Must Listen, New Music: Week 13

My must-listen list of music containing singles, covers, EPs, and LPs all released between July 18th and July 24th.


Chris Cornell- “Patience”

You may want to have some tissues handy… the announcement for this Guns N’ Roses cover alone brought tears to my eyes. When you combine the cover’s initial inspiration with the knowledge of Chris Cornell’s tragic passing in 2017…it’s an emotional and beautiful cover to process.

Rock Legend, and Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell’s previously unheard cover of the Guns N’ Roses acoustic “Patience” was released by his estate on what would have been his 56th birthday. Vicky Cornell used the late singer’s official Instagram account to announce the cover’s release. On the day following, she posted a video comprised of family and touring pictures, and explained Cornell’s inspiration behind the recording and the family’s decision to release it: “One of Chris’s engineers recently reminded me of Chris’s recordings from sessions in 2016, which he still had. ‘Patience’ was one of them. That recording was inspired by our daughter Toni, who was a huge GNR fan and asked her dad to teach her to play it on the guitar. His cover is hauntingly beautiful; it brought it all back in a rush of bittersweet memories. His birthday seemed the perfect time to share this and celebrate Chris, his voice, music, stories and art. A man is not dead while his name is still spoken…and, through his art, an artist’s soul still burns as bright upon all those that look up to him and his memory. Releasing music that was special to Chris keeps a part of him here with us- his heart and his soul. His love and his legacy […]”

[ ℗ A Universal Music Enterprises release; ℗ 2020 Chris Cornell, under exclusive license to Universal Music Enterprises, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

Jaden- “Cabin Fever”

“Cabin Fever” sets the stage for Jaden’s upcoming project titled The Cool Cage: Cool Tape Vol. 3, which is the third installment of his The Cool Cafe: Cool Tape series, the first of which released in 2012 followed by the sequel in 2014. The series collection will be his first full-length project since ERYS dropped last year. “Cabin Fever” is the 22 year old phenom’s take on a quarantine summer love song. In the midst of his self-isolating, he catches ‘cabin fever’ as he longs for rekindling his romance. In a video chat with MTV’s Fresh Out Live, Smith explained the inspiration behind the song: “It’s a quarantine love song where you fall in love and you know its a summer thing. And then everybody’s on lockdown, and ‘ahh’, I have this girl I really like but I can’t see her […] It’s like that struggle of Romeo & Juliet kind of, but instead of the family’s holding them apart, the world’s holding them apart and all odds are against them.”

[ ℗ 2020 MSFTSMusic / Roc Nation Records, LLC. ]

mike.- “been thinking”

mike., previously known as Mike Stud, has spent the last two years developing and transitioning into a completely new sound (as we began to hear in the majority of his latest 2019 album Uhyuready? and a few single releases like “Fly You To The Moon” and “2 birds”– all of which were also released under the new name mike.). As opposed to Mike Stud’s hard-hitting raps, mike. presents chiller vibes placing focus on the acoustics, his soft singing voice, personal lyrics, and catchy melodies. For the single “been thinking”, mike. still misses his ex and wants to know if she feels the same. He can’t seem to remember who he was before they met or who he is now that they’re through, but what he does know is that he wants her back. Though mike. knows he has no business telling her who to love or what to want, he can’t stand the thought of her in someone else’s bed. Safe to say that mike.’s ‘been thinking’ and won’t stop thinking until he gets closure because there’s a bar stool next to him in Tennessee “with [her] name on it.”

[ ℗ 2020 Electric Feel Records. ]

Little Mix- “Holiday”

The UK-based mega-pop group Little Mix makes grand use of British slang for their latest single “Holiday”, which is the group’s second release of 2020 following “Break Up Song”. Both of their latest tracks are leading up to the group’s confirmed 6th studio album, which is expected to release sometime this summer. Based on the upbeat, summery dance vibes of “Holiday” and the empowering message behind “Break Up Song”, it’s safe to say ‘Mixers’ (their self-named fanbase) can expect an album filled with uplifting, feel-good pop tracks from their favorite fierce foursome. As always, expect the effortless and perfected harmonies that Little Mix always delivers.

[ ℗ 2020 Under Exclusive License to RCA, a division of Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited. ]

Logic- No Pressure

Logic dropped three huge surprise announcements in one last week: the release of his next studio album, his official retirement from music, and his newfound fatherhood. Eight days before the No Pressure release, he wiped his Instagram clean and clear before posting this album’s cover art with the caption reading “Officially announcing my retirement with the release of ‘No Pressure’ executive produced by No I.D. July 24th…It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father.”

