Olivia Rodrigo continues to impress with her latest single, “Bad Idea Right?,” further building anticipation for her upcoming album, “Guts,” set to be released on September 8th. This track deviates from the sound of her first single, “Vampire,” and instead offers a bright and kaleidoscopic pop song that incorporates a wide range of influences. From the catchy hooks of 1960s girl groups to the sassiness of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” and the energetic guitars and bass lines of early 2000s pop-punk, Rodrigo blends these elements together in her own distinctive and conversational style. The lyrics of the song revolve around an ex and the question of whether seeing them again is a bad idea, with Rodrigo expressing both playfulness and intimacy in her delivery. Despite making her own mistakes, the listener feels connected to her by being able to eavesdrop on her internal thoughts and feelings.
Noname, the Chicago-based rapper also known as Fatimah Nyeema Warner, showcases her smooth grooves and rapid-fire wordplay on her latest album, “Sundial.” In the track “Namesake,” she presents thought-provoking questions about culpability and complacency, particularly targeting the headliners of the Super Bowl halftime shows, whom she refers to as “propaganda for the military.” However, Noname acknowledges her own contradiction by confessing to performing at Coachella this year, despite initially stating that she wouldn’t. This album demonstrates the complexities of careers and the gray areas that artists navigate.
Producer Fred again.. collaborates with Nigerian-British singer Obongjayar on the captivating track, “Adore U.” The song exudes sheer affection as Fred again.. surrounds the pulsating house beats with shimmering electronic elements and Obongjayar’s tremulous falsetto. The lyrics express admiration for someone who moves through life like a dancer, emphasizing the awe and wonder in their presence.
Miguel’s “Number 9” offers an enigmatic and grandiose experience. Over a minimalistic electronic backdrop, Miguel layers his vocals to create an antiphonal choir effect, engaging in lyrics that touch on the theme of mortality. Lil Yachty joins in and declares himself as the grim reaper, showcasing a fearlessness and embracing the power of the unknown.
Country artist Kelsea Ballerini explores vulnerability and new beginnings in her song, “How Do I Do This.” With programmed drums and reverberating chords, Ballerini admits to the fear of looking stupid while venturing into the dating world again after not going on a date since she was 22. The song highlights the anticipation and uncertainty of those in-between moments when starting over.
Ian Sweet, the moniker of Jill Medford, enchants listeners with “Your Spit.” The infectious hook draws from the feeling of fresh infatuation, as Medford’s dreamy vocals float atop the driving electronic beat and squelching synths. She delves into the taste of someone’s spit, portraying an endearing sense of longing and desire.
Faith Healer, the Canadian dream-pop duo, captivates with their latest single, “I’m a Dog.” Jessica Jalbert’s serene voice juxtaposes the lyrics that confess her primal instincts and mischievous behavior. “I’ll get into the kitchen and I’ll rip the trash apart,” she sings, hinting at her uncontrollable and impulsive side.
Ora Cogan, a Canadian songwriter, reimagines the eerie Celtic traditional song “Katie Cruel.” With modal guitar curlicues and distant vocals, she explores the narrative of a woman scorned as her beauty fades. Despite the entwined melody and atmospheric production, Cogan’s rendition leaves the listener with a sense of isolation.
Rachel Brown, known as thanks for coming, showcases her solo work with the track “Loop” from her EP set to be released in September. The song revolves around an obsessive and unequal romance, acknowledging the cycle of liking someone who will never feel the same. Layered with guitar, bass, piano, and off-kilter drum loops, the track reflects the difficulty of breaking free from patterns, even when they are recognized.
Overall, this collection of diverse and compelling songs showcases the talent and creativity of a range of artists from various genres. Each track offers something unique, whether it’s Olivia Rodrigo’s playfulness and intimacy, Noname’s thought-provoking lyricism, or Fred again..’s shimmering electronic production. These artists continue to push boundaries and captivate listeners with their distinctive styles and powerful storytelling.