V’s New Music Round-Up

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

Hello and welcome! We’re in the thick of Fall now, we’re breaking out the plaids, the full-sleeved clothing, the pants, the jacke- wait, no, maybe not that yet. Point being, the chill is in the air, and we’ve gotta have the playlist to match. And on that note…welcome to V’s New Music Round-Up, where we tune you into some of the week’s biggest and best releases (quite the transition, ain’t it?).

Here are this week’s top picks:

MONTERO by Lil Nas X

Image courtesy of Columbia Records

MONTERO lives up to the hype and the grandeur that Lil Nas has built up over the past few months of singles and extravagance and the most outre performances you could think of. It’s larger than life, it’s exuberant, it’s experimental (kind of). It has moments of deviating from the sound it creates as well, with tracks like “LOST IN THE CITADEL,” “VOID,” and “LIFE AFTER SALEM,” which are welcome deviations. Unlike a lot of albums in the past few weeks, MONTERO accomplishes the task of achieving what it set out to do, which is a big enough deal.

Final (Vol.1) by Enrique Iglesias

Image courtesy of Sony Music International

It’s an interesting little duality on Iglesias’ first studio album in seven years. On the one hand, every Spanish track on the album sounds perfectly crafted to be a 2021 radio hit. But every English track sounds made for 2012? It’s like two different eras at play, both with very distinctive sounds and appeals. You can’t really be mad at it, though, both are extremely fun times to live in, musically speaking, and maybe you’re just glad that you FINALLY have new music from Enrique Iglesias.

Ch.1 Vs.1 by Cynthia Erivo

Image courtesy of UMG Recordings

Oscar-nominated actress Erivo’s debut record feels like listening to a modern epic of sorts, influenced by the theatricality of her background, dripping in beats of uplifting melodies and harmonies. Her voice shines through, spanning the highs and lows of each emotion perfectly, although the production on a whole could have benefitted from a little more variety? On the whole, though, it encapsulates the vibe she was going for to a T and is a strong debut to make.

Teenage Heartbreak by LILHUDDY

Image courtesy of Immersive/Sandlot/Geffen

The opening title track really tells you what the record is going to be all about: it captures the angst and emotion of heartbreak and feelings and such as a youngin’. A lot of the record foregoes complex thought for raw outbursts, which is basically how emotions manifest at that age anyway. There are some real notes of nuance throughout, particularly in tracks like “America’s Sweetheart” and “21st Century Vampire,” which suggest that there’s more than LILHUDDY hasn’t shown, and I’m curious to see how that’ll manifest down the line once he’s older and wiser.

“Who’s In Your Head” by Jonas Brothers

Image courtesy of Jonas Brothers Recordings

One thing I can always appreciate about the Jonas trio is that every song they make sounds like something they’d comfortably be able to jam out at the spur-of-a-moment concert. Not only does it sound organically made, but they also have a lot of fun doing it. “Who’s In Your Head” is quite simple in premise, but brings the right amount of funk and restraint to make it a song that’ll quite possibly be stuck in your own head for a few weeks or so.

“You Will Be Found” by Sam Smith with Summer Walker

Image courtesy of Capitol Records UK

“You Will Be Found” is kind of what I expected it would be, given it’s coming from the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack, all strings and emotion and hope. It could quite easily be clawing or pandering, it’s a hard trap to avoid for songs like these, but with Smith letting the lyrics do the work instead of his voice, and Walker’s own very angelic contribution, it successfully gets its point across with just the right amount of sugar.

“Love For Sale” by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

Image courtesy of Columbia Records

This reworking of another Cole Porter classic (like the rest of the album) is really a great choice for a title track, since it really just sets the tone straight for what to expect with the album. Tony’s bringing his classic jazz swag (is that a thing? For Tony Bennett it is), Gaga’s bringing her theatrical showgirl energy, there’s no attempt at modernizing an oldie, it’s essentially what you expected them to be and, quite frankly, wanted them to be.

“V12” by iann dior ft. Lil Uzi Vert

Image courtesy of 10K Records

There’s some fun aspects to more traditional rap songs that you can’t really deny, especially when it comes to nailing a flow and finding an easy rhythm to bop along to. In that metric, “V12” is a big success, it’s catchy yet layered enough to hit the right note. But it’s nothing to rewrite history books about, the car metaphor in the lyrics are slightly tired, and there’s a peek of emotion from dior that he doesn’t fully go into. Good, I guess, but that might be it.

“Altar” by Kehlani

Image courtesy of TSNMI/Atlantic

Kehlani’s really ushering us into her new era with the best she can give, huh? “Altar” is an R&B track that, in a way, sounds like any other you’ve ever heard. But through your listen, it starts taking you to the places she’s imagining for you, weaving through its complex melodies and synths to convey deeper emotions, really transporting you in a way. It’s a brilliant way to set the tone for her third studio record and leave a little bit of mystery as well.

“La Funka” by Ozuna

Image courtesy of Aura Music Corp. Dist.

Fresh off a VMAs performance to debut the tune, “La Funka” almost feels like it’s here a little too late? Or maybe at the right time? All to say, it really feels like the kind of song that could soundtrack most summers, the kind where you’d ride around with the top down (and masks on), those cheesy beach montages, cool drinks with friends, it’s that whole mood. The beat, the funk, all of it embody this mid-summer vibe that a lot of people are craving for again.

“Colors and Shapes” by Mac Miller

Image courtesy of Warner Records

Now that we’re finally getting Miller’s opus mixtape, Faces, on streaming platforms, it should give casual listeners and fans more of an insight into his psyche leading up to his unfortunate demise. “Colors and Shapes” is one of those tracks that explores the darker sides of his life and his struggles with substance abuse, all surrounded by eerier, more experimental, demented production that makes you feel the chills, some really powerful stuff.

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