Listen To This: Sabrina Song just wants ‘To Know You’

Read about this week’s most notable singles by Arctic Monkeys, LCD Soundsystem and more.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Yas Akdag, Paree Chopra and Holden Lay

This week, we have two alt-rock-leaning songs and two alt-pop-leaning songs. Take your pick! As an added bonus, the two pop songs are by former and current NYU students Sabrina Song and Stevie Bill. Read on for more.

“To Know You” by Sabrina Song 

Yas Akdag, Music Editor

Since graduating from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Sabrina Song has proven herself to be a gifted and powerful singer-songwriter-producer. The artist writes and produces all of her music and was even featured on an NPR “Top Shelf” episode co-hosted by Phoebe Bridgers. On her latest single, “To Know You,” Song contemplates what she and her lover would do in a quasi-apocalyptic scenario. Pairing her delicate alternative pop production with her soft, soulful vocals, Song sings, “’Cause even when it’s good / There’s an empty feeling / You fill me up / Talk me down.” And just like that, drums come bouncing in, offering a pulsating drive to the song as it builds on itself. Subtle strings drift in and out; a bass guitar quickly oscillates between two notes; synths occasionally bleep and bloop — there’s a real sense of urgency to “To Know You,” but an equal calmness. “Just to know you,” she repeats in the chorus. It’s a seemingly simple ask, but as you trace the arc of the song, you get the feeling she might mean more than just that. Song is currently on a mini-tour and will be performing at Our Wicked Lady on Oct. 7. 

“Body Paint” by Arctic Monkeys 

Paree Chopra, Staff Writer

Arctic Monkeys return with “Body Paint,” another single off of their upcoming album “The Car.” The song follows unique chord progressions, orchestral sections and a throwback to legendary art-rock tunes used by The Beatles and David Bowie. There’s a cinematic tone to this song that stems from the stunning production and draws you in for an otherworldly experience. Lead singer Alex Turner utilizes his falsetto to emphasize the sultry and swaggering undertones of “Body Paint” as he sings the opening line, “For a master of deception and subterfuge / You’ve made yourself quite the bed to lie in.” The song traces the affair of a lover in which body paint is used to reflect oppositional ideas. Turner sings, “There’s still a trace of body paint / On your legs and on your arms and on your face” — he sings about the touches of the mysterious person on his lover’s body, as well as the touches of his lover imprinted on his own body, even after the heartbreak. “Body Paint” is a contemplative ballad about a tryst gone horribly wrong, Arctic Monkeys define the approach to their seventh studio album — an explorative creative endeavor that will leave the fans wanting more.

“new body rhumba” by LCD Soundsystem

Holden Lay, Staff Writer

In a strange chain of events, it somehow took Noah Baumbach adapting Don DeLillo’s film “White Noise” to get James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem to finally release new music. However, this isn’t to look a gift horse in the mouth, since “new body rhumba” is the sound of a band that hasn’t skipped a beat, despite their last record coming out in 2017. Clocking in at over seven minutes — always a good sign for the group — the song has a frenzied build, marrying the spanky guitar-driven punk-ish urgency of their pre-2010s work with the pulsing, massive synth sounds of later standouts such as “call the police.” Lyrically, the track — while thankfully not tied to its associated film in any particular way — is an almost hilariously 2022-ish update on Murphy’s usual targets. Here, he skewers bowl-based food chains and gig-work (“Would you like to add a protein? / Would you like to ask me about my day rate?”), as well as consumerist brand-worship (rhythmically chanting “Pana, sonic” and “Necco mini ‘nilla wafers”). However, as always, he avoids self-parody through his covert sincerity. As the track winds to an end and Murphy sings “Leaving the ground / You feel your feet let go / The air a bit cooler now / Thinner in the lungs / Cleaner in the mouth” over an explosively swirling wall of noise, it’s hard not to be moved by the emotional immediacy of a sound that it once felt like the band would never harness again. “new body rhumba” proves that despite all the American Express-cardholder-exclusive Brooklyn Steel shows and wine-bar openings they’ve put their fans through, LCD Soundsystem haven’t lost their touch for being surprisingly emotional and effortlessly cool. 

“Messy” by Stevie Bill 

Yas Akdag, Music Editor

On “Messy,” Dutch singer-songwriter Stevie Bill reinvents the will-they-won’t-they, I-shouldn’t-but-I-want-to trope in love songs and rom-coms alike. Over a ping-pong-meets-arcade game-like synth melody, the current Clive Davis student sings, “We’re a girl / And a boy / But it’s not like that / And my friends say you’re cute / But it’s not like that.” As it turns out, it is just like that. Through her confessional, storytelling-driven songwriting, Bill charts the progression of this forbidden relationship, with the song’s understated, Gen-Z-pop production placing her voice and lyrics front and center. Meanwhile, the fingerpicked acoustic guitar pre-choruses offer a “Lover”-era Taylor Swift sound, which is extended through Bill’s vulnerability and playfulness. She feels comfortable singing, “I think I like it messy like that” as much as “When you took off your clothes it was over / Probably wouldn’t if I was sober.” If you still aren’t convinced, just check out this funny — and probably relatable — TikTok Bill made. 

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