V’s New Music Round-Up

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

Hello and welcome! Waiting for the day everyone can get their vaccines so celebrations can resume? In the mood for a party (at home, with your friends, with yourself) that you need to find a soundtrack (and open venue…wear a mask, though) for? 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:

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

Image courtesy of Republic Records

The highly anticipated rerelease isn’t just an exercise in employing nostalgia but also showing how far you’ve come. The beauty of the original was in Swift’s innocence and insightful look at her youth. The rerelease keeps the that alive in the lyrics, while delivering with the conviction of an adult Swift’s vocal ability and access to polished production. If anything, it highlights the universality of Fearless, a truly seminal country album, from the jump.

Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine by BROCKHAMPTON

Image courtesy of RCA/Question Everything Records

Taken in isolation, each of the tracks off the LA hip hop group’s (apparent) penultimate album stands very differently as opposed to as a whole. Roadrunner is imbued with this deep sense of sadness and darkness that goes beyond just purposeful tonal shifts and reflects on the troubles the band has been going through, as a group and individuals. It’s a strong collection of tracks that come together to deliver a lot more meaning than you’d expect.

Art Dealer Chic Vol. 4 by Miguel

Image courtesy of ByStorm Entertainment/RCA Records

Miguel’s new EP might not be the new album fans have been waiting for, but it’s an extremely satisfying release of its own. The artist’s journey of curating what thoughts and emotions matter in his song and our mindsets continues with the fourth volume of his series, employing a style of darker R&B that stays upbeat in a walking-out-of-the-blood-with-a-smile way, a style Miguel does very well.

“Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat ft. SZA

Doja Cat enters a potentially new album era with a nod to the sounds that contributed to her breakout last year, blending confectionary pop with elements of disco for “Kiss Me More,” a collab she teased during her interview with V. The track sees Doja and SZA giving their best good girl personas as they ask for their love interest to be more affectionate and justify the build-up for their duet.

“Welcome 2 America” by Prince

After news of Prince’s estate finally dropping the legend’s album from the vault in the summer comes the title track off the record. “Welcome 2 America” sees the artist employ a sing-talk style, with a backing vocal group, telling a cautionary tale of the riches and excesses of America, revelling in its successes and critiquing its capitalism. It’s the kind of track you would expect from an artist as socially conscious as Prince in 2021 and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Otra Noche Sin Ti” by J Balvin and Khalid

In an age with more and more bilingual duets, J Balvin and Khalid is the duo you wouldn’t expect on paper but makes a lot of sense in execution. The two team up on this melancholic reggaeton song that allows them to focus on bringing the emotion to their vocals, something they’re among the best at in their fields, while remaining subdued and giving space to the melodies. 

“Shy Away” by Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots’ first look at their new album features a lot of Tyler Joseph’s, one half of the duo, family at the center. The track was written as Joseph encouraged his younger brother to pursue his dreams in the music industry and even features a cameo “coo” from Joseph’s one year old daughter. The track is a brighter and relatively happier direction for Joseph and Josh Dun and should build plenty of anticipation for Scaled and Icy due in May.

“Anywhere Away From Here” by Rag’n’Bone Man and P!nk

Our second odd pair of the list that’s so extremely perfect in execution. Like “Otra Noche Sin Ti,” the track works so well because both artists know how to bring a deep emotional connection to the song while exercising a considerable amount of restraint when needed. “Anywhere Away From Here” is a more somber gospel-inflected track, about wanting to escape from uncomfortable situations, that’s haunting, tragic, and subtly beautiful.

“Waves of Blue” by Majid Jordan

Singer/producer duo Majid Jordan returns with their first track since 2019, a pop/R&B/electronica/synth hybrid of a song that dives deep into the music. It’s one of those melodies that doesn’t experience too many shifts throughout the song to keep a consistent melody that envelopes you. It’s like swimming in an ocean of the sound where the vocals pierce through like shouts above water. It’s…immersive, yes, it’s immersive.

“Set Him Up” by Queen Naija ft. Ari Lennox

Naija and Lennox create a complete narrative throughout the progression of the song that’s an escalation of where Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is Mine” could’ve gone if it were a more soulful conversation. And, of course, vengeance heavy. The two lay their vocals on and build a rhythm that allows them to blend into each other for the good of the common story and create a very sultry “my man is your man, so let’s kill him” track.

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