Welcome to a new semester of our Weekly Radio Roundups. A lot has changed since last May but thankfully, we had some great new music releases to get us through the summer. This week’s releases reflect several themes of the past few months: protesting racial inequality, the music world’s growing relationship with TikTok and dormant artists releasing new music specifically themed around quarantining. From SZA to Sofía Reyes, here are the most interesting singles of the week:
“Hit Different” by SZA feat. Ty Dolla $ign
By Isabella Armus, Staff Writer
Following her seminal Grammy-nominated LP “Ctrl,” and after a nearly three year long hiatus with no new music aside from a few song features and movie soundtracks, lauded R&B confessionalist SZA is finally back with her new single “Hit Different.” The track includes the airy, atmospheric meditations on insecurity that typically mark her discography, with lyrics like “I was into you from the beginnin’ even if you wasn’t mine / Scared to admit my shortcomin’s led to overdraft in this affair, declinin’.” The production employs a lo-fi style, with slinky high hats that pitter behind featured guest Ty Dolla $ign’s scant, hypnotic refrains, making the listening experience more of a light simmer than her signature scorching burns. But, despite its lack of a hooky, radio friendly bite, SZA’s dreamy vocal performance across the three minute runtime still manages to lure you into her tranquil space. It’s easy to chill out with this single but it’s also a very exciting teaser for what’s to come.
“Tick Tock” by Clean Bandit and Mabel feat. 24kGoldn
By Ana Cubas, Music Editor
“Tick Tock” is the most obvious attempt at internet virality since Drake’s “Toosie Slide.” As the EDM-inspired backing progresses into a bouncy dance beat, it is easy to see that the title’s similarity to numerous catchy beats on social media powerhouse TikTok is no coincidence: this song is formulated to trend, to swoon users into using “Tick Tock” for their next dance video. I will admit, Clean Bandit knows how to make songs that stick in your head. Their trademark classical-meets-pop works its way in through electronically altered violins, a contrast from 24kGoldn’s rapping that somehow works together effortlessly. Mabel’s airy singing is perfectly paired with the tropical melody that floats throughout the track. Maybe I won’t mind so much if this “Tick Tock” goes viral.
“Love Not Loving You” by Foxes
By Lexi Wolf, Contributing Writer
After a four year hiatus, Foxes has returned with another piece of pure ear candy. Her new single, “Love Not Loving You,” tells her story as she copes with the realization of a toxic relationship and the process of falling in love with herself. Coming off the height of her trademark 2014 Tumblr-infused, bubblegum-grunge aesthetic (think floral dresses and combat boots, all in pastel pink) and her chart-topping single “Clarity” with Zedd, she delivers a dose of pure pop almost reminiscent of Dua Lipa. Foxes intricately layers her own melody in the midst of 80s inspired bass and synths, creating a retro-esque track that highlights the necessity for bright, feel good music in dark, uncertain times. It’s the kind of music I have missed sincerely over the past few months. After nearly a year of uncertainty and chaos, isn’t it okay to take a break from crying in a ball while listening to Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski?
“What They’ll Say About Us” by FINNEAS
By Claire Jones, Contributing Writer
While the United States continues to exist in a perpetual state of unrest, FINNEAS has provided a glimpse of hope in his new single “What They’ll Say About Us.” FINNEAS seems to be reflecting on the recent protests against racial injustice, encouraging protesters to continue their fight despite the challenge of the ongoing pandemic. “We’ve got the time to take the world / And make it better than it ever was,” he sings in the chorus, looking forward to a better future. The lyrics are inspirational, meant to motivate his listeners. The song is not an anthem meant to hype up protesting crowds, but rather a slow acoustic beat to allow the listener a chance for a moment of reflection. While the sound isn’t too much of a departure from his other songs, the lyrics diverge away from his typical focus on love and relationships and instead provide a refreshingly positive outlook into the future of the world.
“Echalo Pa’ Ca” by Sofia Reyes feat. Darell and Lalo Ebratt
By Ana Cubas, Music Editor
Sofía Reyes is a force. With “Echalo Pa’ Ca,” the Mexican singer-songwriter provides a song as career-defining as her first hit with Jason Derulo in “1, 2, 3.” This time, she throws herself into the reggaeton world, sporting as much swagger as ROSALÍA in “TKN”. Reyes’ deep, majestic voice meets her most provocative lyrics yet and the end result is nothing short of steaming hot. This track is sultry, snappy and, with the help of featured artists Darell and Lalo Ebratt, reggaeton to the core. The spice of “Echalo Pa’ Ca” lingers long after the song is over, enough to make you want to immediately replay the track.
Email Isabella Armus, Ana Cubas, Lexi Wolf and Claire Jones at [email protected]