V’s New Music Round-Up
Here are some of the best and biggest releases of the week
Here are some of the best and biggest releases of the week
Text: Ahad Sanwari
Hello and welcome! So, it’s back to this again? Questioning the very notion of our sanity and whether the inner sanctum we call our minds actually can give us the protection we need?…Well, at least not from an earworm, and for that, 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:
KHALED, KHALED by DJ Khaled
D-J KHA-LED is back and bigger than ever. On what can only be called “Khaled-Con 5000,” the superstar producer recruits some of the biggest names in music right now, all the way from the Justins (Bieber and Timberlake) and the Babies (Lil and Da) to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. He swims between R&B, hip-hop, and even reggae, delivering what he calls “the best music!”
Not in Chronological Order by Julia Michaels
The power of Michaels being a songwriter for a diverse roster of artists is capably reflected in Michaels’ debut solo outing. The first four tracks have you listen to offerings from an alt-rocker, an acoustic guitarist, a disco-synth star, and a piano balladeer, with each song showcasing considerable range of musical influences. Previous singles “All Your Exes” and “Lie Like This” remain standouts, alongwith album cut “History” and its very calming strings.
Young Heart by Birdy
Featuring actual birds in an albumin definitely one way to stand out. And another would be to put out a record all about navigating the journey of a heartbreak with stripped back production, soft strings and percussion, and soothing vocals. If you like one song off the album, you’ll probably like all of it, since it’s all part of one big story, both lyrically and sonically.
“Your Power” by Billie Eilish
After the higher energy (and BPMs) of the preceding tracks from her forthcoming album, Eilish slows things down considerably for an acoustic ballad. The song recounts an abusive relationship where the other person held on to all the power and didn’t understand its ramifications. There’s exposition to the track, made all the more haunting by Eilish’s reverberating whispery vocals, that adds to her autobiographical collection of tracks.
“WITHOUT YOU (remix)” by The Kid LAROI with Miley Cyrus
The Australian rapper and singer recruits Cyrus for the remix of one of his most popular tracks, a simple acoustic ballad about a love-hate relationship where the protagonist is just as eager to leave as he is to stay. Cyrus adds the female perspective, echoing the same feelings of suffocation while also regretting any decision to leave. It makes the song feel complete, especially because Cyrus’ raw and open vocals pair so well with LAROI’s.
“On Me (remix)” by Lil Baby with Megan Thee Stallion
Keeping the chain of connections going between our tracks, we have another remix, this time from Lil Baby, bringing in Megan Thee Stallion for “On Me.” The track features an uncomplicated trap melody that continues throughout the song, as both rappers flaunt their riches while leaving space open for discussing the things they feel more emotional about, such as relationships and making mistakes.
“Girl from Rio” by Anitta
Anitta takes the time on this track to not only recount her own journey, but also celebrate and subtly critique the place where she grew up. She sings about growing up in the favelas, finding out about her brother, and girls ending up pregnant while still young, while mixing in some Portuguese lyrics, soundtracked by a mixture of 60s commercial music and a trap beat for some “song of the summer” energy.
“Choker” by twenty one pilots
While this track is a little more rock leaning than their previous one, it still sees them playing around with wavy, video game synths and orchestral choruses. The song even features a rap verse from Tyler Joseph, as he details the journey of someone who feels like they only have their own pre-ordained path to follow in life and is on the lookout for some control.
“Die For a Man” by Bebe Rexha ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Rexha keeps the chain of insecurity going with her final single in the run-up to the release of her album. In this iteration, she and Uzi Vert both talk of never wanting to die for someone they’re in a relationship with because they feel like they’re worth more than that. Through the poppy message of self-worth, though, comes the quiet worry of having to actually reach that point, another thing that makes this line of singles Rexha’s most complex and relatable.
“t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” by WILLOW ft. Travis Barker
Willow Smith returns to 2021 with an axe to grind, coming for all those with fake personalities on her new track. This pop-punk, 00s pop-rock escape (enhanced by Barker, an expert in rocking out) is about Smith declaring that she can see through your transparent souls and wants nothing to do with you, inspired by a quote from Hindu guru Radhanath Swami and mother Jada Pinkett Smith’s nu metal career.
“durag activity” by Baby Keem with Travis Scott
Baby Keem enlists Travis Scott for his first collab on “durag activity.” The song is a bass-heavy romp that features Keem and Scott showcase that they’re confident and assured in what they’ve managed to accrue in terms of riches and power. It’s a common theme in hip-hop, sure, but featuring two of the industry’s hardest rappers trading flow after flow is where the magic really shines here.
“All Pride Aside” by Shelley FKA Dram with Summer Walker
Dram and Walker manage to put all their pride aside for this collab. It’s a smooth sailer of a track that explains the complexities of a relationship, where both parties do have to compromise to make their bond that much stronger. With clever lyrics and a cool banter between the two, the LVRN co-signees manage to explain it all pretty well.
“TUNG TIED” by LoveLeo and Rico Nasty
LoveLeo and Rico Nasty are out to give commercialism and materialism a roundhouse kick with their new collaboration. The two sing about people doing stuff just for show and then not being able to explain their choices, all over a beat that sounds like it was made by banging a few household items together — in the best way possible.
“Rider” by Mereba
Mereba sings — no, croons — about being in love with someone, so much so that it consumes her, more so than the devastation going on in the world around her. Oh, your hips are shaking and your body’s grooving side-to-side, I see. That’s the power of some Mereba music.
“Atmosphere/Zone” by Marc E. Bassy
Bassy drops two new singles for the benefit of his fans, both of which couldn’t be more similar yet different (cliché, but true). Both feature experimentation with traditionally smooth-flowing R&B melodies, adding in a beat here or a horn there, while singing about driving around a carefree LA in one and talking about coming up with his back against the ropes in the other.
“Found My Friends” by Hayley Kiyoko
Finding friends and people to connect with over this past year we’ve called quarantine has been hard. But in that period, Kiyoko finds that the best friendship she could create is with herself, as she sings on her new single. Bolstered by dark, deep synths and an electro-pop groove, “Found My Friends” has the kind of message we might need to give some more thought to going forward.