Weekly Radio Roundup: Final Edition of the Semester

The most exciting tunes as you get ready to let loose in the summertime.

The arts desk is back with some recommendations of singles you may have missed this week. (Staff Illustration by Charlie Dodge)

The end is near and the statement isn’t necessarily foreboding. The end suggests the completion of finals and the freedom to wander the streets freely for the first time in months. In line with the theme of freedom, we’ve collected an array of celebratory singles that will hopefully provide you with a soundtrack for the summer as well as an excuse to openly sing and dance day after day. Thus, whether it’s Beyoncé or Arca, we hope to give you tunes for the future in this final edition of Weekly Radio Roundup. 

“Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)” by Megan Thee Stallion

Vanessa Handy, Social Media Editor

After releasing her powerhouse single “Savage” back in March — which became the forefront of a viral dance challenge on Tik Tok — the rapper known as “Hot Girl Meg” or Megan Thee Stallion is at it again. Take one female artist and Houston native who is taking the R&B and rap world by storm, and make it two. The result? The “Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé),” which revealed a fierce duo that we never knew we needed, one that sounds like a match made in hip-hop heaven. This remix is, as the lyrics say, “sassy, moody, nasty.” Beyoncé’s vocals are sultry in their approach as the song begins, letting listeners know that “Queen B” did not come to play around. Her introduction precedes Megan Thee Stallion’s opening verse that boasts attitude and gives way to a deep baseline and hi-hat combo — it’s equally in your face as it is playful. Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé perform as a sensual tag team, switching off at verses and intertwining in the chorus. The track celebrates dichotomy, being “hood but classy” and “rich but ratchet.” These women will have it all, and no one can get in the way of that. The “Savage Remix” is an unapologetic anthem that can inspire a little spunk in all of us. 

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“F&MU” by Kehlani

Alexandra Bentzien, Staff Writer

Ahead of the release of her sophomore album, Kehlani’s newest single, “F&MU,” offers meditation on make-up sex with a catchy beat that almost makes up for a generic text oozing with autotune. While the background rhythm cycling in support of the song is a familiar variation on a standard drum-kit mix, low bass makes the track bearable through a first listen as it bumps up the punchy attitude emanating from a voice mixing unapologetic notes of the fierce and the sexy. The effects of the strong, alluring intro begin to fade as the song takes shape as a sound-a-like failing to stand out among a slew of similar R&B-pop strack. One can only handle the surface tension of musical repetition and lyrical simplicity for so long before feeling a desperate need to dodge hearing the vapid pre-chorus lines “‘I hate you’ turns into ‘I love you’ in the bedroom” another time. 

“Happy” by TAEYEON

Alexandra Chan, Multimedia Editor

“Happy” by soloist Taeyeon is the latest single to sweep charts around the world. The light doo-wop rhythm that’s combined with a bright spring/summer aesthetic in the music video make for a comeback that is inherently Taeyeon’s style and a great addition to her consistently fantastic discography. Fans can sway along to the gentle melody, and the lyrics encourage listeners to seek out happiness and be determined to claim it as our own. The song reminisces on the swift happiness of old at a time that requires tenacity to find happiness. The simple, calming music video plays with the imagery of soft pastels and flowers, allowing us to escape. The chorus easily gets stuck in your head. Her voice stands strong with minimal instrumentals and her light harmonies are a cherry on top. What’s not to love? The vibes are excellent and it’s yet another perfect chill Taeyeon song to listen to at all times of the day.

“Kiss Me in the Morning” by Jorja Smith

Alexandra Bentizen, Staff Writer

Jorja Smith stretches jazz into contemporary territory with a glossy cover of “Kiss Me in the Morning,” the first single to be released from the soundtrack of Damien Chazelle’s forthcoming Netflix series, “The Eddy.” Chazelle returns this Friday with a story centered on the owner of a jazz club in Paris who soon finds himself entangled with the criminal underworld. The sudden changes in dynamic range quickly switch up the tone of the song, from a romantic run wherein Smith takes her time gliding through the chorus to the end of a verse punctuated by punchy piano chords. It makes sense that this song carries an air of the cinematic: its musical range of shifting emotional queues creates a sonic whirlwind, providing a glimpse into a drama whose trailer makes it seem like danger is ready to spring out from any corner. Whereas the original score features the voice of Joanna Kulig (who stars as a jazz singer in “The Eddy,” as she did in 2018’s “Cold War”) fluidly melding with the up-tempo rhythmic pull of the band, Smith’s vocals take center stage against trumpet solos and piano chords that punctuate the song with high-energy exclamation points.   

“Iron Worrier” by Ariel Pink

Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Music Editor

The warbling effects of Ariel Pink’s incongruous lyricism suggest his songs are trashy, scummy and ugly. And truth be told, they are. They’re a celebration of scum, of the ugliness of it all — there’s a certain charm behind the grime of it all. Below lo-fi, Ariel Pink navigates the realm of dirt-fi that pushes for the primitive amalgamation of sounds into delightful compositions of zaniness. As the seventh chapter of Mexican Summer’s “Looking Glass,” a musical series “focused on the human condition as reflected through remote connection,” “Iron Worrier” operates on the premises of delivering tranquility by merging noises: echoes, strums and harmonies. Whether or not you understand what’s being sung, Pink’s sound is soothing, pronouncing a new sonic vision that posits beauty resides in refuse, oft unheard and always around. 

“Photo ID” by Remi Wolf

Ethan Zack, Arts Editor

Since her debut single “Guy” early last year, Remi Wolf has not slipped up once. The rising artist has released a non-stop string of quality songs, each filled with ridiculously catchy hooks, stunning vocals and excellent production. Her new single “Photo ID” might just be the most experimental of the bunch so far, channeling the bubblegum sweetness of Madonna-era pop with a solid dose of 70s-style funk. If there’s one line to sum up this song, it’s when Wolf sings, “Sh-t gets weird when you talk about it.” From the vivid lyrics to the extra-psychedelic interlude about a minute into the matching bizarre music video, it all feels a little bit like a hazy drug trip in the best way possible. While it might not be the most complex song and it doesn’t quite manage to top Wolf’s previous single “Woo!,” not a minute has gone by in the past week when I haven’t had the chorus (“Lit in line / Smile for the photo ID”) bouncing around in the back of my head on a loop. It absolutely stuck to my brain, but I can’t say that I mind it very much. Remi Wolf has yet to put out a bad song and at this rate, I wouldn’t expect to hear one anytime soon.

“Nonbinary” by Arca

Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Music Editor

Transgressive and transmogrifying, the release of Arca’s latest single, “Nonbinary,” represents an assault on the canons of music that reifies discord in all its beautifully brutal anarchy. Like the twitching captions of her latest music video, the sounds of Arca never rest as they constantly interrogate their message and their structure in the only genuine way to engage in sonic liberation: pure riot. As Arca proclaims “I do what I wanna do when I wanna do it” over a haunting percussive, a sense of acceleration unveils itself as subtle electronic glitches pop in and out before exploding into a cacophony of metamorphosing madness that genuinely embodies “What a treat / It is to be / Nonbinary.” It’s a moment of glorious catharsis that’s both mantra and manifesto for a community that can finally lay their heads assuringly in the liberating strokes of Arca’s sonic mania.

Email the Music Desk at [email protected]

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