Listen to This: Jack Harlow exudes confidence on ‘Nail Tech’

Read about this week’s most notable singles by Sabrina Carpenter, Porridge Radio and more.

After the music video for “INDUSTRY BABY” dropped, one thing became clear: Jack Harlow is hot — like, really hot — but he can also spit bars. Seven months later, Kanye West proclaimed Harlow was on his list of the top five rappers at the moment. Though we’ll take anything Kanye says with a grain of salt, it’s true that Harlow is currently riding a high; there’s no better example of this than his latest single, “Nail Tech.” Read on for more.

 

“Nail Tech” by Jack Harlow

Holly Grace Jamili, Contributing Writer

Louisville braggart Jack Harlow wants you to bow down to him and his newest single, “Nail Tech.” Reminiscent of Harlow’s feature on Lil Nas X’s transcendent anthem “INDUSTRY BABY,” the track commences with a horn section that carry Harlow’s haughty vocal parade about reeking of money. His commitment to his music and his loved ones, rather than to social media, is clear when he condemns Close Friends stories on the ’gram, instead prioritizing real life: “Ten toes, that’s my M.O. / Fam’ over ’gram, that’s my M.O. (on my mama) / Fuck a Close Friends, I got friends that I keep close.” Harlow refers to himself as royalty, because when he touches down in his hometown, the people there “baow, baow, baow, baow.” Rich violins and delicate arpeggiated piano chords escort Harlow out of his closing chorus. The onetime underdog respectfully drops the mic on past critics who thought he could never make it big. 

 

“Fast Times” by Sabrina Carpenter

Sunny Sequeira, UTA Staff Editor

After teasing the song over a month ago, Sabrina Carpenter’s latest single “Fast Times” exceeds expectations with its smooth, jazzy beat, a noticeable contrast from her recent, slower-paced singles. A quick drumroll opens the song as a synth joins in and Carpenter starts singing: “Sun’s up too soon like daylight savings / Mixed emotions are congregatin’.” The artist moves seamlessly between lyrics — her sultry voice revealing a confidence we’ve heard before — while her angelic backing vocals remind listeners to appreciate every moment they have: “These are fast times and fast nights, yeah / No time for rewrites, we couldn’t help it.” The snappy bridge is light and playful, before a sharp bass and soft vocals pull you back into a dream state. At just under three minutes, the runtime is perfect for sinking into Carpenter’s buoyant sound and transcending to a more glamorous world. “Fast Times” showcases Carpenter’s lively side and only adds to the buzz surrounding her much-anticipated fifth studio album.

 

“Back to the Radio” by Porridge Radio

Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Arts Editor

Porridge Radio is back with “Back to the Radio.” How fitting, right? Beyond the verbal redundancy, this latest single represents a detour into the world of fun, catchy pop songs that you’d roll your windows down for and sing along to. It is, after all, a song for the radio. Far from the punk growl that characterized their previous releases, “Back to the Radio” sees lead singer Dana Margolin adopt a more melodic tune that invites listeners to complement her vocals with their own. As she sings “Talk back to the radio, think loud in the car / I miss everything now, we’re worth nothing at all,” an invitation extends itself to the experiencer to chant back, reclaiming the meaning behind the lyrics with their voice. The song captures the particular magic behind what makes songs like Fun.’s “We Are Young” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” such pleasurable car tunes. These are songs that pair soul-searing lyrics with infectious melodies, the type of sonic experience that tugs at your heart and imprints its rhythm on your body — you know, songs that get stuck in your head both because you can’t stop thinking about what they’ve got to say and because of how architecturally perfect they are as a pop composition. “Back to the Radio” is an electric song for the masses. Hopefully it infects the world through the radio waves.

 

“Maybe Baby” by maye 

Alyssa Goldberg, Staff Writer

maye’s latest single, “Maybe Baby,” is a melodic love song full of calming guitar riffs and smooth vocals. maye previewed a snippet of it during her NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in September and finally dropped the full track on Feb. 18. “Maybe Baby” feels soft and intimate, like she’s personally singing it for each listener. Describing it as a “voicemail ballad,” the song is peaceful from start to finish, making it a soothing lullaby for when love feels most unpredictable. “Problem is you’re the boy of my dreams / What if it’s just a made up scene?” she sings. After her song “Tú” went viral on YouTube, the Venezuelan, Miami-raised and Los Angeles-based artist caught the attention of The Marías, Omar Apollo and Barack Obama, who included her track on his summer 2020 playlist. With so many mainstream Latin artists making reggaeton these days, maye diverges and brings dream-pop tracks into the Latin music space, even if “Maybe Baby” is only in English.

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