There’s more new music being thrown in our faces than ever in this streaming, no-one’s-paying-for-music culture. And that’s great in theory. But how do you know what’s really good, as opposed to the just okay?
Welcome to a brand new recurring hashtag Friday franchise: #StillWorthListeningToOnMonday, a collection of the best of #NewMusicFriday that you’ll actually care about after the weekend so you don’t waste your valuable stream worth fractions of a cent.
French Montana, “Unforgettable (Mariah Carey Remix) (feat. Swae Lee & Mariah Carey)”
There’s fucking new Mariah Carey out, and you’re busy debating a Taylor Swift single? Oh no, not I. The Elusive Chanteuse sounds gorgeous on both of these original and acoustic French Montana moments. (Just don’t let “Despacito” beat Mimi’s record, please — buy the Taylor single or whatever needs to be done to stop the madness. Priorities.)
Satica, “Honey Whiskey”
Meet Satica, a gorgeous Long Beach-bred poet-turned-songwriter, born of Cambodian refugees, with a honeyed, soothing voice that suits the title of her latest release just swimmingly. The silky-smooth song was produced by AOBeats, and slides in quite nicely in a playlist alongside fellow downtempo R&B divas like Tinashe, SZA and Jhene Aiko. The track was written “vicariously” about a friend who had an affair on a vacation — consider this the dreamy whipped cream on top of your wildest fantasies. (For me, that is eating an entire Fudgie the Whale® Carvel ice cream cake alone in the dark.)
BETSY, “You Won’t Love Me”
Steve Anderson, the music maestro we have to thank for Kylie Minogue‘s “Confide In Me” and Britney‘s “Breathe On Me” among other masterpieces, tweeted his support for Welsh singer-songwriter BETSY‘s latest single tonight. Is there any other vote of confidence necessary? That voice, the drama — hello, Cher!
Sofia Carson, “Ins and Outs”
Are you An Old who still considers Hilary Duff a Disney princess? Perhaps, then, you don’t already know Sofia Carson, one of the new queen bees running the Disney scene. (Your younger cousin knows her from Descendants.) Naturally, she moonlights as a pop princess in her spare time: “Ins and Outs” was written by — who else? — masterful pop scribes du jour Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter alongside Jason Evigan, and plays like a breezy sibling to all the breathy Selena Gomez jams they’ve concocted together.
Loreen, “Ocean Away”
Th Other Queen of Sweden, Loreen, is taking a little breather from the full-bodied “Euphoria” belting we’ve come to know her for with this latest Nude project. “Ocean Away” is a lovely, calming comedown from the throbbing lust of “Body” and trippy “Jungle” with Elliphant.
Lana Del Rey, “Lust For Life (feat. The Weeknd)” (The Avener Rework)
Lana Del Rey, “Lust For Life (feat. The Weeknd)” (BloodPop® Remix)
Lust For Life remains an incredible glimmer of hope in dire times, and Lana Del Rey remains one of the most remix-friendly acts in the game. (She fucking hates that Cedric Gervais “Summertime Sadness” remix, though.) Out of nowhere comes a series of new Lana Del Mixes, including a jarring take on “Summer Bummer” by Clams Casino (mostly a bummer) and a marginally better effort by Snakehips. BloodPop® and French house producer The Avener‘s both reworked “Lust For Life” and supplied the best results: the former giving the song the full-on Bieber-y pop gloss, while the latter supplies chilled-out Daft Punk vibes.
Fifth Harmony, “Don’t Say You Love Me”
Look, at least one of these songs had to be above average, right? The confidently titled Fifth Harmony is chock full of fine, all-grown-up anonymous-pop, and is almost surely Fourth Harmony’s final album as a group — their Forever, if you will — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some Bops™ to keep us satisfied until the Lauren Jauregui solo album arrives. The tender and slow-burning “Don’t Say You Love Me” is decidedly better and more interesting than anything the girls released leading up to this moment. Naturally, it’s buried deep inside the LP. (Kudos to the girls for final track “Bridges,” which works to shade both the U.S. administration and Camila Cabello at the same time: “we build bridges, not walls.“)
Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now”
I know, shut up: “Younger Now” came out one whole week ago, so it’s actually older now (eh heh), but this incredible #SWLTOM franchise wasn’t around yet. Have I mentioned how much I love “Younger Now” and “Malibu”? Both songs bring me great peace. I love happy-sad Miley, who smartly realizes like Madonna that nothing really matters, nothing lasts forever, and love is all you need. If the rest of the album is as spiritually soothing, it’ll be a favorite of the year.
Photo credits: Galen Oakes / BMG / Neil Krug