Listen to This: Off camera, ‘Elliot’s Song’ captivates

Read about this week’s most notable singles by HAIM, Ashe and more.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Nearly two weeks after the “Euphoria” season two finale, the show still finds a way to get talked about — this time through the release of “Elliot’s Song.” We won’t spoil anything, but if you weren’t impressed with it during the show, you might want to consider giving it a second chance. This week, we also review the latest singles in pop and rock. Read on for more.

“Elliot’s Song” by Dominic Fike and Zendaya

Lea Filidore, Contributing Writer

Known for its absurdly long appearance on the HBO hit series “Euphoria,” Dominic Fike and Zendaya’s shortened, improved version of “Elliot’s Song” deserves another listen. Untitled in its initial debut, “Elliot’s Song” was met with intense criticism from “Euphoria” fans, who complained that it was too long and left viewers feeling painfully awkward. Having heard these criticisms loud and clear, the official version of “Elliot’s Song” is not only a reasonable length, but a tastefully melancholic ode to the complexities of personal relationships. 

The song has a raw, stripped-down feel and is driven by Fike’s captivating vocals, which are supported by gentle and simple guitar. Unlike its television counterpart, the official version of “Elliot’s Song” also includes vocal accompaniment from Zendaya. In a soft and beautiful harmony, Zendaya’s voice blends seamlessly with Fike’s as they lament, “Been some time since we’ve spoken.” The song’s delicate feel and hopeful mood easily lend themselves to a calming yet melancholy setting — this song would certainly not be out of place in a rainy-day or sad playlist. Regardless of the bad reputation the original “Elliot’s Song” garnered from impatient “Euphoria” fans, the song is worthy of a chance to win your heart and prove that it was “worth it in the end.”

“Lost Track” by HAIM

Holden Lay, Staff Writer

HAIM’s latest, “Lost Track” —  an aptly titled unreleased loose song from their memorable recent record, “Women in Music Pt. III” — provides interesting insight into the band’s process, though it’s clear why it didn’t make the final cut. Clocking in at just under two-and-a-half minutes, this delicate glockenspiel-driven slice of chamber-pop is far from the soaring, infectiously catchy direction they’ve gone in as of late. That being said, it shows off a wonderful, tightly constructed and subtler side to their songwriting. The trio’s pitch-perfect harmonies are as satisfying as ever, and they shine over a barebones base of a simple melody and syncopated handclaps. Although “Lost Track” almost feels like it’s over before it starts, it leaves me wanting more.

“Another Man’s Jeans” by Ashe

Candace Patrick, Staff Writer

Ashe’s first release of the new year, “Another Man’s Jeans,” is flirty, fun and can brighten up anyone’s day. The “Moral of the Story” singer ditches her traditionally somber sound, rejecting heartbreak for a renewed sense of confidence and carefreeness. Boppy percussions — including upbeat handclaps and a syncopated cowbell — maintain a steady rhythm throughout, while a summery slide guitar technique fills in the instrumental interludes. In the chorus, Ashe sings flirtatiously, “Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh / Come on, make a move if you know what I mean / Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh / Or I can be the girl in another man’s jeans,” before leading into a playful spoken bridge where her teasing tone reminds us not to take life too seriously. The outro features an intense, retro powering-down sound effect after the energetic whirlwind of the song. The track’s music video, filmed in Mexico, is a lively and colorful celebration of moving on and letting go, promising an exciting new era of Ashe. 

“At the End of the Day” by Wallows

Ethan Beck, Contributing Writer 

When Wallows first appeared in 2017, it was easy to think of them as sanded-down pop-rock that exists to be playlist filler. But in the build-up to the band’s sophomore album, “Tell Me That It’s Over,” they have taken their polished, occasionally milquetoast indie-pop and given it a new sense of purpose. On lead single “I Don’t Want to Talk,” the trio added a harmonica and glitched-out guitars to vary their sound. Their newest tune, “At the End of the Day,” takes it one step further, with guitars that could come from a New Order song and a real sense of melancholy. Guitarist-vocalist Braeden Lemasters sings lead on this one, which is a major step up from Dylan Minette, whose voice has always had a tinge of apathy to it. Lemasters brings a sense of genuine heartbreak to “At the End of the Day,” centering some appealing bittersweetness in the song’s ’80s giant synths and snare drums.

“Moving by Backwards” by SALES

Annie Williams, Contributing Writer

To say TikTok has upended the music world would be an understatement. This is especially true for Florida-based duo SALES, who might be better known for their hits “Renee” and “Chinese New Year,” which both went viral on the app. However, SALES’ latest single, “Moving by Backwards,” pulls away from the colorful jangly pop they’re so known for and shifts to something slightly more somber. Introspective and intimate, Lauren Morgan, the band’s frontwoman, sings in her characteristically thin vocals that “It’s all in my head / But guess where it ends” and “You know what I miss / You know what I mean.” The understated rhythm, intertwined with a recurrent, straightforward melody, allows for a subdued vulnerability, with a soft drumbeat and guitar strains constantly oscillating from string to string. The song is tinged with the laid-back, lo-fi tone they’re so known for, making it a perfect chill listen to get you through midterms.

“COMPLETE MESS” by 5 Seconds of Summer

Paree Chopra, Staff Writer

With their latest single “COMPLETE MESS” teasing their fifth album, 5 Seconds of Summer has finally returned. In the anthemic song, the pop-rock band perfectly describe the ethereal chaos of falling in love. Starting off with low guitar strums, Luke Hemmings’ vocals echo a transcendent quality that matches the lyrics: “Caught up in heaven, but your heaven ain’t the same / And I’ve never been a saint, have I?” The chorus then explodes into instrumental and vocal harmonies that intertwine beautifully with the lyrics. In a statement, the band confirmed that “COMPLETE MESS” was the first song they wrote and produced independently. They decided to pay homage to one of their biggest songs, “Amnesia,” and to “Slip Away,” from Hemmings’ solo debut album. The song’s title adds to the nostalgia and fanservice of this “COMPLETE MESS” — in its chorus, the band sings, “Oh, you make me complete / You make me complete / You make me a complete mess.” The band explained that their new sound is so authentically them that it re-establishes 10 reconnection with their fans, hinting at an exciting new era.

“Bam Bam” by Camila Cabello featuring Ed Sheeran

Candace Patrick, Staff Writer

Camila Cabello puts a cheerful and upbeat spin on the breakup song in her newest single, “Bam Bam.” Collaborating with Ed Sheeran on this optimistic, feel-good heartbreak anthem, she reflects on a failed relationship and how she prioritized bouncing back and moving on. Naturally, some fans have been speculating about some of the song’s lyrics, since it comes just a few months after Cabello’s public breakup with Shawn Mendes. While the artist alludes to their relationship in the first verse, the track focuses more on her personal recovery and how she’s learning to dance away her heartbreak. In the chorus, she sings, “Así e’ la vida, sí (Así e’) / Yeah, that’s just life, baby / Yeah, love came around and it knocked me down / But I’m back on my feet.” Backed by a catchy Latin pop rhythm and a toe-tapping guitar riff, the multilingual track pays homage to Cabello’s Cuban roots. Sheeran accompanies her lively vocals in a way that echoes their previous duet on his 2019 single “South of the Border.” 

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