Puerto Rican trap star Bad Bunny is lovesick on his latest single. “Yonaguni,” which references the western island of Japan, closes with the artist singing in Japanese. This is Bad Bunny’s first solo release since his string of three new albums last year, YHLQMDLG, Las Que No Iban a Salir and El Último Tour del Mundo.
“Lost Cause,” by Billie Eilish
On “Lost Cause,” Billie Eilish maintains her cool-teen indifference. “Something’s in the air right now / Like I’m losing track of time / Like I don’t really care right now / But maybe that’s fine,” she croons with a subtle crack in her voice. The song is from her forthcoming album, Happier Than Ever, which is expected to be released on July 30.
“Solar Power,” by Lorde
Lorde’s “Solar Power,” the breezy first release from her third album of the same name, can be instructive for those who have spent the past year meeting on Zoom calls and doom-scrolling on social media. “I throw my cellular device in the water / Can you reach me? No, you can’t,” she sings, punctuating her statement with a giggle.
“Lumberjack,” by Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator’s last album, Igor, explored influences of disco, funk and R&B, and netted a win for best rap album at the 2020 Grammy Awards. On “Lumberjack,” the first single from Tyler’s sixth album, Call Me If You Get Lost, the artist re-embraces his rapping chops. The energetic song is built on a sharp-edged sample of 1994’s “2 Cups of Blood” by New York rap group Gravediggaz.
“Method,” by Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney’s 10th album, Path of Wellness, is an album of firsts for the Pacific Northwest rockers. It’s the first Sleater-Kinney album in 25 years without drummer Janet Weiss, who left the band in 2019. It is also the first entirely self-produced album from the band, which now consists of founding members Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. On “Method,” Brownstein takes the leading vocals in a vulnerable plea for love and comfort. “Could you be a little nicer to me? Could you try a little kindness, maybe?” she sings in breathy urgency.
“Crying,” by Pom Pom Squad
New York–based punk band Pom Pom Squad’s grunge guitars and seductive vocals from bandleader Mia Berrin has made their debut full-length album, Death of a Cheerleader, one of the most anticipated indie rock releases of this summer. On “Crying,” the band expands their sound to incorporate elements of jazz vocalists and girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s. There’s even a reference to the Crystals’ infamous 1962 song, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” in the song’s opening line.
“Dead Girl Walking,” by Jensen McRae
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jensen McRae went viral this January when she tweeted herself performing “Immune,” a vaccine-theme song she wrote in the style of introspective musician Phoebe Bridgers. “I posted the video thinking maybe like one to five thousand people would see it total,” she told WSJ in April. “Within 36 hours, two million people had seen it.” On her debut EP, Who Hurt You? McRae demonstrates a personal songwriting style that is just as emotional and specific as her timely song.
“Slide Tackle,” by Japanese Breakfast
After she released two successful indie rock albums about grief— Psychopomp in 2016 and Soft Sounds From Another Planet in 2017—Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, wanted to create an album that encompassed joy. Her new record, Jubilee, features several cheerful anthems, such as “Slide Tackle,” which bursts with bright horns.
“Please Stay,” by Lucy Dacus, featuring Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker
On “Please Stay” from singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus’s third album, Home Video, she highlights somber notes in familiar things. “Your clothes in the dryer / Your hair on the shower wall / Your toothbrush is too much / Your shoes, empty in the hall,” she sings. The track features harmonies with fellow songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker, who, with Dacus, also form the indie rock supergroup Boygenius.
“Bio18,” by Rostam
Rostam was once primarily known as a founding member of the alternative band Vampire Weekend, but he has since become an in-demand producer, songwriter and collaborator, working with artists like Haim, Hamilton Leithauser and Maggie Rogers. His second solo album, Changephobia, explores a new infatuation with the baritone saxophone. “Bio18” contains fluttering percussion and conga and scattered piano, while the singer tenderly pinpoints his feelings for another. “So I want you / And I want to / And I’m happy when you’re near me,” he concludes in the chorus.
“Having Our Way,” by Migos, featuring Drake
With Culture III, rap trio Migos—aka Offset, Quavo and Takeoff—have concluded their highly successful Culture trilogy. This final installment includes A-list features from Justin Bieber, Cardi B and Future, as well as late rappers Juice WRLD and Pop Smoke. The Migos collaboration to debut highest on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is “Having Our Way,” a sizzling groove on which Drake joins the trio to meditate on love and fortune.
“Raindrops,” by GoldLink and Flo Milli
Despite what the song’s title suggests, “Raindrops” provides a chill soundtrack for lounging in the summer sun. “This right here that new bop / Type to make the mood stop,” guest rapper Flo Milli proclaims in a staccato singsong on the song’s chorus. The collaboration is part of Washington, D.C. rapper GoldLink’s latest album, Haram!
“How Can I Make It Ok?” by Wolf Alice
English alt-rock band Wolf Alice takes on 1980s-inspired new wave on “How Can I Make It Ok?” which appears on their third record, Blue Weekend. The album is the follow-up to their Mercury Prize-winning album Visions of a Life which was released in 2017. The track ascends from airy tune to stadium-ready rock jam, complete with singer Ellie Rowsell’s echoing yowls.
“Jackie,” by Yves Tumor
The latest offering from experimental artist Yves Tumor is the glam rock ballad “Jackie.” Electrifying guitars back up Yves Tumor’s vocals, which are reminiscent of Prince’s. “Old flame / We were torn apart right by the sleeve,” they sing mechanically, as if their doomed relationship ripped away any emotion they had left. The song is Tumor’s first solo release since Heaven To a Tortured Mind, their acclaimed record from 2020.
“Dustland,” by the Killers and Bruce Springsteen
The Killers and Bruce Springsteen have released “Dustland,” a new rendition of the Killers’ “A Dustland Fairytale” from the band’s 2008 album, Day & Age. The Killers most recently put out their sixth album, Imploding the Mirage, last summer. Meanwhile, Springsteen has not been shy about working with new collaborators. After he released an album, Letter To You, last year, he was featured on “Chinatown,” a single from producer Jack Antonoff’s pop project, Bleachers.
“Deluge In the South,” by Squirrel Flower
Boston-born songwriter Ella Williams, aka Squirrel Flower, opens “Deluge In the South” with a fumbled guitar line. It’s the sonic equivalent of the unpredictability Williams sings about, as she adopts a folk-rock falsetto à la Aimee Mann alongside tender guitar strums. The song appears on Squirrel Flower’s sophomore record, Planet (i), which came out this month.
Listen to the full playlist on Spotify here.
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