MUSIC

6 New Songs You Should Hear this Week: Music in the Eye of the Storm

Featuring Tash Sultana, Anderson .Paak and Smokey Robinson, Khalid, Lostboycrow, MADELIN and more

This was an incredible week for music, with releases from the likes of Khalid, Sara Bareilles, Aurora, Marina and the Diamonds, Weyes Blood, Mac DeMarco, Vampire Weekend, and Anderson .Paak promising to brighten your day no matter what kind of music you're into.

Here are some of the week's best new tracks—some by lesser-known artists, some instant classics, but all finding some kind of peace within chaos, whether through forgiveness, self-love, wistful nostalgia, or comfort in one's makeshift family.

1. Anderson .Paak and Smokey Robinson: Make It Better

Anderson .Paak - Make It Better (ft. Smokey Robinson) (Official Video) www.youtube.com

This is the sonic equivalent of a long, deep drink of water at 3 AM; somehow refreshing on a soul-deep level, it's enhanced by cinematic strings and Smokey Robinson's '50s soul-style harmonies, which rise and fall over a punchy beat. It all comes together to form a song that's joyful and full of life, equal parts experimental and true to its influences. "Make It Better" is about deciding to work on a relationship instead of letting it fade away, and it's the perfect soundtrack for anybody trying to do the same. It also sounds tailor-made for a walk in a park on a spring day after a long, dark winter, or for a reconciliatory dance in the kitchen as the sun rises; in short, it sounds like a quiet redemption.

2. Tash Sultana: Can't Buy Happiness

Tash Sultana - Can't Buy Happiness (Official Video Clip) 4K www.youtube.com

Tash Sultana has returned with a luxuriously dreamy new single, her first release since 2018's excellent Flow State. "Can't Buy Happiness" is a slow burn, beginning with a still, quiet reflectiveness that bursts into full-on ecstasy about halfway through. Sultana has never been one to hold back, and here she unleashes the full scope of her voice, guitar, and creative vision, creating a psychedelic firework display that ebbs and flows with all the violence of a tropical storm. You might have to take a breath afterward because this is a rollercoaster in the best way, a wild ride through rich sonic textures, crashing waves, and flawless, emotive guitar riffs.

3. Noname: Song 32

Noname - Song 32 www.youtube.com

Noname is one of the best in the game right now, and she's returned to solidify this representation with a subdued new track called "Song 32." Her crystalline bars fit neatly over a sparse beat and erupt on the chorus, before settling back down into the rhythm and then rising back up again. It's a calm, gentle, and yet softly assertive composition; and ultimately, it sounds like a woman at peace with herself, keyed into her own strength. "I'm the best of America," she repeats, letting the music take over for a moment before launching back into her effortless, intricate verses.

4. Lostboycrow: Cody in the Valley

Cody in the Valley www.youtube.com

The rising singer from East L.A. has been touring relentlessly and steadily releasing bits of his first LP Santa Fe. This week, he dropped a new addition featuring the title track as well as "Cody in the Valley." The latter is misty, mournful pop at its purest; it's a sultry and unaffected tune that begins with pristine piano and builds up to a guitar-streaked chorus, fleshed out by rich harmonies. It's a song for sunsets and smoky nights and carries with it some of the nostalgic, saturated gloom of early Lorde; and it's a promising addition to Lostboycrow's growing body of impressive work.

5. MADELIN: Monarch

Monarch www.youtube.com

Experimental pop artist MADELIN just released a new single, and it's an eclectic and euphoric dance track that carries with it all the energy of a summer night in New York City. She told Popdust, "Monarch is inspired by the colorful intensity of the New York City and Brooklyn queer nightlife scene. I wrote it at a time in my life when going out and seeing all the unique, beautiful, artistic drag queens and club kids was the only thing making me feel truly alive. It's about being inspired by other people's creativity and getting closer to your own, feeling the collective energy of misfit humans together in one space, getting lost in the adrenaline, love, and beauty of a fleeting moment."

"Monarch" does justice to this mission. It's a gleaming collage of synths and beats, a danceable and energy-filled celebration of all the joy, strangeness, and communion that Brooklyn nightlife and queerness have to offer. Check out Popdust's 2018 interview with her here.

5. Khalid: Paradise

Khalid - Paradise (Audio) www.youtube.com

Though he's no longer a young dumb broke high school kid, Khalid is still just as good at creating effortlessly catchy tunes as he was back then. His songwriting talents have grown over the years, though, and Free Spirit showcases his knack for turning ordinary experiences into cinematic events. "Paradise" in particular is a casual, ultra-relaxed tribute to escapism, a song that seems made for smoke-filled rooms and late nights. His falsetto rises above a fluorescent beat, and a buoyant guitar outro adds to the song's carefree, dreamlike atmosphere. It's one of the highlights of his all-around fantastic sophomore album.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Find her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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Music Features

7 New Songs You Should Hear This Week: Music for New Beginnings

New songs from Lizzo, Weyes Blood, Jai Wolf and more. Made for falling in love, dancing the night away, and welcoming spring at last.