For his final studio album, Logic pays homage to his debut album, Under Pressure, with No Pressure crafted as its sequel. From feeling under pressure to perform in the rap industry and make a name for himself back in 2014 to feeling no pressure on his shoulders as he retires from the rap industry…Logic’s come a long way. Listeners of the O.G. Under Pressure album will also recognize a familiar voice providing the signature narration. The android voice narrating No Pressure is ‘Thalia’, the same android once used to narrate Under Pressure back in 2014. As I listened to No Pressure, it felt like the perfect, bittersweet farewell, as the album bares stylistic and lyrical similarities to my all time favorite Logic tracks from Under Pressure.

From the album’s title…to the narration..to the style, sound, and lyrics…this is Logic. He’s not only paying homage to his loyal, decade-long fanbase (who he considers family), but also to his roots in the industry with two empowering and compassionate closers, “Heard Em Say” and “Amen”. He reflects on his journey within the industry noting how he: overcame selling drugs and addiction, faced various mental health struggles, powered through the relentless hate and doubt that daunted him, and ultimately made it out of the hood. Logic sums it up best in “Amen” when he raps “I’m across the street waving where the grass is green. Hating how far I’ve come…I don’t give a damn Gina. This a celebration…”

[ ℗ 2020 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

Deep Watters, Joey Lopez (feat Lauren Sanderson)- “California”

Straight out of the gate in “California”, you’re hooked by Grammy Award winner Joey Lopez’s strong guitar riffs, while the continued summery production by Brian “Deep” Watters and unique vocals of Indiana-born Lauren Sanderson keep you riding the California wave. Lauren Sanderson’s vocals share how difficult it came be to work and love in ‘The City of Stars’, especially for a kid from the Midwest. Since moving to LA, she’s made sacrifices in order to chase her dream and can’t seem to commit to a relationship because “nothing ever stays the same in California”. For the third verse, Sanderson reflects on her adolescence in attempts to piece together why it’s hard for people to be the truest version of themselves. She notes that despite being accepted by her own parents when she dated her first girlfriend, she knows not everyone shares the same positive coming out experience, especially where she is from. The post-chorus rings “I know its hard when you’ve got a Midwest heart in the city of stars to be who you are”– meaning LA accepts people for who they are in a way that the Midwest doesn’t…but, finally learning to love yourself isn’t easy, even if you live in ‘The City of Stars’.

[ ℗ 2020 Brian Watters & Joey Lopez. ]

HRVY- “NEVERMIND”

21 year old, UK-based HRVY dropped “NEVERMIND” in preparation of his debut album titled Can Anybody Hear Me? set to release next month. “ME BECAUSE OF YOU” and “NEVERMIND” follow an array of chart-topping singles (including “Personal”, “I Miss Myself”, “Million Ways”, and many more) whose various releases date back to 2017, all of which are expected on the upcoming album. “NEVERMIND” is a pop dance track about moving on from a relationship that ‘slipped through his hands’ as the person was never truly his. He thought the relationship was moving forward, when in reality it was never truly a real relationship at all. Based on his chart-topping, evergrowing discography filled with intimate lyrics and capturing hooks, this 21 year old phenom is most definitely on my radar of up and coming artists.

[ ℗ An EMI release; ℗ 2020 Universal Music Operations Limited. ]

Neon Trees- I Can Feel You Forgetting Me

For Neon Trees’ first group album in 6 years, the punk/indie pop band conceptualizes ‘ghosting’ culture in modern dating and lonely isolation. Make note, this isn’t your typical ‘break-up’ album by any means. With the upbeat nature of the songs paired with classic Neon Trees-catchy synth pop rock vibes, you feel a sense of release and acceptance in walking away. However, even the bliss of freedom comes with some timely drama based in loneliness, angst, and brutal honesty. You find moments of missing the person you’re leaving– or whose leaving you– in your exploration of new personal freedom and discovery. These emotional dualities between freedom and loneliness are very uniquely depicted in I Can Feel You Forgetting Me.

In a video prologuing the album’s release, Neon Trees describes the concept of the album: “Ghosting culture is very much a modern part of how we interact as humans. I have this phone in my hand with 7 or 8 different ways to reach a person, and yet in as many seconds as it takes to block a person, or unfriend them, I can’t reach them anymore. I literally could feel him forgetting me. I’m embracing the ugly side of being addicted to someone. It’s messy and unflattering. It’s beautiful and cinematic. It’s ultimately unfair to expect anyone to complete you. It sounds like one full night of reflection, alone at the bar, walking past the places you’d go with them, texting them when you shouldn’t, and ultimately embracing the idea that no one else can complete you, you must find completeness and joy in yourself.”

