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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

VH New Music Fridays: A$AP Rocky, Miranda Lambert and more


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


Hip Hop: Brendan Sawyer

“Coming Home,” Pusha T ft. Ms. Lauryn Hill

This is a Kanye West produced Pusha T song featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill. Need I say more? No, but I guess I’ll add that this a more pop-y turn for Push, with production that hails back to Ye’s Graduation era. Ms. Lauryn Hill’s chorus is unsurprisingly beautiful, and Push comes through with some solid verses. Sure, it lacks the bite of almost any track off his last album Daytona, but a collaboration of this caliber is something that can’t be missed. 

“Babushka Boy,” A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky drops his first post-incarceration single “Babushka Boy,” along with a particularly unsettling music video. It seems that Rocky is taking inspiration from his peer Tyler the Creater with outlandish wigs and costumes. The song itself its a decent banger with a slight Russian twist. Rocky basks in crime and extravagance weeks after his stint in a Swedish prison, making “Babushka Boi” a loud and proud “I’m back everyone!” with a giant middle finger in the air.


Country: Alexa Bussmann

“Way Too Pretty for Prison,” Miranda Lambert ft. Maren Morris

I expected a lot from this duo- two of the most successful women in current country music. The single started out with a cacophony of guitar and drums, and didn’t get much better from there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun song. Lyrically it is right up their alley, with lines like “I don’t wanna talk about/ how those jumpsuits wash us out” that are exactly what we’d expect from Lambert and Morris. With that being said, the song overall is repetitive and lacks musical complexity. Morris is barely heard on the song; I wish she would’ve had her own verse. “Way Too Pretty for Prison” is fun, but I wouldn’t choose to listen to it again. 

“Drive,” Tim McGraw

I also expected a lot from this song, and was sorely disappointed. “Drive” started out slow and really never sped up; it was monotonous throughout. Combined with a weird synth sound, the lack of variation in this song made it a bore. The lyrics offered nothing to add interest to the song, and honestly they made it sound like the female protagonist of the song would be helpless without the male lead’s presence. If that’s not bad enough, “Drive” drags on for almost four minutes. I don’t expect to hear this single on the radio anytime soon.


Indie and Alternative: Angela Karas

“Norman Fucking Rockwell,” Lana Del Rey

Rey’s much anticipated sixth studio album sees the songstress going back to her roots in many respects. While Lust for Life was rampant with genre-bending collaborations, Norman Fucking Rockwell sounds powerfully more reminiscent of her earlier work. It proves perhaps too early to produce a holistic judgement, but this latest record almost reaches (what in my opinion is) the god-tier status of LPs Born to Die: The Paradise Edition and Ultraviolence. One could argue that lyrically, Norman Fucking Rockwell could be stronger, but such singles as the Sublime cover “Doin’ Time” remind fans precisely of the unparalleled talent that is Del Rey. Equally cinematic and nostalgic, Norman Fucking Rockwell certainly holds its own in the Lana Del Rey canon. 

“Heavenly,” Cigarettes After Sex

“Heavenly” is a strong offering from the Brooklyn-based band, delivering the dreamy and romantic songs for which they are known. I personally feel that Cigarettes After Sex is the only band that can get away with a discography that sounds largely similar, as the songs seem to promote an aesthetic as much as they do music itself. However, “Heavenly,” while certainly nothing surprising from the band, does signify that the band is entering into a new era. Indeed, the new single will be featured on their forthcoming LP, Cry, out on October 25. Additionally, the ethereal nature of “Heavenly” pairs well with Norman Fucking Rockwell; the overarching themes in much of the new songs released this week provide a truly immersive alt-rock experience that can soundtrack your Labor Day weekend. 

“Champion,” American Authors ft. Beau Young Prince

A song as uneventful as their set at Live on the Green yesterday, “Champion” sounds like an overplayed top-40 pop song in the worst way possible. At Live on the Green, the band explicitly said they had a new song dropping at midnight, but that they had not practiced said song, and, therefore, would not play it. After trying to satisfy the crowd with a lackluster cover of “Mr. Brightside,” they actually stopped playing halfway through to again reiterate that the crowd did indeed really want to hear the new song, only to then resume the cover. Sadly, it was probably for the better that they did not play “Champion,” but worry not – there are much better alt rock releases (see: Norman Fucking Rockwell and “Heavenly”) with which one can satisfy the craving for new alt-rock. 

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About the Contributor
Alexa Bussmann, Former Content Development Director
Alexa Bussmann is from Minnetonka, Minnesota. She majored in political science, economics and Spanish. Alexa previously served as Content Development Director and has written for The Hustler since her freshman year. She wrote the "Hannah, Alexa and Joe" and "New Music Fridays" columns. In her free time, Alexa enjoys trying new coffee shops in Nashville and following U.S. politics.
Reach Alexa at: [email protected]
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