This week’s best new music includes releases from H.E.R., SEVENTEEN, Chloe Bailey, Young Devyn, Stray Kids, and so many more.
H.E.R., “For Anyone”
It’s hard to believe that prolific, Grammy-winning artist H.E.R. is only just now releasing her debut full-length album, the 21-track epic Back of My Mind. She told Apple Music recently that the album is “a celebration of all the things that R&B is,” in all of its dynamic sounds and moods. “For Anyone” is an early favorite; the song starts with gentle instrumentals as H.E.R. begins to bare vulnerable emotions after the end of a relationship. “I wish I could tell you,” she sings. “I don’t wanna be with somebody else new.”
Chloe Bailey, “Feeling Good”
Chloe Bailey is delivering the covers as of late (she and Halle released a stunning version of TLC’s “Waterfalls” earlier this week). As part of Disney’s ongoing EP series celebrating Black life and art, Chloe covered Nina Simone’s legendary song “Feeling Good” for Music for the Movement Volume III – Liberated. Timed to Juneteenth, Chloe brings her soaring vocals to the anthem, with an especially memorable high note that reminds us just how much of a vocal talent she is.
SEVENTEEN, “Ready to love”
K-pop superstars SEVENTEEN released their delightful eighth mini album Your Choice this week. Lead single “Ready to love” is a dance-pop hit, with a music video that insists on good vibes only. As the members hang out on purple school buses and among fields of balloons, slogans like “we used to be friends” and “I’m a fool of love for you” draw your eye to the background. “Can we stay together?” the central hook asks, before SVT pull off a truly cinematic dance sequence in the pouring rain.
Amythyst Kiah, “Sleeping Queen”
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah’s new album Wary + Strange is a bold, fully-realized exploration of identity and self-acceptance. The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native explained the throughlines of the album’s creation in a press release: “A lot of these songs come from a moment in my 20s when I was grappling with trauma while also trying to navigate the experience of being a Black and LGBT woman in a white suburban area in a Bible Belt town.” Blending roots and rock, the striking “Sleeping Queen” is at turns blunt and poetic, engaging fully with what humans can be like. “Great beauty and great horror they are made of,” she sings. “Can we share anything when our heads, our hearts, our hands are empty?”
Young Devyn, “Like This”
Up-and-coming musician Young Devyn’s debut EP Baby Goat has now arrived, and with it the 19-year-old’s already razor sharp lyricism. Single “Like This” is one she calls “braggadocious,” and it’s extremely fun to live inside the confident world of the song. Elswehere, on “Entangle,” with its ‘90s pop R&B chimey guitar melody, Young Devyn shows off her versatility as a rapper and smooth singer. And we can’t get the ultra-relatable lyric out of our minds: “I don’t need no relationship, I just want some entanglements.”
Prado Monroe, “Louis Tee”
“Louis Tee,” one of the new tracks on Prado’s new self-titled EP, is a surreal, lightning fast experience of a song. The visualizer is mesmerizing, as a demon version of Prado makes her way through an electric cityscape. She’s expert at creating a mood, and “Louis Tee” is as sensual and romantic as it is deliciously disconcerting.
Stray Kids, “오늘 밤 나는 불을 켜”
As part of their SKZ-Player series, four Stray Kids members (Bang Chan, Changbin, Felix, and Seungmin) surprised fans with a caffeinated vampire fantasy that sees them play around with suspenseful strings and and a Latin-pop sensibility. “오늘 밤 나는 불을 켜,” written by the group’s powerhouse sub-unit 3RACHA, is an ode to nocturnal habits, procrastination, and insomnia; come for the iconic victorian vamp aesthetic and blousy collars, stay for that quintessential playfulness that makes Stray Kids, Stray Kids.
Carla Morrison, “Obra de Arte”
Carla Morrison’s new single and music video “Obra de Arte” is act 3 in a series of songs, following “No Me Llames” and “Ansiedad.” This latest act continues the running threads of mental health, moving past toxic feelings, and embracing who you are. Resuming her place in the same desert set she inhabited in the first two acts, now things are ablaze; the energy is darker and more confident to match the song’s powered-up sound and lyrics. Translated to “Work of Art,” the song is an assertion of beauty and life: “I am the origin of every good thing in you,” she posits.
Dee Gatti, “Headache”
Elsewhere in debuts this week is Fort Worth, Texas, musician Dee Gatti, who released a killer debut EP, Just Called to Say. A recounting of “an intense relationship” she’s no longer in, “Headache” is a marking point of the moment someone goes from your source of solace to your source of frustration. Her echoing ad-libs give “Headache” an ambient, airy feeling that captures how disappointing it is to come back down to earth.
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