Must Listen, New Music: Week 17

My must-listen list of music containing singles, EPs, and LPs all released between August 15th and August 21st, some of which specifically reference the systematic racism and continued Black Lives Matter protests which have occurred and continue to occur across the world.


Dave B.- “Worthy”

"Black skin on me look good
White man hate me what's new 
No price can't sell my soul
Tell me what I been through 
I'm emotionally broke 
I can't afford it 
I know my life through yo lens 
It's less important 
I was born a descendant of slaves and poverty"
"He couldn't breathe, we suffocating from the trauma since birth 
Yes sir no sir
Fuck you both sir 
Hands-on dashboard 
Had plans to grow sir 
Had no plans on dying for being as black as I am"
"And I'm supposed to give a fuck bout yo Target?
Google is free I'm done educating white folk
Fuck that black screen and them story posts
I'm still not sold"
"We not protecting our black women enough 
How you comin down on her always she stay building you up 
Seeking refuge end up dead 
And wonder why she don't trust
Ni***s love to hate they selves and that's all they offer up 
I need a new perspective 
We need more access to the therapy we been neglecting"
"Just know you worthy 
It was designed to bring you down but you still worthy 
You didn't like the way I said it but you heard me 
It's too much love out here and I know I'm worthy"

[ ℗ 2020 Dave B Music/PCA. ]

Pharrell Williams (feat JAY-Z)- “Entrepreneur”

[Pharrell Williams]
"I am black ambition 
I am always whisperin'
They keep telling' me I will not 
But my will won't listen 
Gravity on a black man
With everything on his back and 
His family and passion 
If the doors ain't crackin'"
"In this position with no choice 
A system imprison young black boys
Distract with white noise"
"Remember black is space 
And its the color of your face
There will be no sunny days 
If Black went away"
"See, everything you place after black
Is too small a term to completely describe the act
Black nation, black builder, black entrepreneur 
You in the presence of Black Excellence and I'm on the board"

[ ℗ 2020 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment. ]


London Grammar- “Baby It’s You”

With “Baby It’s You”, the indie pop English trio London Grammar matches lead singer Hannah Reid’s heartwarming vocals with soulful piano touches and electronic producer George FitzGerald’s house-infused style. Lyrically, the dreamingly-composed track is declaration of love. On the group’s Instagram, Hannah Reid spoke about the lyrical inspiration: “‘Baby It’s You’ is about falling in love. Those feelings that you know are there but can’t put into words.”

Though the group has not confirmed a release, London Grammar fans speculate a forthcoming studio album due to the group’s somewhat cryptic actions on Instagram. Prior to teasing the single’s release, the group wiped their Instagram feed. On the day of the release, their caption stated that “It’s been a long time coming and is just the beginning of something we hope will be really special.” If an album is indeed in the works, it would be the group’s first album since 2017.

[ ℗ 2020 Ministry of Sound Recordings Limited / Metal & Dust under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment. ]

Model Child- “Drain Me”

Model Child’s “Drain Me” is a different kind of summer love anthem. The coolishly dark and groovy single from his upcoming album Dropout fuses sounds of alternative pop with ’90s rock and in-your-face punk. Model Child explained his inspiration stylistically with BlackBook: “I was influenced by my love of ’90s rock like the Breeders, Vaselines, and Nirvana. And I wanted to straddle that with some drippy, psyche-punk.” Lyrically, “Drain Me” celebrates an irresistible and possibly destructive attraction to a romantic endeavor. Model Child also spoke on the lyrical inspiration for the track: “I had a crush at the time and felt a lot of built-up tension and energy between us. ‘Drain Me’ was my attempt at capturing that new and exciting ‘crushiness.'” With agonizing lyrics like the chorus’ “I’m drowning in a love / That’s stopped up in my blood / Do you wanna drain me? / Maybe with a touch / You might just pull the plug / Do you wanna drain me?”, I’d say he succeeded in his attempt.

