VH New Music Fridays: Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and more


Alexa Bussmann

In VH New Music Fridays, the Life staff cover this week’s new music releases, from pop to country to alternative.

Pop: Alexa Bussmann

Lover, Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s new album boasts an impressive 18 songs, but that’s the only impressive thing about it. Elementary rhyming and a childish pop sound characterize every song on the album. Endlessly dramatic but lacking real substance, Lover goes further down a road that it’s hard to believe an almost-30-year-old Swift is choosing to go down. Lyrics like “the whole school is rolling fake dice” in “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” highlight an album that could only appeal to fans that are half Swift’s age. The only remnant of the Taylor Swift we once knew is “Soon You’ll Get Better,” a powerful ballad with The Dixie Chicks. The other 17 songs on Lover are painful reminders that the Swift of Red is long gone. 

“I Warned Myself”, Charlie Puth

Perhaps the only person more dramatic than Taylor Swift is Charlie Puth. Seriously, this guy always has something or someone to regret. “I Warned Myself” is the story of Puth regretting a relationship gone wrong. It’s nothing outside of Puth’s normal sound, but the song is rhythmic and more catchy than I’d like to admit. If you have something or someone to regret like Puth does, you’ll like “I Warned Myself.”


Hip Hop: Brendan Sawyer

“No Halo”, Brockhampton

Brockhampton takes a turn toward the commercial side with their new single “No Halo,” the opening track to their new album Ginger. While this track is much more polished and a little less quirky than the sound they’re known for, this change is all for the better. The guitar-led beat and echoing hook create an eerily beautiful atmosphere for the track. Each member of the boyband dives into personal topics on the track, creating a song that is nothing short of cinematic. 

“So What?”, Vince Staples

Vince kicks off his new online web series The Vince Staples Show with the catchy and braggadocious “So What?”. Vince’s flow rides over the bouncing, bright beat with such ease that it’s hard to call him nothing short of a master at this point in his career. Lines like “I’m at the Supercharger with the glock in my lap” add incredible humor and energy to the track. “So What?” along with the accompanying video have me excited for where Vince is taking his show. 


Country and Americana: Alexa Bussmann

“Sing Along”, Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson’s second single of 2019, ahead of a new album, doesn’t disappoint. “Sing Along”  features a fuller sound than his previous releases, but maintains Simpson’s rolicking, distinct rhythms. From start to finish, all two minutes and fifty-four minutes of this release are full and driving. If “Sing Along” is any indication, Simpson’s upcoming album is worth looking forward to. 

“Every Song’s a Drinkin’ Song”, Midland

Sung by almost anyone else, this song would be another radio-made bore. But sung by Texas export Midland, “Every Song’s a Drinkin’ Song” is unique and nostalgic. Fans are getting more of what they’ve come to love from Midland; a laidback and catchy melody with a heavy western twinge. This single is right in line with Midland’s previous releases, adding to their solid discography of music that consistently bucks the current commercial trends in country music.

“Need This”, Zac Brown Band

The Zac Brown Band, for a long time one of country music’s more traditional yet always outside the mainstream mainstays, has been going down a weird, heavily-pop-influenced road for the past few years. “Need This” only confirms that this musical detour may be more of a complete u-turn. If ZBB was looking to create feelings of general confusion with this song, they have succeeded. This single is devoid of meaningful lyrics and a real topic, and is only saved from complete disaster by skillful guitar sprinkled between monotone vocals.


Indie and Alternative: Angela Karas

“People”, The 1975 

 The 1975 are back with a new single, “People,” which sees the band stray from their signature indie-pop sound developed in their most recent two albums. Interestingly enough, it is more reminiscent of their eponymous debut album, as both feature pronounced bass guitar usage. However, I would posit that “People” ventures further into the indie rock genre than their debut LP, as evidenced by frontman Matty Healy’s assertive delivery of the lyrics through singing which borders on shouting. Ironically, the lyrics themselves are perhaps the most The 1975-esque component of the new and admittedly innovative single. Thus, if you (not unlike myself) were invested in the band’s first record in late 2013 and 2014 but then felt as if you outgrew the band, “People” is worth a listen. It just might surprise you. 

“Fuck it I love you”, Lana Del Rey

 Ahead of next Friday’s release of the singer’s latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana Del Rey has released the aforementioned explicitly titled single, along with “The greatest.” “Fuck it I like you” is very much par for the course in terms of what fans have come to expect from the artist: retro ballads provoking equal parts romance and nostalgia. The latest song is particularly reminiscent of 2015’s Honeymoon and suggest that the new album will have similar retro themes. If Honeymoon exudes chiefly art deco vibes, “Fuck it I love you” (if viewed as reflective of the new record as a whole) parallels such historic encapsulation, though is more concerned with aestheticized patriotism and the rise of counterculture. In short, this is essential listening for all Del Rey fans, especially as anticipation for her new LP mounts.