Summer is around the corner as the days are getting longer, our hearts and bodies are slowly warming up after a chilly winter spent inside and we are finally able to go outside into the world again. Although “life as we knew it” is not here yet, the embrace of friendship can once again be experienced together albeit outdoors. To celebrate all the laughter and joy we put together a New Music Friday list that ultimately brought us happiness through the magic of music. Some tracks belong to a soundtrack, others tackle social justice and go through an emotional rollercoaster and there are even some that brought us to our feet, jumping and dancing around in a frenzy. So enjoy the music, the season and the world opening up again.
Twenty One Pilots – Choker
‘Choker’, the latest musical rollercoaster ride to be delivered to us from the genius minds of the alt-pop duo Twenty One Pilots, has officially arrived and marked another step closer to their patiently awaited upcoming sixth full-length quest ‘Scaled and Icy’. With a complex mix of sounds and genres within its almost four-minute-long playtime, the track feels like it’s situated galaxies away from the previous, pop-underlined single ‘Shy Away’. But unsurprisingly, that is exactly what the band has been loved and known for for so long.
Starting with a beat that faintly resembles children’s computer games and suddenly stuttering into an enormous stroke of grand strings, ‘Choker’ touches on both the future of Twenty One Pilots and their long-gone past. With Tyler Joseph’s raw vocals trailing through the song and meticulous drum beats from Josh Dun ringing in the listener’s ears, the track slowly opens up within the first minute, showing its many layers and twists. But it isn’t until the moment the sounds quiet down and only Joseph’s voice and his piano get left behind that the musical ride enters a new universe. Coming to a close with a low rap sequence that tips its hat to the group’s early albums ‘Regional At Best’ and ‘Self-titled’, it proudly crowns itself with a surprising twist of nostalgia and love for their past lives. And highlighted with a mind-churning music video, directed by Mark Eshleman for Reel Bear Media, and shot in the band’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to top it all off, one thing has become clear – this is Twenty One Pilots’ world, we’re just living in it.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett – Even When/The Best Part
Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett have been gathering much attention through the drama filled speculations that have been splashed around on social media because of Rodrigo’s breakout tracks ‘drivers license’ and ‘deja vu’. ‘Even When/The Best Part’, High School Musical The Musical: The Series’ first released song of the second season brings Bassett and Rodrigo together once again, letting their vocals blend in with each other and create an emotional yet playful-teen bop atmosphere.
Rodrigo’s old-school-angelic vocals bring out the best in Bassett’s high and light tone. The hit Disney+ show has proven that yet again, it’s not just the addictive storylines in the show that keeps the audience intrigued but that the heartfelt and catchy tunes are more than half of the charm. ‘Even When/The Best Part’ is not just a preview of the second season but a timeless song that translates the feeling of innocent-naive love that only young people can experience to everyone who graces their time to listen to this bound to be Disney classic.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
Little Simz – Introvert
Contrary to what the title of Little Simz new song ‘Introvert’ suggests, this powerful song sounds anything but introverted. The leading single of Simz’ upcoming album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ is a revelation for the ears, the mind and the soul. It is a politically engaged song that is critical of (the lack of) leadership in the world and raises awareness of social injustice in the world.
‘Introvert’ is a masterpiece – there is no doubt. The fanfare with which the song opens lends strength to the message Little Simz wants to convey. The lyrics are poetic, though brutally honest and a reflection of pain and disappointment: “All we seen is broken homes here and poverty / Corrupt government officials, lies, and atrocities / How they talking on what’s threatening the economy?” Moreover, she addresses the injustice done to black people: “I’m a Black woman and I’m a proud one / We walk in blind faith not knowing the outcome / But as long as we’re unified, then we’ve already won.” As previous projects revealed Little Simz is always the one to say it like it is and in ‘Introvert’ she yet again proves that she might be one of the most eloquent lyricists to exist. Her clear stance proves that the problem is a worldwide one and emphasises the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen
Zoe Wees – Ghost
With the release of her third single ‘Ghost’, German singer-songwriter Zoe Wees gives us another teaser of what we can expect from her upcoming debut-EP ‘Golden Wings’, which comes out on May 21st.
‘Ghost’, like Wees’ other two singles, is a vulnerable and intimate song – we already know that she does not shy away from expressing her struggles and emotions through her songs. This effective quality is the reason why ‘Ghost’ feels so close to heart. Wees states that the song is about letting someone get close to you even though you know that they will hurt you. The track proves to be about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. The explosive and essentially electrifying chorus conveys this message when she sings: “You got me looking in the mirror for ghosts / I can’t believe I let you so close / And now I / I want to but I can’t let you go.” The 18-year-old screams her lungs out, which reflects the pain and frustration she feels.
With ‘Ghost’, Zoe Wees once again proves that she pours her heart and soul into her songs which explains why she has gained so much attention recently. She has an ability that many artists lack – being truthful and intimate in her lyrics and her vocals. Wees is not afraid of sharing her pain with the world, and we appreciate that.
