Guys, I’m going to be real with you: It’s been one hell of a week. I went into this week’s new music cautiously hopeful, but also really needing something to make every shitty thing that has happened recently feel even a tiny bit better. These are the songs that brought me some amount of pleasure this week.
Track 1: Poppy, “Bleach Blonde Baby”
I first heard about Poppy a couple years ago from my teenage sister, so you know she’s cool. Poppy is . . . a truly absurd electro-pop machine who probably comes from “our cotton candy dreams,” as she sings on “Bleach Blonde Baby.” Her lyrics often consider appearances, beauty standards, and internet culture in a way that isn’t criticizing so much as it is embodying (think Marina and the Diamonds meets Melanie Martinez, but like, so so much weirder). Her new album Poppy.Computer is out today, so rejoice!
Track 2: Phoebe Ryan, “James Has Changed”
Phoebe Ryan has been on my rotation since her cover mashup of “Ignition/Do You . . .” back in 2015. She’s been pretty sporadic with releasing new music, tending to prize singles and EPs over full records. Hopefully, that’s changing with the release of new single “James Has Changed,” a doo-wop-y breakup track that is just the kind of gummy pop I find comforting in these trying times.
Track 3: Maroon 5 ft. Julia Michaels, “Help Me Out”
Okay, but what has Maroon 5 been doing lately? As we keep naming different bands the “new” Maroon 5 (see: Imagine Dragons), Adam Levine’s band keeps on kicking. Their strategy over the past year seems to be teaming up with ultra-talented collaborators. It started last October, with Kendrick Lamar on “Don’t Wanna Know,” then Future on “Cold” in February. September followed with SZA on “What Lovers Do.” And now we have “Help Me Out,” featuring current star of our hearts, Julia Michaels. The single isn’t bad, but it’s made much better by Michaels’ choppy vocal ticks.
Track 4: Kelela, “Blue Light”
Though this is Kelela’s first studio album, the pop and R&B artist has been around for several years, not-so-quietly giving us slow jams for the ages. “Blue Light” is just one killer track on Take Me Apart, so get to listening. Vulture summed it up best in their recent piece on Kelela: “Take Me Apart is full of songs like what made that one great: equal parts sexy and mercurial, expansive and intimate–these are tracks ready for tears or twerking.”
Track 5: Sharon Van Etten, “I Wish I Knew”
So this song isn’t actually new (the first version came out in 2009) but it is a new reissue, so it counts. Brooklyn singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten is remixing and remastering her gorgeous debut album, (it was) Because I Was in Love. And this new version of “I Wish I Knew” manages to sound even more gut-wrenching–just what we needed!
See you next week!