[ ℗ 2020 Model Child. ]

Aluna- “Envious”

“Envious” marks the 4th single release (the third, “Get Paid”, was included in Must Listen, New Music: Week 12) in preparation for the singer-songwriter-producer Aluna’s debut solo album Renaissance. As mentioned in Week 12, Aluna, who is one half of the critically acclaimed dance duo AlunaGeorge, is releasing her debut in order to take back ownership of the dance genre. She previously took to Twitter with an open letter to express her dedication to the cause and demands for the dance community: “as a member of the Black Music Action Coalition and a Black woman in dance music, I need to challenge the ‘dance music industry’ on its long standing racial inequalities…we not only need to give credit to the artists that created the genre, we also need to establish a long-term plan to secure a healthy future for dance music that is culturally and racially inclusive.” With “Envious”, Aluna has crafted the ultimate 2020-esque ‘cry dance’ song. According to The Line Of Best Fit, Aluna stated  “I think people really need this song right now because I believe it’s my best ‘cry dance’ song; a style I coined to describe that exquisite feeling when all your emotions are released while dancing so you cry at the same time. I feel like in these times people need that at least once a day!”

[ ℗ 2020 Mad Decent. ]


Last week (Must Listen, New Music: Week 16), FLETCHER’s “If I Hated You” set the emotionally-charged tone for her upcoming EP THE S(EX) TAPES. And remember how I warned you to prepare for another heartbreaking rollercoaster of emotions from the rising pop star? I’d proceed through the releases with caution. For the third single release in preparation for the full EP release next month, FLETCHER is attempting to heal by drowning out all of her lingering feelings for her ex. The vocally powerful ballad appropriately named “Feel” reflects on the initial spark of the relationship before her ex “came and broke [her] heart wide open”. In a desperate attempt to heal from the heartbreak, she drinks wine “like it’s medicine for the mind” and gin and tonic to “numb [her] kiss”.

[ ℗ Capitol Records; ℗ 2020 Snapback Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc. ]

Taylor Swift- “the lakes (bonus track)”

For the deluxe edition release of her record-smashing, surprise 8th studio album folklore, T Swift’s sole addition “the lakes” melodramatically escapes into the wilderness. The term ‘the lakes’ refers to the scenic Lake District, a national park located in England known for its romantic and poetic getaways. According to Vulture, it’s where Swift’s parents met and where she and her boyfriend apparently vacationed last year. The chorus’ opening line “take me to the Lakes where all the poets went to die…” is once again nodding the Lake District’s reputation as a popular place of inspiration for numerous 19th-century poets. Swift simply wanted to escape into this poetically-inspirational paradise with her “muse”.

For anyone who hasn’t been following the folklore success over the past month, let me enlighten you…it is currently topping both the Billboard & Rolling Stone 200 Albums Charts for the 4th consecutive week; was streamed 80.6 million times (highest-ever total for any female artist); it sold 2 million copies globally in its first week (1.3 on first day); all 16 songs tracks debuted simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (3 in top 10)…need I go on?

[ ℗ 2020 Taylor Swift. ]

Mad Caddies- “Waiting for the Real Thing”

“Waiting for the Real Thing” features an incredibly refreshing sound stylistically as it perfectly blends the sounds of classic ska music with punk rock. For those who may be unaware of the term ‘ska’, it’s a music genre that originated back in the late 50s that combines elements of Caribbean sound with American jazz plus rhythm and blues. Ska is most notably recognized by a walking bass line with rhythms occurring on the off beat, which you will hear in “Waiting for the Real Thing.” Lyrically, Mad Caddies dives into the “heart of the matter now” regarding a less-than worthy and seemingly toxic relationship. Due to a mirage of mixed signals from his lover, he misunderstood the depth of the relationship, “You had me believing the whole time / That our love was true and for real / It’s all coming out in the wash now / That you played a fool”. Luckily, Mad Caddies realized her deceptive ways: “You’re not even worth the paper / That these words were written on / I don’t want you back, I just want you gone / Thought you had me girl but you were wrong / I was waiting for the real thing all along”. The single is the third release of the long-standing band’s upcoming EP House on Fire due in October.

