V’s New Music Round-Up
Here are some of the best and biggest releases of the week
Hello and welcome! Been wondering when the coronavirus becomes the coro-no-virus (I tried)? Need some flashy, personal, and completely head-bangable tunes to keep your sanity in check? Then welcome to V’s new music round-up, where we tune you into some of the week’s biggest and best releases, whether they be singles or albums.
Here are this week’s top picks:
Poster Girl by Zara Larsson
Larsson (who V spoke to a few months ago) brings the best bits of her work as a collaborator with the likes of MNEK, David Guetta, and Clean Bandit, creating a pop record that’s light and fun in sound and energy. You can stomp or clap along to potentially every song on the record as Larsson sings about the highs and lows of love.
When You See Yourself by Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon definitely sound happier in their new album, trading in harder rock edges for softer drum beats and more upbeat melodies. But it’s in the album’s quieter moments that it really thrives, exposing the interesting narratives they’re weaving within their lyrics. This is the sound of a band more comfortable with their aesthetic and ready to venture forward with it.
Charlotte by Charlotte Lawrence
Lawrence’s self-titled EP is essentially a kaleidoscope of all the most popular sounds and aesthetics of currently mainstream music, as you can hear specifically on tracks like “Talk You Down,” “Cowboys,” and “Why Do You Love Me.” But her emotive voice, filled with a palpable melancholy, and darkly autobiographical themes make them all her own and leaves her coming out as the champion of the record.
How Did We Get Here? By Blu DeTiger
DeTiger’s evocative songwriting and tongue-in-cheek vocals are the most capable way of achieving the kind of bass and funk heroing deliverance that her debut EP does. It’s a record full of very polished, very smooth grooves and slick basslines that establishes DeTiger’s aesthetic right from the get-go.
“This is Heaven” by Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas takes the spacey synths off the first single from his upcoming album and gives it a much more upbeat rhythm, creating a poppier track that sounds more like the Nick Jonas we’ve heard before. Still, it’s steps for Jonas in different sounds, a lot more polished, more futuristic, very much deserving of an album title like Spaceman. Also, maybe stay for the bridge’s brief saxophone solo.
“Beautiful Mistakes” by Maroon 5 ft. Megan Thee Stallion
Maroon 5 has managed to find a lane of balancing rhythmic R&B with pop (and the ever so slight trap beat saying “hi”) that has worked well for their past output, one that serves as a capable way for Megan Thee Stallion to take her savage flow and make it seem more romantic, more personal, adding some appreciated dimension the way “WAP” collaborator Cardi B was able to on “Girls Like You.”
“Sacrifice” by Bebe Rexha
Bebe Rexha taps into the kind of piano crescendos that europop and britpop have been championing for the past decade or so, creating a handclap-driven dance track that quickly sears itself into your brain. The joyful melodies and booming bass are great accompaniments for Rexha’s voice and style, adding another strong track to her rapidly growing repertoire.
“Selfish Love” by DJ Snake and Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez and DJ Snake’s second collaboration (after the very popular “Taki Taki”) instantly feels like the kind of song you’d lounge to on a beach chair with a half empty mojito glass and someone ready to put suntan lotion on you…well, fantastical notions aside, the track’s rich production, featuring smooth plunks and a saxophone melody, features a classic summer vibe that should do good for the wonders of vicarious living.
“Ma’G” by J Balvin
On Balvin’s first release since “Un Día,” the Colombian star celebrates and appreciates his success and achievements over his life and career. He talks of his humble beginnings and how he’s been able to rise up and maintain an identity throughout his career, all over a playfully dark melody.
“Don’t Assume What You Don’t Know” by Grace VanderWaal
Gone is the day of the squeaky clean girl on the ukulele who won “America’s Got Talent,” in comes a 17 year old with a guitar who takes absolutely no prisoners. Going from Taylor Swift(esque) to Halsey(ish), VanderWaal’s newest single shows off a side of hers that we really hadn’t seen before, ready to own her star power and channel that into some creative badassery.
“Real As It Gets” by Lil Baby ft. EST Gee
Lil Baby has been on a constant roll as far as his output goes, having one of 2020’s most successful albums in the country with My Turn and putting out a consistent string of singles since then. Partnering up with Louisville rapper EST Gee gives Baby the chance to rap about staying authentic to himself in the face of success and cap it all of nicely.
“Really Like That” by G Herbo
G Herbo strips it back down for a more true-to-form track with “Really Like That,” rapping about staying true to himself and owning who he is (just like Lil Baby before him). He goes in aggressively with his performance, giving it his all to prove that he is what he says is.
“Medicine” by James Arthur
James Arthur’s newest track keeps the heartbeat pumping as he sings about a love that heals and keeps his heart stable. The underlying refrain (which you can hear completely in the track’s opening and ending seconds) is the real highlight that allows Arthur to show off a more mid-tempo style while keeping options for raw vocal belts on the table.
“TRUTH” by AG Club ft. Sam Truth and redveil
This collaboration effort features emotional rap verses and pleas to the listener to “speak in the light.” The track goes in really hard with a beat that refuses to quit, and all collaborators involved match up to it by delivering strong vocal performances and speak their truths.
“Pay Your Way in Pain” by St. Vincent
St. Vincent has the knack to adapt her musical strengths and vocals to different characters and sounds, as evidenced on this track. She fluidly switches between sounding like a performer from one of Gatsby’s legendary parties to a disgruntled rock star with a snarl in her voice to a broken shell of a singer who can’t help but scream. The song takes left turns at every corner and keeps you excitedly wondering what’s next.
“Confident” by Kat Cunning
Actor and vocalist Kat Cunning is most definitely confident on their new track, but it’s less the “I’m here and I’m about to show you what’s what” kind, more of the “…I’ve got this” kind. In other words, it’s a quiet charisma that they evoke over a driving dance beat and vocals that barely go above a middle register and provide the track more intimacy.