NMF: Finneas, Briston Maroney, and more

Here are some of the biggest and best music releases of the week.

Happy Friday! I’m back with yet another strong list of new music releases. This week brought about a wide range of tunes, from the highly anticipated Steve Lacy comeback album to BTS rapper J-Hope’s new solo project. Finneas also blessed us with a new song this week, and Sabrina Carpenter officially got to express her side of the story and move on.

All these and more in this week’s New Music Round-Up:

“Mona Lisa Mona Lisa” by Finneas 

Image via Interscope Records.

“She could be the Mona Lisa / If the Mona Lisa had a prettier face / This could be heaven / If heaven was an actual place,” Finneas sings on the chorus of his upbeat new song, “Mona Lisa Mona Lisa.” The track pushes Finneas in a slightly different musical direction, expanding on the groovy, rock-tinged sound from his earlier single, “Naked.” With a strong drum line, a percussion-heavy background, and a booming chorus, “Mona Lisa Mona Lisa” is the kind of punchy, anthemic track that just begs for you bop your head along with it.

“Paradise” by Briston Maroney  

Image via Atlantic Recording Corporation.

Briston Maroney envisions a life free of basic worries on his latest single,“Paradise.” How easy would it be to put the nine-to-five behind/ A sandcastle royalty and seven seas of heaven shinin’?” he croons on the cheerful, poppy track. The song starts with a bang, a joyful explosion of drums and guitars, and never slows down. “Paradise” is the inspiration for Maroney’s just-announced Paradise Festival at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, a two-night show he curated and will headline.  

“Sunshine” by Steve Lacy feat. Foushée 

Image via RCA Records.

The last single from Steve Lacy’s highly anticipated album, Gemini Rights, “Sunshine” is as smooth, soulful, and groovy as you would expect. Lacy and rising NYC artist Fousheé trade vocals throughout the song, blending seamlessly into one another and the neo-soul track. The ending, with long a refrain of “I still, I still love you,” gives Lacy a chance to show off his guitar skills, too.

‘Savior” by Juliana Madrid 

Image via Neon Gold Records.

Up-and-comer Juliana Madrid’s latest single, “Savior,” has the bones to push her into alt-pop stardom. “Savior,” which is emphatically not a song about religion, perfectly inserts elements of crucifixion and salvation as a means to articulate the feelings that come from the end of a relationship. “Don’t crucify me / It’s all so underwhelming / And I wan’t a refund / ‘Cause nothing really happens for a reason / And I’m no savior,” she croons on the infectious chorus, exuding wisdom far beyond her 21 years.

because i liked a boy” by Sabrina Carpenter    

Image via RCA Records.

One of the highlights of Sabrina Carpenter’s new album, Emails I Can’t Send, is the introspective stunner “because I liked a boy.” Contrasting Carpenter’s sugary sweet vocals, the lyrics to the track read like minutes from a therapy session: “Now I’m a homewrecker / I’m a slut / I got death threats / Tell me who I am / ’Cause I don’t have a choice / All because I liked a boy.” The song itself feels like catharsis, like Carpenter finally pressed “send” on her innermost thoughts.  

“you’re not special” by Maggie Lindemann  

Image via swixxzaudio.

“Do you kiss your mother with a mouth like that? / I’m starrin‘ in your movie / But you’re not that special to me,” Maggie Lindemann sings on the confident, rebellious “you’re not special.” The song is filled with the kind of angst that made Avril Lavigne a star, and with powerful kick drums and a head-banging chorus, Lindemann just might be the next big thing in the alternative pop-rock space. She’s certainly perfected the lyrical eye-roll: “I play the villain in your life / Whatever helps you sleep at night.”  

“Arson” by J-Hope 


From the beloved BTS rapper J-Hope’s second solo album, Jack in the Box, the fiery track “Arson” stands out. Faced with a crossroads, “Arson” finds J-Hope struggling to make a choice, while also agonizing over past decisions. The song is passionate, upbeat, and vibey, a reflection of J-Hope’s new musical direction.  

“People Can Change” by YDE 

Image via Warner Records.

YDE released a call to action in her latest track, “People Can Change.” The stripped-back song reflects the current social and political landscape in the U.S., with a hopeful refrain: “I need to believe that people can change / Or else this life has all been in vain.” YDE encapsulates the feelings of a whole generation in the song, and the powerful lyrics are matched by YDE’s strong vocals.  

“Anywhere but Here” by Ayla D’Lyla 

Image via Snafu Records.

On “Anywhere But Here,” NYC-based singer Ayla D’Lyla yearns for an escape from her current situation. “Never fit in to the city / 8 million people to ignore,” she sings as the song kicks off, with floaty vocals and a soft instrumental track. The lyrics “I don’t know what heaven looks like / But it sure as hell ain’t here,” are indicative of an NYC summer, when the whole city empties each weekend. “Anywhere But Here” cements D’Lyla as someone to watch in the alt-pop scene.  

“Grocery Store” by Cavetown 

Image via Sire Records.

“Grocery Store” by Cavetown is somehow both an upbeat summer tune and a grounded message about the reality of mental health struggles. The song has elements of both rock and pop, with a sunny, synthy track. The lyrics are the perfect representation of the contrasting feelings of chaos and emptiness that mark certain mental health issues: “I’ve been trying not to cry in the grocery store / Little bully inside pinning me to the floor / It must be easier than it seems / But I can’t get these thorns out of my teeth.” 

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