[ ℗ 2020 Fat Wreck Chords. ]

The Paper Kites (feat Lucy Rose)- “For All You Give”

Last week (Must Listen, New Music: Week 16), I named The War and Treaty’s “Take Me In” as one of the most beautiful songs all year. The Paper Kites and Lucy Rose’s duet in “For All You Give” also belongs in the running. The beautifully soft acoustic duet between the Australian band and English vocalist intimately expresses the devoted reciprocity involved in a relationship, singing “for all you give / I’ll give it back to you”. The natural beauty of this type of connection is represented in the lyrics: “I want to take you everywhere I go / Have you by my side / Take a walk round in every town / Drive across state lines / Like the sun sends a golden stream / In to our front room / I could be the same old light / For you”. “For All You Give” is The Paper Kites first single release for their upcoming fifth studio album Roses, set to release next year.

[ ℗ 2020 The Paper Kites under exclusive license to Nettwerk Music Group Inc. ]

Lauren Sanderson- Midwest Kids Can Make It Big (Deluxe)

Rising star Lauren Sanderson released the deluxe edition of her debut album featuring breakout songs like “Hotel Room” and “To The People I Hurt”. For the deluxe, the 24 year old added a whopping 6 new songs to the mix. “Internet” and “Frustrated” were both released as singles earlier this year. Plus, the deluxe also includes a stripped version of “Thirsty” and of remix of “But I Like It” with Former Vandal.

Sanderson’s music is addictively rebellious and unpredictable, just like her personality. She combines musical influences of various genres, from pop and alternative to R&B and hip-hop, and everything else in between. As rebellious as Sanderson can be, she can also be heartwarming and endearing in her lyricism. She’s vulnerable and honest about all aspects of her life, from her sexuality and relationships to her mental health and long road to success. One of her most endearingly raw and honest songs comes from the previously unheard deluxe releases in “I Need Help” (“It’s so hard to admit when I ask myself if / I need help / Do I sink or swim or just tell myself / That I’ll be fine“). Among the new releases from the deluxe version, she honestly dives into her romantic relationships (“Over (Again)”) and struggles with her identity (“17”). With Sanderson’s raw and raspy voice paired with her lyrical and musical flexibility, the possibilities for the rising pop star are truly limitless.

[ ℗ 2020 Lauren Sanderson, under exclusive license to Young Forever Inc. ]

Honorable Mentions

First and Forever- “One More Time”

Donovan Woods- “Seeing Other People”

Rich Brian- “Don’t Care”

Derez De’Shon- Pain 3 (album)

Bazzi- “Crazy”

Goody Grace (feat G-Eazy and Juicy J)- “Nothing Good”

Maluma- PAPI JUANCHO (album)

Familiar Spaces- Everyone in Search of an Exit (EP)

Duckwrth- SuperGood (album)

Jordan Adetunji- “Wokeup!”

Nothing Serious- “Dysphoria”

Tiz McNamara- “See Ya Soon”

Gulfer- “Forget (Friendly)”

Point North- Brand New Vision (album)

Troye Sivan- In A Dream (EP)

Lennon Stella, Kevin Garrett- “Every Time You Go Away”

Brasstracks- Golden Ticket (album)

Mulatto- Queen of Da Souf (album)

ROZES- “Crazy”

Katy Perry- “What Makes A Woman”

Greyson Chance- “Bad To Myself”

Joe Saan- FROM MY POINT OF VIEW (album)

Topiary Creatures- Tangible Problems (album)

chloe moriondo- “I Want To Be With You”

Llusion (feat Cautious Clay & HXNS)- “Sad4good”

Cold War Kids- New Age Norms 2 (album)

The Killers- Imploding The Mirage (album)

Jake Miller- “ROSS AND RACHEL”

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