The 6-year band hiatus follows Neon Trees’ 3rd studio Pop Psychology in 2014 and lead vocalist Tyler Glenn’s first solo project Excommunications in 2016, following his public coming out in 2014. His solo album explores extreme vulnerability as it depicts his personal experiences leaving the Mormon Church following his coming out as gay. Glenn’s tormented feelings expressed in Excommunications were followed by more enlightened ones in I Can Feel You Forgetting Me, which is the type of inspirational personal growth we can all get behind.

[ ℗ 2020 Thrill Forever, LLC. ]

Neck Deep- All Distortions Are Intentional

To all the classic pop punk lovers out there, this one’s for you. When I heard this album for the first time on Friday, I could not stop smiling. Not because the lyrics and sounds are particularly happy and upbeat (they most definitely are not), but because this is the classic pop punk sound that I grew up on and never stopped loving. UK-based Neck Deep hooked me immediately with the 1st track “Sonderland” and kept the great punk sounds coming… to the point where I went on their official website and ordered some sick merchandise…I’m really not joking, it’s that classic sound I’ve been missing.

All Distortions Are Intentional follows a conceptual story of the protagonist Jett, who wants to find something that’s better than depressing conformity, as heard in the first track “Sonderland”. By the second track titled “Fall”, Jett falls for a girl, who is named Alice in the third track “Lowlife”. The following eight tracks explore Jett and Alice’s relationship as they face unfamiliar challenges and fall deeper in love. Neck Deep closes the album with “Pushing Daisies”, encouraging everyone to let the more unpleasant parts of life go and to live on their own terms because we can’t ‘kill time’. To quote the song’s hard-hitting outro: “Lowlife kids got to live how you wanna live. Fuck society, fuck your politics. Fuck yourself and fuck the way it is.”

Lead singer Ben Barlow explained the album to AltPress as such: “It’s that strange existential realization that you are not the entire world. Everyone around you feels and lives the same way that you do. You’re just an extra in their story.” While dabbing into the deeper existential meanings of life and relationships, Neck Deep serves catchy, head-banging singalongs with Ben Barlow’s nasally and addictive voice at the helm.

[ ℗ 2020 Hopeless Records, Inc. ]

Taylor Swift- folklore

Saved the biggest release for last. You may want to have those tissues handy again…this one’s a doozy.

Taylor Swift shocked everyone on Thursday when she announced the surprise drop of her 8th studio album, folklore, on her Instagram. The album’s creation even surprised Swift as the caption reads: “Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise […] Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with […]”

folklore is a surprise that kept on surprising. It’s stylistically different and lyrically deeper than we’ve ever heard T Swift before. It’s not the usual pop, but a splendid mix of indie and folk sounds, perfectly blended together to make one of the great, emotionally-charged heartbreaker albums of the century, and definitely of the chaotic year. The majority of this album is stripped to guitars and pianos. Straight out of the gate, T Swift crushes our hearts acoustically with “the 1”, which sets the stage for the folk indie blend while perfectly articulating the ‘what could have been’ feelings after a heartbreak. The emotional beauties keep on coming for folklore with each of the 16 songs chipping at our hearts a bit more than the last.

I also must acknowledge the way that folklore is breaking unprecedented records and topping all charts. folklore is the #1 biggest first-day female debut of ALL TIME in Spotify history with over 81.9 million streams. Currently as I type this (Saturday morning), the 16 tracks on the album hold the top 16 spots on Spotify’s US Top 50 chart. She’s also dominating the Apple Music Global chart, with the entire top 8 occupied by tracks off of folklore. And today (once again, Saturday 7/25) is only DAY 2 of the album’s release…so safe to say we should expect more big things from folklore.

[ ℗ 2020 Taylor Swift. ]

Notable Mentions:

LP- “The One That You Love” (single)

Dawes- “Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?” (single)

Smino, JID, Kenny Beats- “Baguetti” (single)

Farruko- “La Tóxica” (single)

Morgan Saint- HELP (EP)

Noah Cyrus- “Dunno” (cover, original track by Mac Miller)

Whethan (feat K.Flay)- “Hurting on Purpose” (single)

Jacob Latimore, Eric Bellinger- “Dat Ass” (single)

MisterWives- SUPERBLOOM (album)

EXES- Nothing Ever Ends (EP)

Jeremy Zucker- “supercuts” (single)

Sylvan Esso- “Ferris Wheel” (single)

Maroon 5- “Nobody’s Love” (single)

ROLE MODEL- “blind” (single)

Loren Gray- “Alone” (single)

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Regard- “Say My Name” (single)

070 Shake, Tame Impala- “Guilty Conscience” (Tame Impala Remix) (single)

The Score (with Travis Barker)- “All of Me” (single)

Ryann- “One Minute” (single)

Arizona Zervas- “NIGHTRIDER” (single)

Charlotte Lawrence- “Slow Motion” (single)

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