In VH New Music Fridays, the Life staff covers this week’s new music releases, from pop to country to alternative.
Hip Hop/R&B: Brendan Sawyer
“home with you,” FKA Twigs
FKA Twigs continues to redefine R&B with her new track “home with you.” The track begins with Twigs delivering chilling verse in a distorted monotone whisper over sparse synth notes, like a creepier Billie Eilish. Just as the odd vocals feel like they’re overstaying their welcome, Twigs crescendos her vocals as this grand piano strikes beautiful chords into the mix. The track suddenly cuts out, until Twigs begins the chorus in a haunting acapella falsetto, “I, didn’t know that you were lonely, If you’d have just told me I’d be home with you.” Twigs is joined by an entire chorus, ringing harmonies over a stark piano melody. The song is nothing short of a religious experience that I’d recommend to any R&B or experimental fan.
Country & Americana: Alexa Bussmann
“Kinfolks,” Sam Hunt
A week ago, I was telling a friend that I thought Sam Hunt was done making music. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After a week of cryptic Instagram posts, Hunt released a new single last night. “Kinfolks” is right in line with Hunt’s pop-influenced style. Lyrically, it pays homage to his hometown, his family and their “house in the pines”— Hunt wants to show his girl where he comes from. Musically, it’s a little disappointing. “Kinfolks” will do well on the charts, because Hunt can do no wrong when it comes to commercial success (who else could still be relevant with only one album?), but this song left me craving more artistry. Here’s to hoping that Hunt’s sophomore album, slated for release in early 2020, will deliver more musical depth.
“Tequila Does,” Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert’s new single is a love song to tequila, her “bordertown buzz.” “Tequila Does” is full of references to Mexico and is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the firebrand that Lambert is. I appreciate the single’s easy rhythm— it’s laid back but far from boring. Lambert is unique in that she’s been enormously successful while staying true to the genre, and “Tequila Does” is the perfect example of how she rides that line.
“What I See,” LANCO
In our second hometown homage song of the week, LANCO sings about the high school football games, close calls and all of the other memories that make home, home. Through their perspective, everything in their little town has significance. However, the song itself isn’t particularly memorable. Lyrically and musically, it’s painfully predictable. LANCO is a talented group, no doubt, but “What I See” isn’t the best showcase of that talent.
Pop/Indie & Alternative: Angela Karas
“Lights Up,” Harry Styles
The former One Directioner is back with a bold new track: “Lights Up.” The single does seem rather in-line with what fans have come to expect from Styles’ solo work on his debut LP: Harry Styles. However, this single does seem to incorporate more pop influence than the more rock-heavy characterization of the singer’s first record. I particularly like the final line of the song: “Do you know who you are?” With that being said, I feel as if the rest of the song lacks the iconic status of other songs by the singer, like “Kiwi” and “Carolina.” Overall, “Lights Up” is a promising start to this new Harry Styles’ era, but I hope even better songs are in store.
“Yellow Box,” The Neighbourhood
“Yellow Box” is a single released in promotion for a new video game called “Death Stranding: Timefall.” “Yellow Box” gets off to a slow start, literally: the song itself does not begin until after about fifty-five seconds of ambient noise mixed with instrumentals that hint at the forthcoming song without actually commencing to its fullest extent. However, once the song does begin, it bears the hallmark traits of The Neighbourhood songs. Namely, it has a slow and moody musical characterization and strong vocals from lead singer Jesse Rutherford. The rest of the song doesn’t necessarily make up for the almost one-minute long instrumental opening, but it does make one wish for more The Neighbourhood releases.