Hello and welcome! 12 days later, is the Grammys fever starting to wear off? Have you had your fill spamming the nominees and winners from that night? Then welcome to V’s new music round-up, where we tune you into some of the week’s biggest and best releases, whether they be singles or albums.
Here are this week’s top picks:
El Dorado by 24kGoldn
24kGoldn understands how to create a radio hit, because that’s pretty much what the entirety of El Dorado is. While many of the tracks border on sounding too much like his big hit, “Mood” (which is on the album), that shouldn’t be a bad thing for fans of melodic trap that took “Mood” to number one and made it one of the year’s biggest hits in the first place.
KG0516 by KAROL G
The almost hour long album is chock full of collaborations with artists like J Balvin, Ozuna, Ludacris, and Nicki Minaj. But it’s her solo moments that really give her the chance to let her guard down and shine, where she starts experimenting with different sounds, like on “200 COPAS” and “DVD.” It’s a medley of different sounds and experiences that only enhances our understanding of her as an artist.
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) by Justin Bieber
Bieber drops six new tracks on the deluxe version of Justice, including collabs with Tori Kelly, DaBaby, Jaden Smith, and Lil Uzi Vert. As a package, they carry forward the best part of the album: taking listeners on a musical adventure, playing around with different variations of a synth-driven pop and trap sound. They’re hard to discern when taken with the album as a whole, but each individual track proudly stands out.
“You All Over Me (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift ft. Maren Morris
The best thing about the Swift-Morris collab is the fact that it instantly transports listeners back to an era when Fearless was all that played on the radio. The lyricism features more of the wide-eyed innocence that made Swift so endearing during her early career and the trademark country sounds of drawn out strings and harmonicas that make that flashback even clearer.
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X is unabashedly queer and open about his identity, something he reinforces with his new track. He revealed that the song was written to his 14 year old self about a guy he met recently, asking him to be open and stop hiding. The electropop track, with subtle Latin pop influences, showcases a more confident artist who’s more willing to experiment with his range and material.
“Dancing With The Devil” by Demi Lovato
The title track to the Demi Lovato docu-series on YouTube, Lovato takes her somber life story and the hardships of living precariously and adds an R&B melody to it, complete with lavish strings. The result is a grand, larger than life track, almost like a Bond song (can we make this one?), that gives her full allowance to belt, croon, hit notes low and high, and encapsulate the mood of her documentary.
“All Your Exes” by Julia Michaels
There’s something to ditching fairytale notions of love that Julia Michaels fully gets as she returns to the front of the stage once again. The track starts off calm, acoustic, before completely diving into a grungier, alt-rock groove where Michaels proclaims that she wants all memories of her significant other’s past dead, so that all that remains is what they have together. It’s a twisted way of saying “you’re my one and only,” but it’s definitely the more realistic way.
“Richer” by Rod Wave ft. Polo G
It’s not new for rappers to flaunt their riches, or “flex” for lack of a better term. The difference between a typical flex and Wave’s track with Polo G is the underlying sincerity. Sure, there’s the cars and girls, trademark elements of the art of flexing, but they’re both grateful of the fact that they were able to get to this point rather than just saying “look how much money I got!”
“Hard For The Next” by Moneybagg Yo and Future
Moneybagg and Future trade verses about pampering their love interests, telling her how they can show their love. For Moneybagg, it’s about being romantic and being affectionate, while Future clearly knows that being rich gives him the chance to spoil her to no end. It’s a repartee where both allow someone else to take center stage while still referencing themselves.
“indica” by Alaina Castillo
Castillo takes a spacey, dreamy, almost ethereal route with “indica,” her vocals sounding like they’re just floating through, bringing in the punch where it needs to. The best part about this song, however, is that she abandons all pretense of sticking to one beat throughout, playing with percussions and rhythms, making every bar of the song a unique experience of its own.
“It’s Not My Fault” by Princess Nokia
Princess Nokia has confidence for days, weeks, and this track is the perfect medium for her to show it off. “It’s Not My Fault” was inspired by OnlyFans, of which Nokia is a member, and talks of allowing yourself to take ownership of your body and what you can gain from it. It’s a celebration of self, essentially what the ultimate goal of OnlyFans could be.
“Heat Waves” by Glass Animals and iann dior
The bass heavy “Heat Waves,” already a growing hit on alternative radio, now has a rap verse courtesy of rising star iann dior. Tracks with very distinctive sounds and appeals like “Heat Waves” often run the risk of losing it by the addition of new elements. Luckily, dior’s cameo is short and sweet, enough to imbue the song with a different flavor without letting it overtake the original.
“Unlearn” by benny blanco and Gracie Abrams
benny blanco is unafraid of using more sobering melodies that edge on balladry territory. But Abrams is the real star here, completely giving her vocals up to the emotions of the song. She sings about learning to love others better by loosening the grip of her own anxieties, constantly sounding like she’s on the verge of tears. It’s a complete package of a song that sells its message hard.