Susan Behrends Valenzuela
So many good singles this week. So many great music videos — every track on here has one. We’ve gotten extremes in genres, ranging from hyperpop to lo-fi, and included an NYU student’s debut single. As classes start back up, these are some songs you should consider listening to on your commute.
“Good Ones” by Charli XCX
Sebastian Zufelt, Staff Writer
Having created one of the defining pieces of quarantine art with her album “how i’m feeling now,” Charli XCX faced high expectations for her follow up. “Good Ones,” the lead single from her forthcoming album, sees pop’s experimental queen moving away from introspective hyperpop to something reminiscent of Madonna in the ‘80s. As the song begins, it reveals Charli’s signature production style, driven by synthesizers and a four-on-the-floor kick. She soon details her troubles with men — the bad ones — lamenting how she always lets “the good ones go.” Clocking in at only two minutes and 16 seconds, it is an example of efficient songwriting, which is fitting for a frequently explored topic in pop music. In “Good Ones,” the British artist also takes the opportunity to reinvent her aesthetic, shifting from the less-filtered Charli to more of a classic noir diva. The song’s music video reflects this shift: It’s set at a funeral, contains burning books and has Charli strutting around in black lingerie and winged eyeliner. Easy to listen to and still distinctly Charli XCX, the song is — hopefully — a sign that the rest of the album will retain some of the intimacy and inventiveness of her other recent work.
“Silk Chiffon” by MUNA feat. Phoebe Bridgers
Yas Akdag, Music Editor
“Silk Chiffon” is yet another dynamic track from electro-pop trio MUNA, who recently signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ own label, Saddest Factory Records. MUNA’s first original single since “Bodies,” which was released in 2020, “Silk Chiffon” features acoustic guitar, big drums and is designed for a queer audience. As band member Naomi McPherson announced on Twitter: “Dyke anthem dropping on 9/7.” “Silk chiffon/That’s how it feels, oh, when she’s on me,” MUNA sings about a moment some queer people might relate to — that relatability is what the band hopes to achieve. The group also speaks to the queer experience through the song’s music video, where the trio recreates scenes from the queer cult movie, “But I’m A Cheerleader,” a comedy about a conversion therapy camp. Stellar moments include a presentation titled “STRAIGHT IS GREAT: 101” and the scene when MUNA escapes to a gay bar to perform. Phoebe Bridgers also features in the music video, singing from the balcony of a house modeled after the one in “But I’m A Cheerleader.” Her verse is a highlight; accompanied by overdriven electric guitar and uncharacteristically upbeat production, Bridgers showcases her seemingly banal yet insightful penmanship through lines like “I’m high and I’m feeling anxious/Inside the CVS.” Supporting Bridgers at the Governors Ball Music Festival and headlining their own show afterwards, MUNA has plenty in store for the future.
“The 90s” by FINNEAS
Candace Patrick, Staff Writer
Singer-songwriter-producer FINNEAS’s new single, “The 90s,” is a nostalgic love letter to his youth and innocence. Despite only being born in 1997, he reflects on the romanticized and optimistic turn of the century, citing the internet as a source of his personal turmoil. “Now my head feels so heavy/I’m left holding up the levee,” he sings — a testament to the many burdens of the 21st century. The song takes on a brave new sound for the artist as he uses autotune as a distinct stylistic device rather than to alter his naturally clean and rich vocals. “The 90s” has the lyricism of a ballad but the climactic energy of a techno anthem, demonstrating the immense range of FINNEAS’s musicality. Released alongside a chaotic yet choreographed music video, the song arrives just over a month before his debut album, “Optimist,” positioning FINNEAS as an exciting and evolving artist.
“your night out” by Alé
Yas Akdag, Music Editor
“I don’t give a fuck/This is my night out,” sings Alé in the chorus of his debut single, “your night out.” An up-and-coming artist, Alé is a student at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music whose main instruments include guitar and the production software, Ableton. As he describes it himself, “your night out” is for “getting ready for that party you wished you missed.” That sentiment is certainly conveyed in the hyperpop track, where catchy electric guitar riffs combine with fast drums, bouncy bass and digitally processed vocals. The accompanying music video complements the song well as Alé rides through New York on a Citi bike, showcases his love for Modelo beer and spray paints “your night out” onto a wall. Energetic and invigorating, “your night out” is just asking to be blasted on the way to your next party.
“lush” by boylife
Elizabeth Moshkevich, Contributing Writer
Though boylife’s new single, “lush,” technically came out on Aug. 31, I believe it still deserves a write-up — even if it left me both surprised and underwhelmed. The Los Angeles-based lo-fi artist is self-reflective throughout the track, leaving a pang in the listener’s stomach as he unfurls the story of a complicated former relationship. At times, the talented singer entrances his listeners, like when he croons, “I’ll memorize you/The sweat drip down your lips/The heat between your hips.” However, the melody feels anticlimactic and the production a little too understated. The song’s slow, relaxed beat is typical of lo-fi music, but it lacks variation and forward motion. There is a moment in the bridge where the song feels like it’s going somewhere as a string arrangement swells, but it quickly falls flat again. The final line, “I don’t blame you for being confused/So please don’t blame me for feeling used,” hit me hard the first time I heard it. However, each consecutive repetition has made me tune out boylife’s emotions, rather than experience them with greater intensity. Nevertheless, in “lush,” boylife provides space for his listeners to honestly confront post breakup pain and perhaps even start on the road to healing.
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