This past week has seen a chock-full of new releases. So let’s dive into the brief review which includes Tove Lo, Ananya Birla, Latto, Janelle Monáe, Mae Muller and Darkoo.

1. Latto – Big Energy

The Atlanta rapper serves up a “Say So”-style disco dance in this uncharacteristic turn, rapping efficiently to the beat. It’s good to see the “B***h From Da Souf” hitmaker try a new sound but it would be swell to hear a new flow from her too.

2. Tove Lo – Cool Girl (Nora En Pure remix)

Nora En Pure has unexpectedly remixed the 2016 track by Tove Lo called “Cool Girl” from her ‘Lady Wood’ album. It’s updated to a more 2020s style: more electronic club beats. It’s a pretty neat remix though not necessary by any means.

3. Arnav Kaushik X Abhinob Borah – Eti Pokhila

Artists Arnav Kaushik and Abhinob Borah have released an Assamese-language song named “Eti Pokhila”. It’s a sweet ballad with romantic 90s vibes and lyrics that evoke nature imagery, like butterflies flying away.

4. Ananya – When I’m Alone

The pop singer and mental health advocate visits her insecurities in the beautiful piano-backed “When I’m Alone”. Going by the mononym of Ananya, the Birla daughter trades in her usually auto-tuned generic pop sound for a genuinely heartfelt song.

5. ATARASHII GAKKO! – Pineapple Kryptonite

The Japanese girl group is back with an eclectic blend of jazz, pop and rock produced by the legendary Money Mark, a collaborator of music giants like Beastie Boys. “Pineapple Kryptonite” flaunts the group’s staple eccentric humour, although lacking the sonic sting like their previous track: the shocking and divisive “Freaks”. But it’s nice to see more participation from Mizyu and Kanon, the quieter members of the group.

6. IAMDDB – JGL

“JGL” is a sexy, bold and almost mystical-sounding dance track from singer IAMDDB. She sets a mood that is heavy, dark, seductive and self-assured.

7. Mae Muller X Neiked X Polo G – Better Days

The London pop artist, whose style has drawn comparisons with Lily Allen, Dua Lipa and Rosé, releases an electro dance track with disco influences. The music collective Neiked fits right in. “Better Days” is certainly a step up from her last single, “When You’re Out”.

8. Janelle Monáe – Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout) (feat. Various Artists)

“Say Her Name” is a 17-minute musical behemoth which is unapologetically fierce and political, and rightfully enraged. The anthem aims to shed light on the African-American women who brutally lost their lives at the hands of an increasingly violent and reckless police force. Janelle brings on prominent figures like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Tierra Whack and actor Zoë Kravitz to yell out the names of slain women such as Breonna Taylor and Ma’Khia Bryant, urging us to never forget them. The video is part of a fundraiser for the #SayHerName movement.

9. Amber Mark – What It Is

The RnB artist has announced her new album ‘Three Dimensions Deep’ which sees the light on January 28. The fourth single, “What It Is”, has a slow tempo with a more romantic vibe compared to before, but a metaphysical and spiritual edge like her previous songs. The gloriously lush track, boasting of soul and funk elements, lasts for over 5 minutes but is worth every second of it. The album is shaping up to be a spectacular masterpiece.

10. Flohio – Whiplash

The London rapper is back after releasing her stellar ‘No Panic No Pain’ mixtape last year. “Whiplash” has a thick Isaiah Rashad-type beat with enough atmosphere and style to keep Flohio fans fed for a while. We’ve missed her.

11. Greentea Peng – Free My People (feat. Kid Cruise & Simmy) (Ted Jasper remix)

Ted Jasper remixes the Greentea Peng track and turns it into a whole different breed. It’s a startlingly good makeover as Jasper adds lo-fi sounds to the calming but political song, making it even more soothing for late nights and early mornings.

12. Pixey – Take Me On

The DIY artist from Liverpool continues her streak of frenetic and youthful “Summer spirit” tracks with her latest sporty anthem, “Take Me On”. It’s fun and appropriately short with some hazy instrumentation and blaring sounds.

13. KAMILLE – Sad Party (Acoustic) (feat. Ivorian Doll and Haile)

Songwriter KAMILLE is back with what is an acoustic version of her dance song “Sad Party”. Is it even acoustic? The beats are replaced with drums and strings but the strings being amplified. It doesn’t sound very different from the original, nor does it add anything cool to the already great track.

14. Trillary Banks – Good Good

The British rapper is back with a bouncy fusion of dancehall and afrobeat, cheekily sampling the classic “Milkshake” by Kelis. Trillary’s endearing Caribbean-British accent bodes remarkably well with the beats produced by Antigua-based Jus Bus in this TikTok-friendly song.

15. Marta Del Grandi – Shy Heart

The Italian musician releases her third single from the upcoming album ‘Until We Fossilize’ which will come out on November 5. “Shy Heart” is inspired by the tragic Australian bushfires that have been occurring since last year. It’s a heartbreaking, but understatedly sad, homage to the helpless animals that were affected by the fire.

16. Hyd – Skin 2 Skin

The American singer may be known to some pop listeners as the face of the mysterious popstar QT, with producers AG Cook and the late SOPHIE. QT was one of the first hyper-pop acts on the British scene. Hyd is now back to make music with her own name. “Skin 2 Skin” is a fun little track with echoes of Caroline Polachek and Dorian Elektra, albeit being a little late to the hyper-pop sound.

17. L Devine – Die On The Dancefloor

The English singer hops on to the ever increasing train of disco-inspired pop tunes. But she impresses us in this part-sentimental, super catchy and teen-friendly song with some great lyrics that steer away from the overly common theme of romantic love to explore friendship, dealing with the end of childhood and having a euphoric moment on the dancefloor. “Die On The Dancefloor” is part of L Devine’s new surprise drop, the ‘Near Life Experience Part 2’ EP.

18. Darkoo – Bad From Early (feat. Buju and TSB)

The Nigerian-born singer-rapper serves a fresh afrobeat tune with the help of the effervescent Buju and TSB. Darkoo is going places. Check out her debut EP 2 In 1 (released in July) which hosts sunny, breezy tracks like this one.

19. Princess Nokia – Boys Are From Mars (feat. Yung Baby Tate)

The melody of this track is so resemblant of Ashnikko’s “Daisy” that it can’t be ignored. This is not to say that taking inspiration from older tracks is a bad idea; the Ashnikko tune itself sounds like a younger sister to M.I.A’s 2012 hit “Bad Girls”. But at least Ashnikko served the tune with her own style added to the mix, similar enough to compare but different enough to feel exciting and new. The Princess Nokia song, on the other hand, lacks that difference. Also, rhyming “venus” with “penis” and “genius” is nothing short of a hate crime.

Listen to the “New Songs Sunday” playlist on Spotify:

Also read | Under Taliban, thriving Afghan music scene heads to silence



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