Get to crying with these tender, gutting ballads.
Ready to Pop is totally ready to dig into some searing balladry. A good ballad is like a soothing but gut-wrenching piece of artwork: it'll make you feel all sorts of things, and it's nearly always open for interpretation. Perspective is everything and greatly informs how we see, think, feel, hear, and touch. This week, we bite into some of our new favorites, from Allie X to Camille Trust and Sam Setton. Below, check out our latest obsessions, rated on a (slay) scale of "Super Chill" to "Shook" to "Wig Snatched."
Allie X - "Focus"
We somehow still live in a world where Allie X, the goddess behind 2017's excellent, vibe-hard
CollXtion II, is still not a global phenomenon. She rocks our world but has gone sorely overlooked by the majority of music consumers. But we digress. Her new single "Focus," not to be confused with Ariana Grande's bop of the same name, is a hazy, synth-drenched ballad. It's like a dream you don't wanna wake up from ⎯⎯ so you put this sucker on loop. Her vocal is creamy, somehow soothing amidst hallucinatory swirls.
Slay Scale: Shook
Camille Trust - "Move On"
It takes courage to own up to your bullshit. As the embers of a dying relationship continue to smolder at her feet, Camille Trust revels in the lingering, sweltering heat. "I know I fucked up," she spits on the first line. Her brutal honesty not only about a former lover but her own role in the relationship's demise is refreshing and somehow wholly devastating. "People asking me how I'm holding up / I'm fucking fantastic," she later sings, turning to dark humor to consider moving on. But she can't, as she regals on the hook. Sometimes, as cliche as it sounds, time is the only healer.
Slay Scale: Shook
XYLØ - "Heaven Only Knows"
Teetering on mid-tempo territory, Paige Duddy's vocals are reliably smokey. She has a way of curling her tentacles around and through your brain, latching onto every membrane with abandon. "You can't seem to get a grip, I'm falling from your fingertips / Again, it's time to make a change, before I walk away," she sings, her heart bleeding onto her sleeve. The song is cut from predominantly acoustic guitar and piano, with harrowing flecks of darker instrumentation mingled in ghostly waves underneath. Once a duo, now a solo act, XYLØ remains as a shattering force as ever.
Slay Scale: Super Chill
Sam Setton - "Santiago"
We all have that one relationship, that one forlorn lover we can't seem to shake. No matter what we do, they come around again. Sam Setton finds himself unexpectedly yanked back to the past with one voicemail, which introduces his new softly-glowing new single. "Santiago" is a downcast, groove-motored mid-tempo flickering with the tenderness of the past with a heavy beat and a chilly vocal. He can't help but relive those emotions. Her voice punctures his heart all over again. "You remind me of a better day," he sings. His performance is commanding and spooky.
Slay Scale: Wig Snatched
Haley Reinhart - "Last Kiss Goodbye"
There are few singers quite like Haley Reinhart. She's another case of possessing incomparable talent that isn't given proper due. Her tenure on American Idol years ago still stays on our minds on the daily, and her post-show output is extraordinary. Her new, guitar-hued song "Last Kiss Goodbye" feels eerily like the classic era of singer-songwriters; think Carole King here, folks. Less is always more, and Reinhart's ability to float across a melody with sharpness is truly a wonder of the world.
Slay Scale: Shook
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