It started as a trickle last Sunday. By Wednesday, it was obvious that we were heading toward a new record for the number of music submissions for a seven-day period with the final number almost touch 1,000. That meant an extra-brutal cull to cut things down to just these five essential songs this week.
1. Lorde, Solar Power
Single (Crush Music/Republic)
RIYL: Mixolydian chord progressions
Lorde loves writing in Mixolydian mode, a type of chord progression with an uplifting and anthemic feel. Hey, it worked for Royals and Green Light, right? And yes, the rhythm track sounds a lot like Primal Scream’s Loaded from 1990, but she says that was unintentional (although you’d think that collaborator Jack Antonoff would have noticed.) Primal Scream is cool about it, thought. However, it also sounds a lot like George Michael’s Freedom ’90. Hmm.
2. Grabbitz, Pigs in the Sky
Single (Hopeless/CO5 Music)
Recommended If You Like: Facing the brutal truth
Grabbitz, the Buffalo-born EDM producer, musician, and DJ who had the hit Someone Else with Canadian musician Rezz last year, has returned with another solo production. It sounds like he’s had about as much doom-and-gloom with pandemics and needed to vent. I can relate.
3. Tai Verdes, A-O-K
RIYL: Singalong summer songs
If you watch those singing shows on TV, you might remember Tai, a guy who has endured being cut from many of those programs. His real success began with posting material to TikTok. His lesson to everyone? If you try something and it doesn’t work, he says “change your name, maybe get a f-ing haircut, try it again. Everyone should do that if your sh—is not popping. People don’t care ”
4. Willow, Transparentsoul feat. Travis Barker
RIYL: Pop-punk viral hits
Travis Barker seems to be intent on supplanting Dave Grohl as the guy who guests on the most records by other artists. So far the list includes Run the Jewels, Wiz Khalifa, Pink, Britney Spears, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Huddy, and about a dozen others. Willow is Willow Smith, daughter of Will. She’s no rookie, either. Her first single was released in 2009 when she was just nine years old.
5. Cold War Kids, What You Say
New Age Norms 3 (AWAL/In2une Music)
RIYL: Multi-volume albums
Having released New Age Norms 1 (2019) and New Age Norms 2 (2020), a third volume—the final act of a trilogy—was always planned for 2021. Ambitious, no? The album will arrive in August, which will make for an interesting binge listen.
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