New Songs Sunday: BENEE, Asnikko, Lizzo & more!

This week sees exciting comeback tracks from alternative pops’ brightest acts
(BENEE, Ashnikko, Jessie Ware) while other, more established mainstream stars
release bonus tracks (Lizzo, Tove Lo).

The past week also witnessed new album releases such as ‘A Reckoning’ by
Kimbra, ‘Let Her Burn’ by Rebecca Black and ‘Queen of Me’ by Shania Twain.

  1. Madishu – Naive

Austrian singer Madishu integrates trap, R&B and electro-pop to produce a song about toxic friendships. This topic is not as commonly discussed in music as much as toxic couples, so it’s an interesting track to check out. The chorus has a highly addictive hook and Madishu’s voice is buttery and siren-like, reminding you of Tove Lo and MØ.

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2. BENEE – Green Honda

The “Supalonely” hitmaker has come back with an energetic and bold track after a year of touring and mostly guest featuring on other artists’ tracks. This time, the Kiwi singer has new collaborators: producers and co-writers Evlira Anderfjärd and Luka Kloser bring their own zany and electro-pop sophistication to “Green Honda”. It’s an incredibly fun and empowering “post-break up” track with a high replay value.

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3 Ashnikko – You Make Me Sick!

Ashton Nicole Casey, also known as Ashnikko, wants you to know she’s angry. And she does this with her new trap metal song, “You Make Me Sick!” Booming bass and nu metal-inspired vocals converge in this track. Ashnikko and her co-writers Oscar Scheller and Slinger display their mastery in sculpting a literary landscape with violent, “rotten” imagery, which is in tune with its dark themes. Sewers, locusts, plagues, brain-eating amoeba, decapitation and face mist made of an ex’s tears all make ghastly appearances in the songwriting.

“I’ve decided to come back with my angriest, most cathartic song to date,” Ashnikko commented. “My own personal rage room for me to smash my plates.”

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4. No Vacation – I Will Always

No Vacation is an American band from San Francisco who rose to prominence in 2017 with their song “Yam Yam”. They came to be compared with other dream pop acts like Cigarettes After Sex and early Japanese Breakfast. With their dreamy, bedroom pop vibe, the four-piece band were a mainstay in the indie scene, although they eventually lied low for the next few years. 

With “I Will Always”, the band is back and likely to stay. The track has shoegaze-y instrumentation and heartbreaking lyrics about love and pining: “So be whatever you want to be / And go wherever you need to go/ And when it all seems like a mistake / Take whatever you need to take / And leave the rest for my own sake”. Desperation and melancholy are what they are good at, and if you like that too, you’ll dig “I Will Always”.

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5. Jessie Ware – Pearls

In her new single titled “Pearls”, English singer Jessie Ware is absolutely stunning, hitting the high notes like the professional she is. This sonic one-two punch is completed with the melodic “La la la la” in the post-chorus, which feels like the cherry on top. 

“Pearls” is a practice in escapism and nostalgia of the 80s, and you can tell the track was sewn with love and enthusiasm as it’s composed of fascinating parts. The “What’s Your Pleasure” singer sings “go to the moon” which is followed by a choral “Ooooooh”. There’s undoubtedly a time travel element to it, which isn’t very different from Dua Lipa’s 80s-inspired retro-futuristic glitter ball disco album ‘Future Nostalgia’. With “Pearls”, Ware also pays an ode to disco icons like Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, Evelyn Champagne King and Teena Marie. 

Ware has announced her fifth studio album, ‘That! Feels Good!’, which sees the light on April 28. “The album”, Ware explained, “stems from over 10 years of understanding who I am, and who I enjoy being as an artist and the thrill of performance.” 

Co-written and produced by Stuart Price, Clarence Coffee Jr. and Sarah Hudson, “Pearls” seems to promise an exciting album for the star who also dabbled with disco music in her previous LP, ‘What’s Your Pleasure?’. That record was more smoky and restrained. The explosiveness of the anthem-like “Pearls” and its preceding single (“Free Yourself”) hints at a ‘fuller’, more joyful era ahead.

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6. Tove Lo – Borderline

Dua Lipa co-writes her first song with Tove Lo on this cut titled “Borderline”. The lyrics are dramatic and full of intensity and tension: “I like to my feel my bones when they crash into my heart / I like the taste of blood when you’re tearin’ me apart”. 

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“This is the very first song we wrote together”, commented Lo on her collaboration and friendship with Lipa, “and the very start of our friendship so this feels extra special. Borderline is a song about being on the edge of love”, the Swedish artist goes on. “The drama you cause inside yourself and with another person if you feel insecure”.

The song itself feels old fashioned and mostly stays within its territory. It feels like a deep cut that was left out of Lo’s last album ‘Dirt Femme’.

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7. Lizzo – Special (feat. SZA)

Lizzo dropped her album ‘Special’ last year to much acclaim. And now, its title track “Special” gets a remix with a feature from SZA. SZA has a new verse and while the song is just as straightforwardly feel-good and corny as ever (what else do we expect from Lizzo), it undeniably has some fantastic vocal performances from two pop mainstays. 

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Also read | New Music Monday: Evangeline, SAD B!TCH, Stunt Double & more

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