V’s New Music Round-Up

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

Hello and welcome! Spinning the same old records/playlists over and over again? Feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Trying to find a way to salvation? All this hitting hard for things beyond music? 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, and hopefully get you on a new path.

Here are this week’s top picks:

The Off-Season by J. Cole

Image courtesy of Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope

Cole’s biggest successes have come from times he has taken to reflect on himself and where he’s at in his life and career, which he explores on his newest album. While employing poignant moments from some hard hitting cameos and solid production, J. Cole is building a level of self awareness he hadn’t possessed before, with a few tracks that could very well be hip-hop classics down the line.

Beam Me Up Scotty by Nicki Minaj

Image courtesy of Republic Records

Nicki Minaj’s first big release since 2018’s Queen is a re-release of her third mixtape from 2009. Featuring three new tracks, including a collab with Drake and Lil Wayne, “Seeing Green,” the mixtape is proof of why the world fell in love with Minaj in the first place. It’s a mixtape where you can clearly tell the artist is having fun, unafraid to go crazy, coming in without something to prove, something 2021 Nicki could definitely pick up on.

Daddy’s Home by St. Vincent

Image courtesy of Loma Vista

There’s nothing to describe Daddy’s Home quite like a malfunctioning time machine. One minute, you’re in Motown, then you’re in a 20s swing band, you jump to 90s slow rock, then it’s to 2021 funk, then the mid-aughts jazz renaissance. It’s a mix of all different kinds of influences, held together by St. Vincent’s warbly vocals and storied lyrics. It shouldn’t work on paper, but it’s a slam dunk on final listen.

parallel universe pt. 1 by Alaina Castillo

Image courtesy of Chosen People via AWAL Recordings

Castillo really knows how to create a build up. Each track on the record explores conventional 2021 pop from a futuristic POV, an alternate/parallel universe of the mainstream, if you will. Yet there’s a calm she creates with her soothing vocals, centering the listener. What Castillo does successfully is put a seed of interest in your head that really makes you anticipate what’s to come next in this galactic saga.

Delta Kream by The Black Keys

Image courtesy of Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch

You wouldn’t think The Black Keys would go about creating a cover album of Mississippi blues songs, but here we are. The duo uses this as an opportunity to take the scenic route, not have to go so hard. The edge is there, but it’s slightly damp, which fits what they’re going for. It’s less of a seminal album, more of a reminder of how far they’ve come, giving them the time to pay tribute to what influenced them.

“Electric” by Katy Perry

The moniker of “Katy Perry – Pop Superstar” is one that has existed for years now. It might be time to change that to “Katy Perry – Motivational Guru.” After the endeavor of upliftment that Smile set out to achieve, “Electric,” her track for the Pokemon 25 collection, follows the same path, encouraging listeners to find their inner light and make their lives “electric.” It’s a classic KP electropop track  that hits all the right notes and shows off how she’s matured as an artist.

“good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo

Moving on from her roots as a Taylor Swift and Lorde stan, Olivia Rodrigo is adopting a moniker more akin to Avril Lavigne or early Paramore. Having taken us on this singular journey of heartbreak and moving on, she’s now showing the angsty side of the equation. It’s an odd thing to say, but this newfound aggression is a welcome change for Rodrigo, something her lyrics possessed in her earlier tracks too, but didn’t come through in the music till this guitar-fueled rage track.

“FUCKBOY” by Dixie

Taking over Rodrigo’s aggression is Dixie D’Amelio on a track that should say it all with its title alone. The song continues D’Amelio’s exploration of pop melodies and production that’s always verged on the extremely earworm-y. The lyrics, like her previous tracks as well, make nothing vague about the cause of her problems. Add this to the rage mix.

“Won’t Sleep” by Tones and I

Tones and I’s first original track of 2021 seems like it’d be a great fit for a month like, oh, let’s say October? It takes one listen for you to see the rationale behind that thought. As each second of the brooding pop, pokey percussion, and eerily stretched out vocals pass, you wonder, “wouldn’t this be fun to make a TikTok to on Halloween?” And then you smash your phone for thinking about making a TikTok.

“His & Hers” by Internet Money ft. Don Toliver, Lil Uzi Vert, and Gunna

On this breezy rap-trap track, Internet Money recruits some of hip-hop’s big boys to talk about matching designers with their girl, breaking spines, and jet setting off around the world. Each artist gets their moment here for their individual personas to show off. Although nothing beats Lil Uzi Vert rapping, “And you know I stay with bands on me like my name Katie” and following it up with a “What?” Same, Uzi.

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