes it at exactly the right moments – and I’m not sure if the synthetic-sounding-sax will become vexing over time, but it definitely adds to that laid back vibe this song is selling.
Best bit: the bit in the penultimate chorus when she gives that little bit of grit
CXLOE + gnash – SICK
I’ve been listening to this on repeat to figure out what to say about it and what I’ve noticed is 1) that it’s such an easy song to play on loop, CXLOE just picked a level and stuck there for the duration, it’s difficult to talk about distinctive parts, but it pays in its consistency and 2) parts of the prechorus sounds a lot like DJ Snake + JB’s Let Me Love You. gnash feels a little superflouos, like his inclusion is to break up the track a little which is possibly a good thing depending on your opinion about feature rap verses in place of a good bridge section. All in all a solid pop song.
Best bit: loopability
Ella Eyre, Banx & Ranx + Kiana Ledé – Mama
This is such a fuckin banger. Normally I cannot bear Eyre’s very-distinctive vocal, but this is the absolute perfect use of it: emphatic, bouncy, confrontational and a lil bit cheeky. I love how this is a call out to guys keeping -pictures- of exes et al. on their phone and Eyre threatening to tell their mothers about their unacceptable habits. Cannot get enough of this agressively soul-enriching anthem.
Best bit: Eyre’s delivery goes off
Grace VanderWaal – Waste My Time
Every new Grace VanderWaal track that drops I get more and more excited because a) she really is not the baby-Taylor-Swift her America’s-Got-Talent-Winning-aesthetic would suggest, and b) they’re so well produced. It’s such a cool, chilled out little song about being young and futilely in love when you know it’s never gonna go the distance but you’re just having a class time. VanderWaal’s delivery of some of the lyrics is just so on point, far more seasoned than most 15 year old should be. Cute and cool and under control.
Best bit: the opening verse is utterly perfect.
ieuan – VIRTUAL REALITY
There’s a very technologically-wired, un-thinking, black-mirror-esque vibe to this track, it’s all about how we are living in our own virtual realities and just living life on autopilot which is pretty much everything I’m trying not to succumb to in life. It’s very full on, it’s a little 5SOS meets billie eilish, I feel a bit like I’ve heard all the different melodies in here before but that’s just modern music I guess! Either way, I like all the little ‘glitchy’ synth sounds, they’re sudden and robotic in a good, albeit unease-inducing, way.
Best bit: the abrupt ending
Katy Perry – Small Talk
This is so cute and wholesome and awkward all at once: a song about going from ‘strangers to lovers to strangers’, knowing all their secrets and navigating that complicated past when confronted with it in a casual setting, reducing it to the titular Small Talk. Sure, there are some random -cliché-lyrics- in there which I can’t imagine Teenage Dream era Katy allowing, but they work in this intentionally-clunky cute way.
Best bit: how much of a m o o d this is
Labrinth + Zendaya – All For Us
I honestly don’t know if I legitimately like this or I’m still just a lil bit in love with Zendaya and imagining her recording this song is filling me with [HBO’s] Euphoria. Labrinth’s production is so considered and as jarring as it is at points, the creative, scene-setting-intent behind it is incredibly effective, there are so many little moments to love and they both sound so damn good. Too much talent on one very niche song.
Best bit: 1.48, I don’t have the words to describe it but I l o v e that bit so much
Mallrat – Charlie
I immediately fell in love with this perfect, perfect song and I cannot believe how poignant is that as I was typing this I had to run outside to pull the dog in from the garden because the rain came on, when the cruxing-bridge of this track is all about wanting someone to love her like her titular dog Charlie who waits for her in the rain outside when she comes home. It’s just such a heartwrenching song, Shaw [Mallrat herself] is so open about her family: “My dad, he worked out west/And he worked so hard/My mum she smells like cigarettes/And they broke each other’s hearts” and how she just wants the little perfect things in life, and the way she sings about whoever the subject of this song is is pure unadulterated, [and unrequited?] love: “And I know it’s bad/But I just can’t wait/Till you feel in love/When you see my face.” Pure, clean, gorgeously sung. I love Mallrat.
Best bit: when she sang about her dog Charlie, I felt that
Megan Thee Stallion – Hot Girl Summer (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign)
I had to google some context about Hot Girl Summer because I knew there was some pretext to it, and there’s a little cart-before-the-horse stuff going on here – Megan Thee Stallion apparently coined the term and she defines it as being about “just being you, just having fun. It’s turning up, driving the boat and not giving a damn about what nobody’s saying,”. She created it, then she wrote a song-of-the-same-name about it, which seems only fair, if a little late, as the creator of the quote-unquote movement. Anyway, this is a pretty good encapsulation of that feeling – a chill lil hook from Ty, a non-dominating guest spot from Nicki, the lyrical intent is clear, and, in spite of sharing the stage with two behemoths, you can tell that this track is definitively Megan’s.
Best part: The breezy lil hook
Nasty Cherry – Live Forever
This is Haim meets 2019 Charli XCX (who apparently co-signed them): a lil bit poppy, a lil bit cool. It’s a pretty inoffensive two minutes and forty six seconds: a literal bang of an intro, a super chill hook, and lyrics that feel quickly memorable “My life’s too rock to roll/Everybody thinks that I lost control/But how it feels to take ’em all/Gotta pop pills like birth control” and I like how there is some continuation/escalation in them as the song goes on “Last night I killed them all/Quit my wings and let me fall/I’m still too rock to roll, everybody thinks I’ve lost control”. I get that feeling that in the hands of someone else/a single person this might hit a little harder, but I get it and it’s nice.
Best bit: the escalation in the lyrics
Skylar Grey – New Kind of Love
Because I have the tie-in playlist on a loop when I listen to these songs, my brain kept telling me that I was back at the top with Alessia Cara again because the intro treads a lot like her track Not Today to my ears. Can you believe this twee little tv-show-tie-in-tune has been born the same person that gave us the haunting hook on Dr Dre’s I Need A Doctor? Being a popstar really is not a direct path. This is cute, it feels early 2000’s Nelly Furtado, loads of PG little adlibs and acapella vocal layering that is interestingly being used for the Mindy Kaling’s TV reboot of Four Wedding’s and a Funeral I didn’t know existed.
Best bit: Just how warm it makes me feel inside.