Bop Refresh: 9/21

Bop Refresh: 9/21

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Bop Refresh: 9/21

Every New Music Friday, V re-jiggers your playlists with the must-listen new songs from the week.

Every New Music Friday, V re-jiggers your playlists with the must-listen new songs from the week.

Text: Jake Viswanath

Avril Lavigne, “Head Above Water”

The queen of never growing up, Avril Lavigne, gained a new sense of maturity after being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and it was one scary night that inspired her to return to music. "One night I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die,” Lavigne said in a statement. "I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed, ‘God, please help me to keep my head above the water.’” The resulting single is a haunting piano-rock ballad that directly addresses her harrowing battle without any apprehension. The classic Avril tone still remains, but this time, she’s fighting for her life—and doing a damn convincing job.

Christine and the Queens, “Goya Soda”

Frankly, Chris’ self-titled debut album (or Christine and the Queens’ sophomore album Chris), out today, is one of the best of the year. There is no filler to be found, but if I must choose one standout, it’s likely the intriguing “Goya Soda”, inspired by a Francisco Goya painting and literal soda. It never unravels completely, but her emotion bubbles under the surface from the first second, as she grapples feelings of insanity and childhood memories over stabbing synths and an elegant piano outro.


On their major label debut album iridescence, the modern boy band proves that they can’t be called sellouts, giving us a collection that’s just as bombastic and dynamic as their previous self-made records. There’s much to delve into, but the immediate highlight is “HONEY” (also the title of Robyn’s comeback album, out October 26). Over a hypnotic beat that’s half Slim Shady and half Kesha, member Dom McLemmon delivers an excellent spit-fire verse addressing inner city violence, police brutality, and sexism in one swoop, before the track dissolves into a Beyoncé-sampling breakdown that beautifully soundtracks pensive questions about the future. It’s a glowing example on the expanse of pop music and how you make it impactful.

Lana Del Rey, “Venice Bitch”

No one can pull off a ten-minute prog-rock song titled “Venice Bitch” quite like Lana Del Rey. Co-produced with Jack Antonoff, the track has a low-key yet catchy kick-off, Lana seemingly arriving at a place of contentment with a lover, before it disintegrates into a hypnotic spiral of electric guitar solos, woozy synths, and bass vibrations, with her only popping in briefly to keep up momentum. Not much happens, and yet it doesn’t feel incomplete, as the soundscape just soaks in all of the conclusive emotion and sends you in a calming daze. Oh, and this is also the first single from her sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell, out next year. She’s truly fresh out of fucks forever. 

Noah Cyrus, “Good Cry”

People may be perplexed as to why Noah Cyrus is positioning herself as one of pop’s most prominent sad girls, but really, we should’ve known all along—her debut single was called “Make Me (Cry)” after all. On the title track of her debut EP Good Cry, she spouts on the benefits of a good cry over a roaring jazz-pop sway, her voice sounding like she just got done with her own good cry (yes, that’s a compliment). 

morgxn, “home (feat. WALK THE MOON)”

Alt-pop artist morgxn and breakout band WALK THE MOON sound like a random combination on paper, but their new take on the Nashville songwriter’s “home” is oddly irresistible. Their voices effortlessly collide over a storming electric bassline and an anthemic chorus that we can all relate to at our darkest moments. There’s nothing like it.

CYN, “I’ll Still Have Me”

Katy Perry’s favorite little pop tart is rapidly proving her talent and versatility to the public. For her latest singles, she substitutes her frothy pop offerings for a delicate yet cathartic ballad that signals the end of her not receiving back the time and effort that she gives. The sound of independence is utterly gorgeous.

Nao, “Drive and Disconnect”

The sweet-voiced soul sensation previews her upcoming album Saturn with a dazzlingly chill slice of R&B-funk. “Drive and Disconnect” is perfect for those long road trips to nowhere and you have nothing but your own thoughts for company—not that I can relate, I don’t drive. Maybe you’ll be off to this iconic destination…

The Band Perry, "MARFA PRADA"

The country band behind the beautifully morbid hit ballad “If I Die Young” has re-emerged five years after their last studio album, and truly, I still can’t process what I just listened to—it makes 1989 sound like honky-tonk heaven. The sibling trio worked with super-producer Rick Rubin to create an electronic EP, Coordinates, with influences from homegrown country folk like Kanye West and Trent Reznor. The most interesting offering is “MARFA PRADA”, inspired by the iconic art installation in the Texas desert where lead vocalist Kimberly eventually finds God (we’re not surprised she’s there). It’s the sound of a literal existential crisis—stark, sharp, and industrial to the max—and yet it’s a natural fit for a trio who’s been through turmoil.


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