Listen to This: Australian artist Mallrat heads to hyperpop

Read about this week’s most notable singles by Lucy Dacus, John Legend and more.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

In this edition of Listen to This, we have a diverse range of songs, from indie rock to unsuccessful pop punk. Yes, we have a negative review this week — listen to it at your own discretion. Read on for more.

“Your Love” by Mallrat

Yas Akdag, Music Editor

On “Your Love,” Mallrat trades soft electropop for grit and grime. Here, the Australian artist leans in a more trap-oriented direction, complete with thumping bass and 808 cowbells. On first listen, the song seems pretty innocent — Mallrat just wants “your love,” as she repeats incessantly throughout the chorus. But upon inspecting the lyrics, they reveal a darker and more sinister feel: “I know your type, what you likes / A young corpse bride, cold as ice,” she sings casually in her typical spoken tone. The verses are short and sweet, supported by a looped choir sample — the type you would find on a Drake track — while the production is peppered with haunting, autotuned vocal snippets and grainy synth flourishes. Mallrat never fails to subvert expectations and “Your Love” is no exception.

“Kissing Lessons” by Lucy Dacus

Annie Williams, Contributing Writer

Short and chock-full of sweetness, Lucy Dacus’ new single “Kissing Lessons” is a sugary look back at first love. The song, imbued with an upbeat sentimentality and lined by a steadfast thrum of guitars, catalogs a love story between two elementary schoolers, Lucy and Rachel. The sonic simplicity of the track and Dacus’ clear diction provide for an intimate listening experience. The lyrics showcase the singer’s trademark writing prowess and distinct voice. In true Dacus fashion, she also slips in a little emotional weight right when the song reaches its climax: “She wanted a three-story house / I wanted to live by a body of water / With my children and their father.” Dacus continues to sing of future plans as the major guitar riff oscillates around her voice, elevating it to a near-shout — a brief break into reality from her idyllic childhood crush. The last few lines of the song tells us how “Rachel’s family moved out of town / I don’t remember when we stopped hanging out / But I still wear a letter R charm on my bracelet,” which serves as the song’s main lesson: Even if they leave, you carry people for the rest of your life. 

“Tomorrow” by John Legend, Nas and Florian Picasso

Candace Patrick, Staff Writer

John Legend, Nas and DJ Florian Picasso have teamed up to produce an uplifting and high-spirited single, “Tomorrow.” The artists adopt a consistently sunny disposition, allowing the track to echo their optimism. Over the rolling melody of an ever-shifting piano line, John Legend’s soulful voice escalates into a falsetto during the chorus as he repeatedly croons, “Hello to tomorrow / Hello to tomorrow / Can’t wait to get started / Can’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow.” The track’s insistent syncopated rhythm keeps the track upbeat and creates the perfect blend of both hip-hop and power ballad. In his first verse, Nas reflects on the past, rapping, “Yeah, just 12 hours from now / After the sun go down / After barrels of laughter, barrels of fun / Goodbye to yesterday, I’m proud.” “Tomorrow” is a track that has come at the perfect time, as it reminds us to persevere and stay hopeful about our futures despite what may be going on around us. 

“emo girl” by Machine Gun Kelly feat. WILLOW

Holden Lay, Staff Writer

There are times when an artist — even one who you may not usually care for — deserves credit for trying a new sound. Machine Gun Kelly and WILLOW’s latest track “emo girl” is not one of those times. The track is a lifeless attempt at a 2000s pop punk love song. The instrumental intro starts off somewhat promising, with a Y2K-appropriate intro that’s sampled from the film “Jennifer’s Body” (starring Kelly’s fiancée, Megan Fox). But the guitars are overproduced, making the song lack the sloppy charm of pop punk’s best entries. However, things take a turn for the worse when MGK opens his mouth to sing: “She’s got makeup by the mirror in her bedroom / Thigh-high fishnets and some black boots.” It feels like he wrote these lyrics via a Mad Lib of emo-punk tropes — and it’s totally stale. Similarly, the line in the chorus: “I fell in love with an emo girl / I’m in love with an emo girl” leaves a lot to be desired. As a song, it’s formulaic and calculatedly superficial, and as a throwback to 2000s punk, it feels like a second-rate imitation rather than a loving homage. The track doesn’t even fulfill the bare minimum — it’s not catchy at all. This could’ve been a fun track, but personally, I failed to fall in love with “emo girl.”

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