V’s New Music Round-Up
Here are some of the biggest and best releases of the week
Here are some of the biggest and best releases of the week
Text: Ahad Sanwari
Hello and welcome! Feeling a little chilly? Honestly, same. Almost feels like you need a nice warm hug, someone to wrap their arms around you and let the body heat course right through…oh well, in the event that that isn’t really happening for you anytime soon (*awkwardly raises hand*), welcome to V’s New Music Round-Up, where we tune you into some of the week’s biggest and best releases, and we’ll keep you warm instead.
Here are this week’s top picks:
Love for Sale by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Love for Sale isn’t any particularly different from Cheek to Cheek, it has the same amount of whimsy and interplay. What makes it more interesting is the two very different places the artists are in now, Gaga at the very top of her game in multiple industries, Bennett making what seems like his very last record. You can almost feel Gaga trying her best to be there for her friend, vocally and in spirit, when he can’t quite go all in, and it adds a poignant note to the record. On its own, Love for Sale is a fine collection of Cole Porter classics, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s the swan song of a legend with his most devoted fan.
In These Silent Days by Brandi Carlile
Carlile’s first record since the Highwomen is a powerful and intimate one. She’s always kept the quality of her music consistently high, and this time is no exception, tackling painful themes like motherhood, hard beginnings, religion, and the like, with a tone of country, folk, bluegrass, blues-y rock, americana, and more. She swings with high passion in tracks like “Broken Horses” and embraces the softer moments in “When You’re Wrong,” a show of absolute emotion and precision that’s really just more proof of what a truly excellent musician she really is.
“fue mejor” by Kali Uchis ft. SZA
The Kali Uchis track was quite a steamy and feisty one to begin with, but having veritable slow-burn firecracker SZA on, singing in English and Spanish, just elevates it to a whole other level. It feels almost empowering, much more passionate to hear the interplay of the two women, like some kind of stand off where each of them sound like they’re trying to one up the other while still going in tandem.
“Panic Attacks in Paradise/Maggots” by Ashnikko
Ashnikko drops two new tracks that feel like they were meant to live together. “Panic Attacks in Paradise” is the singer’s wallowing in her own sorrows, feeling hurt and lost while at the peak of her career. “Maggots,” on the other hand, is the natural (slightly manic) progression, where she goes straight from sadness to pure rage and aggression, ready to flatten you with her boot and willing to tear you down with each word. It’s how they go together as raw emotions that really make the duo work.
“Blessed and Free” by Kane Brown and H.E.R.
Kane Brown and H.E.R. continue on their wave of collaborations by pairing up with each other for the first time to croon about being thankful and grateful on a track that sounds way more like it would fit the former’s album than the latter’s. Which, of course, isn’t a bad thing at all, it just means that the Grammy winner ends up sounding a little more like a featured artist than a co-lead, and that inadvertently makes it feel like she’s stealing the show from Brown. Overall, though, it’s a well made, well sung duet that showcases two voices that melt together perfectly.
“Crazy Family” by Megan Thee Stallion, Maluma, and Rock Mafia
This was not the trio that anyone, really, was expecting to see for a song from the actual frickin Addams Family 2 soundtrack. Somehow, for a multilingual family I guess, this works? It’s just the right amount of quirky, with artists who have enough of a self-awareness of their own theatricality and aren’t afraid to take it there while still sounding as earnest and serious as possible. It’s…a lot of fun? I’m sorry, I’m still surprised that this is the collaboration I’m seeing, and it works this well!
“I Don’t Want to Talk” by Wallows
Even though “I Don’t Want to Talk” is ultimately a track about insecurity, with this production, the harmonicas, the riffs, the layered vocals, you would never be able to tell. It’s the catchiest Wallows have probably ever been, laced with a bit of a throwback vibe that sounds like a tribute to The Doors or Buddy Holly. In a list that’s quite nostalgia driven (you’ll see, keep reading), this track is such a perfect fit, and would be on any of your own similarly themed playlists as well.
“Finish Line” by Elton John and Stevie Wonder
There’s a huge amount of soul and gospel on John and Wonder’s long-awaited collaboration, complete with Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir. It’s a hallelujah of a track that’s all about getting through the darkest of times with the help of a friend by your side, like a 2021, male dominated version of Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends Are For.” It’s probably not what you thought their collab would sound like, but it’s the smart and successful way for them to go.
“Finesse” by Nija
Nija is really taking things into her own hands with her latest track, even though the irony is that the track is about losing control to an ex who’s capable of finessing his way back into her life. It’s a smooth spitfire of a song that takes on a pounding bass and progressively smooth beat to help amplify the singer’s vocals.
“Troubles A’ Comin” by Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones dropped a previously unreleased track, their cover of a 1970 track by The Chi-Lites, in the run-up to the 40th anniversary release of their 1981 album Tattoo You. It’s the kind of track that works for someone who’s looking to explore music beyond their own time for a bit, and just as much for someone who’s feeling nostalgic about a time gone by. And considering I happen to be both, I’m a fan of this rock, funk, and soul-laden groove.