Each week we break down our favorite song, highlight our honorable mentions, and wrap them all up with other staff recommendations into a playlist just for you.
Ariana Grande is back with a vengeance after her highly publicized breakup with Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson. Her new release, “thank u, next”, is a pure pop banger in every sense of the phrase, combining Grande’s classic sugary sweetness with a newfound sense of gratitude for all that her past relationships have given her. “One taught me love/ One taught me patience/ One taught me pain,” the star sings, reminiscing on the loves of her life with equal fondness and retrospective wisdom. Sassy and poignant lyrics like these float over a catchy R&B beat, and by the end of “thank u, next”, any listener would be singing along. The single seemed to be a direct response to a gag made by Davidson on last week’s SNL promos, where he jokingly proposed to Maggie Rogers and then muttered “0 for 3.” Though we’ll never know if Grande had this in store before that moment, “thank u, next” is a clear move for Grande to take back the power from her past to propel herself into the future.
Iceage – “Balm of Gilead”
This grave new track from the Danish punk rock band Iceage is deliciously dark, full of snarling vocals that only gain in intensity after the startling open line, “Finish up Mama, you vicious carnivore.” –Laura Dzubay
Vince Staples – “Feels Like Summer”
LCD Soundsystem – “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”
This politically fused Heaven 17 cover is genuinely groovy, a powerful union of retro synth-pop and LCD Soundsystem’s rich electronic capabilities. –Laura Dzubay
William Tyler – “Fail Safe”
The guitars are what carry William Tyler’s “Fail Safe”, building and blooming for three minutes alongside a persistent drum track that evokes a serene autumn bike ride. — Laura Dzubay
King Princess – “Pussy Is God”
King Princess’ new single is straight-up sweet — the meta background of “New release, new release,” rings a catchy and unabashed message of affection, with lines like, “I think you’re so cute when you get high/ I’ve never been good at this nice shit/ But I can try if you like it.” — Laura Dzubay
OTHER SONGS WE’RE SPINNING
Bob Dylan – “Call Letter Blues – Take 1”
Even with Bob Dylan being Bob Dylan, it would have been tough to see the first-rate quality of More Blood, More Tracks coming; “Call Letter Blues – Take 1” is a perfect example of the ’70s-Dylan callback we may not have known we needed, reaching back in time like a lost parallel version of “Meet Me in the Morning” and resurrecting the guitar thrums and understated poetry that made the original album a masterpiece. — Laura Dzubay
Mona Haydar – “Barbarian”
“If they’re civilized, I’d rather stay savage,” Mona Haydar declares at the beginning of new track “Barbarian”, a proclamation of confidence in the face of prejudice that merges Haydar’s air-tight flow with catchy saxophone hooks that will stick in your head for weeks. –Clara Scott
Tobi Lou – “Orange”
Tobi Lou is quickly making a name for himself in gentle, magical hip-hop, and “Orange” is a prime recent example of why, as the artist mulls over love, his childhood, and society, all amidst a dreamy and fuzzy soundscape. –Laura Dzubay
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Party For One”
After the smash hit success of her last album, Emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen has bounded back onto the charts with single “Party for One”, a self-empowerment anthem that carries all of Jepsen’s trademarks to create characteristically solid pop that will stand the test of time. –Clara Scott
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST
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