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! I wonder, does anyone really read these? Or are these recommendations we make ones that fade into oblivion in the collective consciousness as more and more get put out there to varying levels of acclaim and success (except “Drivers License,” did not see that blowing up as much as it did when we included it, wow)? 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:
Hall of Fame by Polo G
Hall of Fame punches in with 20 tracks, almost unheard of nowadays, though 18/20 of them are under three minutes long. The sheer volume does give the rapper a chance to branch out musically, a brighter rap album than you’d usually hear right now (although that could be the more uptempo, higher key production). Flipping through caribbean pop, acoustic, and even rock, Polo G takes the time to stretch on his third album in only two years.
JORDI (Deluxe) by Maroon 5
Maroon 5 is an interesting case in top 40 music. As the times have changed, so have they. But there’s something strangely formulaic about their recent output. While they’ve always thrived on producing a refined version of mainstream, it’s the snatches of a different band on the album that’re most exciting, such as “Echo” with blackbear, “Remedy” with Stevie Nicks, and “Convince Me Otherwise” with H.E.R.
“Solar Power” by Lorde
Lord Lorde finally makes her way back into our playlists with the first single off her upcoming album. It’s more stripped back and laid back for the artist, someone already known for being chummy with minimalism. She sounds at peace singing about nature and unwinding, with a percussion that only drops in the outro. It’s essentially a perfect way to tease what’s to come in this new era of the Lorde, maybe with more acoustics and 60s percussion?
“Blouse” by Clairo
There’s an almost renaissance affair effect to “Blouse” that has you captivated (or anyone who enjoyed “Anne with an E,” really). It’s the kind of bedroom pop on a higher budget that made Clairo such a sensation to begin with, but it has the smarts of someone aware of how to make good music. The layered vocals, the consistently building music, the pleasant strings, all hallmarks of a strong record to come. Also, if you can really perk your ears, you can hear the backing vocals by Lorde, and you can hear Clairo’s backing on “Solar Power.” Isn’t it great when things just come together?
“Need to Know” by Doja Cat
For more traditional(ly mainstream) hip-hop fans, this track is a chance to cautiously usher Doja Cat into that pantheon, as she goes for a simple trap loop-rap verse combo on this promo single. For more traditional Doja Cat fans, they can see her signature eccentric embellishments and pop sensibilities that make the track her own, even if it veers further from what they know. If anything, it’s more proof that her fluidity between the genres can be more seamless than you’d expect.
“Thot Shit” by Megan Thee Stallion
I’m sorry, the song should be credited to Tina Snow, Thee Stallion’s alter ego who has more of a snarl, is a little more rough around the edges, and has no qualms saying whatever she wants. Thee Stallion returns to her Tina Snow days with her first release since her Grammys sweep, warning all her haters and detractors to keep away from her and her indomitable energy, driven by both her sensuality and her success.
“Que Rico Fuera” by Ricky Martin and Paloma Mami
There’s much fun to be had in tracks you don’t really understand but can revel in, simply for how much joy it exudes. Translations do reveal that there’s something a lot more sultry going on beneath the Caribbean pop surface, but all the urbano fusion and quick-step beats are enveloping enough that, in your mind, it’s simply two people having the time of their lives. It’s what you’d call a “lit bop,” if you were into that sort of terminology.
“EveryTime I Cry” by Ava Max
The keyboards go into overtime on Max’s new track, leading you to believe you’re listening to a slice of 90s brit pop, before transitioning into the synths and driving beats of the Heaven & Hell era of yore. It’s pretty clear that Max is comfortably settling into a groove with her music, having figured out a style that suits her and, thus, giving her the opportunity to explore more themes and open up to her listeners even more.
“Marry the Night” by Kylie Minogue
Two LGBTQ+ icons stand before me. Ladies, this is your last chance to produce a disco-edgelord pop mashup that celebrates your trademark styles while grazing the other’s. The time has come for you to revamp an under-appreciated Born This Way classic into a hit from Minogue’s Aphrodite era. Now good luck, and for the sake of Pride month, don’t mess it up.
“Just For Me” by SAINt JHN with SZA
The second single from the upcoming Space Jam movie is already setting itself up as a perfect companion to the digitally-oriented movie. The production is dripping and oozing with slick synths and basslines, bringing the Tron effect to both artists’ vocals. It’s a low-speed digi-fied car chase song that’s reminiscent of the explorations of moodier production that artists like Charli XCX and MARINA have been doing, and it fits the ranks well.
“How Dare You Want More” by Bleachers
How dare we ask for more? Apparently, someone did, hence this track. Has Jack Antonoff achieved mastery of lo fi, bedroom pop? Yes. Has he, like on this track, managed to up them all on five doses of Speed? Absolutely. You’re not sure where this song is taking you, but when the beat comes in, and the strings, and the saxophone (the glorious saxophone solo), you’re swept away and jiving and vibing and you have no idea you’re doing it.
“My Own Monster” by X Ambassadors
This new X Ambassadors track is a tribute to the monster/voice inside your head, as it didn’t need enough ammunition to begin with. The song is about realizing that the hurt that voice causes is something you’re strangely drawn to, despite recognizing it’s wrong. The haunting backing melodies and guitar strobes make the song a little chillier, a little spookier, a little more surreal than you’d probably want it to be. In a way, it does its job.
“already there” by Jasmine Thompson
After a pandemic spent waiting tables to reset, Jasmine Thompson returns with “already there,” a quiet and nostalgic track. More to the nostalgic for the artist, however, who reminisces on a romance struck up with a stranger at a bar, turning into a fond relationship. It subscribes to the recent fervor for songs with more narrative detail and vivid storylines, which when paired with Thompson’s airy, mesmerizing voice, evokes the necessary emotion as well.