Spring is finally here, and this week's selection of new music is all about fresh starts. Whether they're celebrating newfound freedom after the end of a confining relationship or relishing early sparks of new love, these songs are made for dancing and free-falling into the bright blankness of the future.

"Gardener in Rain" compares music-making to gardening, while Lizzo wants you to celebrate no matter your size; but all of these songs radiate the kind of light and energy that's sure to propel you through the home stretch of winter, straight into whatever's coming next.

1. Slow Dakota — "Gardener in Rain"


Slow Dakota - "Canticle 69" www.youtube.com

Indiana native P.J. Saurteig has been releasing some of the best baroque-pop around for years now. His newest music—starting with "Canticle 69," the earworm about pornography ruining sex and/or how we're all living in the simulationhas been leaning more towards pop, but it never sacrifices Slow Dakota's characteristic lyrical integrity and existential rigor. "Gardener in Rain" shimmers with plucked keys and playful rhythms, which rise up with all the color and life of a garden in the heart of an April shower. It's a beautiful and triumphant composition about how making music or art of any kind may seem like shots in the dark, but just like a gardener knows he can't kill every weed, still, the daily process of crafting and creating soothes some of life's tribulations.

2. Lizzo feat. Missy Elliot— "Tempo"

Lizzo - Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) [Official Audio] www.youtube.com

Lizzo deserves every bit of press and praise she's ever gotten, so here's another mention—this time about her newest single, "Tempo," an exuberant and uncontainable ode to limitless self-love. If you haven't heard it yet, turn the volume up, put the disco ball on, forget every bit of insecurity you've ever felt, and embrace your extraordinary ability to move. Lizzo and Elliot speak and belt their truths over an intoxicating beat, intricate synthesizers, and electric sirens, making this a track that's both intense and effervescent, perfect for dancing yourself into a sweat, leaving you uplifted and ready to plunge fearlessly into the future.

3. Weyes Blood — "Something to Believe"

Weyes Blood | “Something to Believe" | Midwinter 2019 www.youtube.com

NPR just premiered Weyes Blood's new album, Titanic Rising, and it's an impressive follow-up to 2016's Front Row Seat to Earth. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter takes inspiration from everything from climate change to Jim Carrey, winding it all together to craft a musically innovative tribute to toughing it out in a world that seems to make less and less sense. On "Something to Believe," she continues her tradition of delivering songs that walk the line between humor and elegance, eloquence and sarcasm, abstract poetry and cultural commentary. A driving beat and euphoric, almost 1980s-power-ballad-esque guitar motif guide the song to its ecstatic chorus, making this the perfect track to blast on a long car ride or to listen to on your best headphones, drinking in the cacophony of sounds and lyrics that blend together to form an anthem for our modern era.

4. August Eve — "You Already Know"

August Eve - You Already Know (Official Visuals) www.youtube.com

An LA native like Weyes Blood, August Eve's rich, velvety vocals set her apart from the bevy of other artists creating similar dream-pop dirges. This song is a dizzying ode to words unsaid, to the secret little signs of love that weave their way between people like smoke through an underground club. "It's better in my mind / somewhere in my dreams / felt you look at me," she sings—lines that encapsulate a longing all-too-relatable to anyone who's ever temporarily fallen for a stranger, or who's experienced the brief, electric friction of new, unspoken affection. Near the end, the song rises out of its hazy gloom as lightly plucked violins escalate along with Eve's voice, evoking images of sunrises, open roads, and the possibilities of a new day.

5. Mathew V — "Catching Feelings"

Catching Feelings www.youtube.com

London-grown and Vancouver-based artist, Mathew V, just released his shamelessly danceable single "Catching Feelings," and it's the perfect song to get you tapping your feet at any time of day or night. This saccharine track glitters with life and vibrancy. The beat is just the right speed to match the rhythm of strutting down New York City streets, feeling the soft rays of early spring light, heading towards new possibilities. It's a bit formulaic, but in the best way; it feels simultaneously familiar and fresh, and marks the emergence of a formidable new talent in the dance-pop realm. Where the artist's previous releases have stayed more in the folk-pop sphere, this is an earnest, refreshing celebration of love, that most tumultuous, wonderful, and chaotic of emotions.

6. Jai Wolf — "Better Apart" (feat. Dresage)

Jai Wolf - "Better Apart" [feat. Dresage] (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

Jai Wolf's newest release may be one of the most exuberant songs about a breakup ever written. It's expansive enough to fill stadiums, catchy and easy enough on the ears to make it suitable for everything from lying around on a summer afternoon to smiling wryly in the last frame of a movie as your jet plane sails away from everyone and everything that's been holding you back. Jai Wolf's honeyed voice soars above the uncontainable beat and windswept synths, winding together to form a pop song that feels like the best kind of liberation—a promise that every ending is just a beginning.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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