Susan Behrends Valenzuela
When artists experiment in a new capacity, whether it be a remix or a recent single, there’s a looming curiosity or hope that their endeavor will be a successful one. A compelling reimagining of a track can enliven and prompt a sense of hope, or preconceived opinions of a release can be shattered. As finals arrive in full force, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, but fear not! This week’s singles bring hope that a break from work will soon come. From Ariana Grande’s appearance on The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears” to a hint of Garbage’s upcoming album on “No God No Masters,” these tracks are fit to boost your morale.
“Save Your Tears (Remix)” By The Weeknd feat. Ariana Grande
Isabella Armus, Contributing Writer
Before you dismiss this as just another remix, listen to “Save Your Tears.” Marking the third collaboration between pop power duo The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, the two harmonize and create retro magic on this track. Though The Weeknd doesn’t shift the melancholic lyrics of the original version from “After Hours,” Grande’s voice weaves through the entire tune, singing in a near-unrecognizable lower register. Her style unexpectedly punctuates the sparkly ‘80s synths and gives the short (but sweet) song duration a more dream-like quality that’ll undoubtedly have you grooving along.
“No Gods No Masters” by Garbage
Holly Seefeldt, Contributing Writer
Alternative rock mavens Garbage released the title track from their upcoming album, “No Gods No Masters,” which premieres on June 11. The song displays their signature heavy electronics fused with garage-band style guitar, drums and bass. Shirley Manson’s vocals complete the sonic mixture by layering gentle harmonies over confident verses. The song’s upbeat energy and conversational tone disguise the cautionary advice delivered in its lyrics. “The future is yours just the same/No masters or gods to blame,” sings Manson, imploring listeners to make their own choices and hold themselves accountable. At first, I thought the song would be a political statement based on its title. After hearing the song, I realized the song has a personal introspective. In a few words, Manson distills a complicated idea down to a clear message: look at what’s inside of you because action starts from within. It’s a heavy concept for an otherwise radio-worthy single, but I have a feeling “No Gods No Masters” is but one layer of what is soon to come.
“Nobles” by The Alchemist feat. Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue
Sophia Carr, Staff Writer
“Nobles” is the lead single of decorated hip-hop producer The Alchemist’s upcoming EP. The song features Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue exchanging cathartic verses over a jubilant beat, reminiscent of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.” The song’s intro and outro set the tone for the song, which samples dialogue from the 1984 fantasy movie “The Neverending Story” about preventing negative energy from affecting a utopian land. This song is about stopping dark forces from overtaking your life. Earl Sweatshirt sounds as if he is finally at peace with the demons that he has tackled in his previous work, “The rest of the plan got scrapped when I landed, invested in arts/I do less when I stretch ‘fore I hit the bar,” he raps with an aura of contentment. While Navy Blue similarly raps about personal growth, “Depths of the man that I was from the start/Stay next to the fam, got a place in my heart, chest.” Like other Sweatshirt and Navy Blue collaborations, this single requires a close analysis of the lyrics to fully understand the way they bare their souls through their lyricism. This song emphasizes transparency through The Alchemist’s nostalgia-evoking production, and I hope to see more lucrative collaborations from these three in the future.
“Alive and Dying (Waving, Smiling)” by Angel Olsen
Ana Cubas, Music Editor
Angel Olsen’s “Waving, Smiling” is revamped with a heavenly layer of string instruments in “Alive and Dying (Waving, Smiling).” Olsen’s lyrics paint the portrait of one leaving a relationship, and in the process, letting go of the past. The original track is bare-boned, guitar-driven, intimate and raw. The orchestral arrangement, by Jherek Bischoff, transforms the song into what feels like a short film — violins intensifying at the peak of the second verse, the moment of realization for Olsen. The instrumental force is best demonstrated when she repeats, “The sun is shining.” As the orchestra breaks from their single note and disperses into layers — poignantly beaming through a window just like sunlight, and her clarity emphasized. There’s a healing power to Olsen’s voice, exemplifying strength, pain, reassurance and patience. In a single note, she can reveal a plethora of emotions, which listeners can feel in both versions of the track. With the string arrangement complimenting Olsen’s sentiments on the song, I’m already craving another track with her on it.
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