V’s New Music Round-Up

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

Hello and welcome! East coasters, you ready for some reprieve from all that precipitation (rain, snow, hail, cats, dogs, who even knows anymore)? West coasters, you ready for some reprieve from thanking your stars you’re not east coasters right now? People around the world, you ready for…well, something fun? Then I welcome you 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:

Laurel Hell by Mitski

Image courtesy of Dead Oceans

Laurel Hell operates in two minds. One is the joyous, happy, care-free 80s synth and drum-machine driven effect that just bleeds joy. The other is this dark, almost operatic and depressing melody. Both sounds and atmospheres fight for a place in this album, but are united by Mitski’s common wariness and disillusion from her indie-pop stardom. In the context of the record, they’re all one, representing abandon and cautious glee. It’s a well thought-out and carefully crafted record that speaks to her own thoughts and journeys in an intimate way that I highly recommend, no matter what your taste.

Give Me The Future by Bastille

Image courtesy of Virgin Records

There are more palpable 80s influences on Give Me The Future, although they’re more about embracing the no-fucks-given attitude of glam rock and arena rock. The album is anthemic and uplifting, the kind of record that you’d listen to post-pandemic (if that stage were to exist) and just completely drown your sorrows and worries to. You want to shout along to it and just blast it everywhere you go. It’s an achievement when an album can make you feel things without doing too much, and Bastille does just that here.

“Do We Have a Problem?” by Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby

Image courtesy of Republic Records

You can tell that Nicki Minaj is somewhat borrowing from her form on her mixtape days in her long-awaited hiatus-breaking release, as she’s allowed herself to go all in with her bars and beats. Lil Baby does a capable job of adding the same amount of serious rhythm and cadence. Gone are the days of the theatrical Minaj, this is a more game-faced artist with more of a vendetta, more of a drive. It may not be entertaining in the slightest, but that doesn’t make it any less worth checking out.

“emo girl” by Machine Gun Kelly ft. WILLOW

Image courtesy of Bad Boy/Interscope Records

Featuring an opening cameo by Megan Fox (yep), this track essentially proceeds to list out every single “emo girl” trope you can think of, from the dark eyeliner and the chokers, to her supposed taste in music and men. You can tell the styles of both artists involved collide quite well, and they really just seamlessly bounce off each other here. It would be slightly more interesting if there were more apparent self-awareness on the track, like they know this girl’s just a stereotype and they’re mocking it, rather than more of a straight offering. But MGK and WILLOW have so much fun on here that you just have to join them, you have to.

“Especially You” by Wallows

Image courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation

After the incredibly joyful and nostalgic “I Don’t Want to Talk” (that isn’t actually joyful, tbh), we continue on this 60s, Buddy Holly-inspired sound with “Especially You,” although there’s more of an electronic bend on this one, with some trippy early 00s synth sound-effects punctuating the track about the confusion that surrounds the early stages of a relationship. It elevates the mood and proves why Wallows is one of the most interesting mainstream-adjacent groups out there, focusing on full-package output that helps you think of music in multiple ways.

“Gospel” by Dr. Dre with Eminem

Image courtesy of Aftermath/Interscope Records

Dr. Dre and Eminem are back to prove that they’re not willing to cede their spot from the top with their collaboration for the GTA soundtrack. On top of a relatively catchy beat and more pared-down flow to let the lyrics speak, the two rap about why they’re still number one in the hip-hop business and do tend to veer a little to the aggressive. It’s a good reminder to audiences, though, of their capabilities when they come together, especially given both will be in the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year among several other stalwarts of the field.

“SAOKO” by Rosalía

Image courtesy of Columbia Records

I’m going to say it, of all the tracks Rosalía has released over the past few months (including the ones with the Weeknd, which…sigh), this has to be my favorite. It’s just such a left turn of a song that you never really see coming, this dark and dingy spin on reggaeton with the classic drums, a warped piano melody, and a rapping Rosalía who really sounds like she’s about to spit out some blood. It’s haunting and mesmerizing and really excites me for the direction her upcoming MOTOMAMI studio album will take.

“Marry Me” by Jennifer Lopez and Maluma

Image courtesy of Universal Studios

It’s safe to say we all know Marry Me is coming February 11, we’ve seen promos for it pretty much anywhere but the kitchen sink at this point. The title track is a pretty standard “all I want is you” love song with a pop-reggaeton sound that’s definitely quite catchy (and even sounds a bit like Justin Bieber’s eternal bop “Sorry,” anyone else hear it?). It’s fine, which is honestly the impression I have of the project it’s attached to. I’m not excited by it or tempted to watch the film because of it, that’s the real flaw. I’ll vibe to it on the radio, but that’s about it.

“she’s all i wanna be” by Tate McRae

Image courtesy of RCA Records

McRae enters the alt-pop space with more of a rock influence with her latest release, which sees her pair with heavyweight producer Greg Kurstin for a lovelorn story. Her lyrics are as relatable as they come, lamenting the demise of a relationship when you see your significant other fall for another person that you can’t help wanting to be yourself. While it’s a good track, I can’t help but just be transported back to a bunch of 00s and early 10s high school movies and realize this would fit well on their soundtracks, but not stand out. It’s solid by being very by-the-numbers, I guess.

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