Listen to this: Mariah Carey releases another Christmas song

Read about the most notable singles by Charli XCX, IDLES and more.

Mariah Carey defrosted early this year, releasing a new Christmas song featuring R&B artist Khalid and choirmaster Kirk Franklin. Charli XCX also dropped a collaboration-heavy song this week with “New Shapes.” Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek and Christine and the Queens combine their talents on an electro-pop production pandering to all three artists’ dedicated fanbases. We also review a song by harpist Mary Lattimore, which can only be found on Bandcamp, a music platform made for musicians. Read on for more. 

“Fall in Love at Christmas” by Mariah Carey featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin 

Candace Patrick, Staff Writer

According to Mariah Carey, it’s already time to deck the halls. The Queen of Christmas dropped her newest Christmas single, “Fall in Love at Christmas,” on Nov. 5. She announced the song in a festive Instagram post, officially kickstarting the holiday season. The dreamy ballad, featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin, was released alongside a cheerful music video in which Carey welcomes winter right into her living room. While many people have mixed feelings about playing Christmas music in November, the song’s romantic guitar melody blends seamlessly with Khalid’s subtle harmonies, lulling you into the Christmas spirit. The smooth track breaks into a full-blown gospel outro, complete with Carey’s signature vocal runs. If you’re exhausted from hearing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” played on repeat, give “Fall in Love at Christmas” a listen — it might just make you drag the baubles out early. 

“New Shapes” by Charli XCX featuring Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek 

Isabella Armus, Deputy Arts Editor 

In the second single leading up to her fifth studio album, “CRASH,” Charli XCX trades hyperpop for anthemic ’80s bliss. Layered between crescendoing synth chords, Charli creates an enthralling chorus by making the brash announcement that what we want, she “ain’t got it.” In the first verse, she describes an ideal love that isn’t restricting, but instead comes as a complete surprise. With her signature sass, Christine and the Queens builds on this idea by insisting that her lover take a nosedive into private places where they can just “let go.” Caroline Polachek slows the track down in the bridge, crooning about a melancholic relationship. Though the verses are passionate and turbulent, the rest of the track is ecstatic, electropop gold — making “New Shapes” an easy song to dance and sob along to. Hopefully, it will mark the first of many collaborations between this powerhouse trio.

“Flowers in the Center Lane Sway” by Mary Lattimore and GROWING
Holden Lay, Staff Writer

Los Angeles-based harpist Mary Lattimore’s latest single, “Flowers in the Center Lane Sway,” finds her harp awash in the rich warmth of Brooklyn-based drone-noise group GROWING’s synths. Their Bandcamp-exclusive collaboration is a delight. While Lattimore’s signature effects-laden harp is used sparingly, the resulting sound is overwhelming, as she layers over the gradual rise of GROWING’s nearly 16-minute textural swell. GROWING’s wall-of-sound sensibility and distinct ideas about minimalism bring a Brian Eno-esque sound to this track that is distinct from both artists’ typical work. It’s exciting to see a collaboration that pushes them in a new direction. For fans of ambient and drone, don’t pass on this track or its B side, “Tagada, Night Rises.”

“Car Crash” by IDLES

Ethan Beck, Contributing Writer

It was a bold move for British post-punk group IDLES to announce their new album with a waltzing, piano-based ballad — but if “The Beachland Ballroom” was a lead single intended to set up quirky expectations for their forthcoming album “Crawler,” then “Car Crash” appeals right to their hardcore fans. IDLES starts with thick distortion, before providing a jagged, steady drumbeat. Despite the alluring intensity and layers of noise, the instrumentation feels like window dressing for lead singer Joe Talbot’s story about his near-fatal car crash. Although Talbot’s lyrics are slightly corny — “Smash! / I’m in a car crash” is the song’s most groan-worthy moment — the sheer chaos of the music makes up for them. But the elegance of “The Beachland Ballroom” and the comparative ordinariness of “Car Crash” raises a big question: Will “Crawler” finally be the album that finds IDLES moving beyond their comfort zone? Unfortunately, “Car Crash” suggests it won’t.

“One Right Now” by Post Malone with The Weeknd

Elissa Lonie, Contributing Writer 

“One Right Now” is the second single on Post Malone’s unannounced fourth album . A collaboration with The Weeknd, the song features ’80s electro-pop influences — akin to those in The Weeknd’s hit “Blinding Lights” —  as well as a dark, popping synth beat. “You think it’s so easy fuckin’ with my feelings / I got one comin’ over and one right now,” they sing together with typical angst, self-pity and heartbreak. The two artists harmonize in the closing chorus, finding a distinct balance in each other’s voices. All of these elements are critical to constructing the song’s simple story: A cheating ex wants to get back together, but they’ve already moved on. With over 14 million Spotify streams since its release less than a week ago, this track is sure to dominate the charts for the rest of 2021.

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