Written by: Alexa Zsigmond
HUNNY – Xbox Luvr
With an infectious beat and electric nods to past disco hits, the American band HUNNY has returned with their latest single ‘Xbox Luvr’, which serves as another adventurous slice of indie-pop greatness from the enthralling four-piece. After their previously released track, the gritty ‘Sports With Strangers’, ‘Xbox Luvr’ is the group’s newest musical venture after the band’s 2019 album ‘Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes’.
With unabashed honesty at its heart – one we’ve come to know and love the Southern Californian band for – the single is buzzing with energy and intricate electronic echoes and creates a thrilling blend of indie-pop stylings and disco-infused modern aesthetics. Musing over past regrets concerning the opposite gender and a certain girl in a certain lobby, the track glitters in the light of vibrant guitars, exhilarating guitar lines, bouncy percussion, and hazy vocals that give the song its certain edge. Moreish and sunny in just the right ways, ‘Xbox Luvr’ isn’t just HUNNY’s latest strive for indie goodness, but also marks the start of a new era for the group that will hopefully soon be topped off by the release of their highly anticipated, second full-length endeavour.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Billie Eilish – Your Power
Do you remember what you were doing when Billie Eilish decided to announce her sophomore album ‘Happier Than Ever’? The 19-year-old Grammy Award winner will release her brand new album on July 30, 2021, and to celebrate, she has just dropped the album’s third single. ‘Your Power’, produced by her brother FINNEAS, premiered together with a self-directed music video.
The strumming guitar at the beginning of the song sounds different from what you usually expect of Eilish. Once her raw and tender voice comes in, ‘Your Power’ unfolds into an acoustic song that touches upon the subject of abusive relationships. She mentions an age gap and uncovers the devastating effects the relationship had on her mental health: “You made me feel / Like it was my fault, you were the devil / Lost your appeal / Does it keep you in control? / For you to keep her in a cage? / And you swear you didn’t know / You said you thought she was your age.” Though this song is heavy, Billie Eilish shared on Instagram that “it is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart.”
Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen
Light Year – Adam Melchor (ft. Lennon Stella)
American singer-songwriter Adam Melchor teams up with Lennon Stella for ‘Light Year’. It is Melchor’s first country song which is also heavily influenced by his typical folk sound. ‘Light Year’ carries a comforting atmosphere, and it feels like wrapping your heart in a soft blanket.
Melchor explained the track in an interview by saying “it is a song about feeling far from the things you love, the place you want to be or even the emotions you strive to feel”. It feels like the past year has held us back from progressing in our lives and growing as individuals, but concurrently there is hope for the near future: “I’ll just wait in the wings / Cause I don’t want to bring / It to light that the fact is I’m losing my mind / Oh, where do I go / Now I feel so alone / I’m a light-year away from the best days of my life.” Melchor’s and Stella’s voices manage to convey this message wonderfully through their sensitive and harmonious manner.
Written by: Alexa Zsigmond
Maggie Rogers – Love You For A Long Time (Live feat. Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes)
In the fall of 2019, the amazing Maggie Rogers released her stunning ‘Love You For A Long Time’. In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Rogers teamed up with musicians Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes to perform an acoustic live version of the song. Just when you thought the song couldn’t get any more perfect, the American singer-songwriter proved otherwise.
On Twitter, she wrote, “I’ve received so many beautiful messages in the last year asking for a slowed-down version of this song for weddings and intimate moments. This one’s for you.” The original song sounds like pure and honest love, and this acoustic version is even more tender. The lovesome lyrics accompanied by the piano make some passage stand out even more: “And in the morning when you wake me up / I know that forever could never be enough / I feel it in my body, know it in my mind / Oh I, I’m gonna love you for a long time.” Maggie Rogers’ vocals flourish wonderfully in this more slow-paced version of the song and we absolutely adore how ‘Love You For A Long Time’ acoustically turned out.
Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen
Cro & Capital Bra – BLESSED
German artist Cro released his final album ‘trip’ today, his collaboration with fellow German rapper Capital Bra ‘BLESSED’ being one of his leading singles. The album is split into two parts, which is already visible on the album cover where his signature panda mask is split in two. The first half contains songs with his usual sound, which is heavily influenced by American hip hop as he stated himself years ago, and the second half is inspired by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. ‘BLESSED’ is included in the first half of the album and therefore a typical hip hop dance tune, reminding of ‘I’m the One’ by DJ Khaled, with a tropical summer sound and a heavy beat. Lyrically Cro and Capital Bra both express how grateful they are for everything they have achieved and the lessons they have learned within the music industry – “Es ist gut wichtig zu sein, doch noch viel wichtiger gut zu sein” (“It’s good to be important, but even more important to be good”). It’s the end of an era for everyone that grew up on Cro’s music and he couldn’t have left on a better note.
Written by: Vicky Madzak