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! Let me use this space to ask, now that the Grammy eligibility period is over, who do you think will be nominated? Who do you want to be nominated? Which of the artists and releases we’ve talked about in our round-ups before do you think will be nominated? Pertinent, world-ending questions, yes, but in the hopes of breeding new hopefuls, welcome to V’s New Music Round-Up, where we tune you into some of the week’s biggest and best releases. And maybe one of these will be up for next year’s ceremony? Time will tell!
Here are this week’s top picks:
Little Men by Marc E. Bassy
Little Men feels very much like an album in the conventional sense, what a lot of full-length records typically sound like. The vibe they give off is of a “compilation,” a collection of tracks that can be disparate in a thematic sense with a sometimes common link – in this case, it’s the personal touches to the stories Bassy relates. The production is tight and airy, and there are a lot of highlights (Syd’s featured appearance in particular). It’s a touch of current mainstream mixed with early 21st century LP work that’s a pretty easy listen.
“Boyz” by Jesy Nelson ft. Nicki Minaj
Nelson’s first solo single since her departure from Little Mix is a fine song. It has standard pop production with a little bit of added punk and spunk, plus an always dependable verse from Nicki Minaj, who’ll mold herself to the theme and shout-out the artist, in true fashion. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s not really anything exciting, maybe it’s the continued fascination with bad boys that pop culture seems to be leaning away from, it’s perfectly serviceable, but it leaves the listener with more of an “okay, what’s next?” mindset.
“Colors” by Lauren Jauregui
From one former girl grouper to another, there’s inherently more to unpack with a Lauren Jauregui song. She’s frequently focused on the deeper themes of mental health, understated feelings, exploring the subconscious. She does more of that on “Colors,” singing of masking the thoughts that bubble underneath to some grand, almost operatic production, paired with a speaking narrative of an outro. Unlike “Boyz,” you may not be listening to this one over and over, but it has enough substance to tide you down with just one spin.
“MAMMAMIA” by Måneskin
The Italian band’s first new bit of music since their Eurovision slaying “Zitti a buoni” is a refreshing reminder of the fact that hitting the mainstream doesn’t have to change an artist’s perception of their music anymore. “MAMMAMIA” has the same sort of blase, careless, balls-to-the-wall rock n roll energy that every other Måneskin track has, and it’s what could be another chart-buster for them, although they clearly don’t care and do it because they just enjoy it.
“I must apologise” by PinkPantheress
For a quick little ditty of a track, it does manage to leave quite an impression and get stuck in your head. The drum-and-bass heavy “I must apologise” samples “Gypsy Woman” by Crystal Waters, in signature PinkPantheress fashion, and she makes it her own, showing that for such a young musician, she has a good idea of how to adapt references to suit your own style. It makes the wait for her debut mixtape that much more interesting, to say the least.
“Lo Siento BB:/” by Tainy with Bad Bunny and Julieta Venegas
Tainy showcases some great range with his abilities as a producer on this track, taking the softer approach to completely enhance Venegas’ more ethereal vocals, and then bringing the beat in at a steady pace to go with Bad Bunny’s more rhythmic flow. A song about developing feelings for a one night stand, it’s emotional when it needs to be and goes harder when it has to and finds the perfect balance of storytelling with decently fun music.
“Super” by Cordae
Cordae can always count on some real compelling production and musical choices to help pull a track through, because lyrically, this might not be it. The irony is that he spends most of the track saying he doesn’t need to brag about all he’s got and achieved, then proceeds to do…exactly that. There’s some impactful stuff thrown into the mix there, with lyrics like, “They tried to question my character/ Young rich and Black, they hate me in America,” but they’re far and few in between and ultimately just get buried under more flexing.
“Working for the Knife” by Mitski
With Mitski, the beauty is never knowing what you’re going to end up with. And that’s perfectly true on this track, with melodies that just take new sharp turns every second, with twinkling pianos in one moment, slick guitar riffs the next. The singer-songwriter returns after a two-year hiatus to bemoan the system she’s been pushed into, languishing over the fact that she doesn’t have the opportunity to tell her stories and mold her life the way she wants to, being stuck under “the knife.” It’s a compelling track and a great return to form for Mitski.
“Midnight Snacks” by Kelis
Kelis releases her first single in seven years, returning to her penchant for food with “Midnight Snacks.” There’s the sex appeal and sensuality that’s always been present in the singer’s (and now chef!!) output, with some bouncier production that’s quite reminiscent of her 2011 collaboration with Calvin Harris, “Bounce.” It’s a smooth and slinky track that just oozes passion and midnight snacking (per se), and it’s like Kelis never left at all.
“Big” by Tank and the Bangas and Big Freedia
Tank and the Bangas are one of those artists that you should definitely know about but not enough people do. And through the magic of Big Freedia’s some way larger-than-life vocal stylings, they’re bringing the fun and the funk back to this track that’s at once jazz, pop, soul, hip-hop, R&B, anything you want it to be really. It’s essentially a brief little introduction into the absolute ball of a time you’d have listening to any of their tracks.