New Music Friday Graphic

On a quiet weekend for music releases, I was pleased to discover pop and R&B gems from artists that I might have otherwise glossed over, while also devoting time to those I’ve long admired.

“Best Friend (feat. Doja Cat)” by Saweetie was the wholesome pop fuel I needed to start my Friday. Saweetie and Doja Cat are a delightful duo with catchy bars reminiscent of Kelis’s 2006 hit, “Bossy.” In the most endearing way, I can’t wait for this to become a drunk-girl hype song –– the only thing it’s missing is a Lizzo feature.

Typically a post-hiatus alternative comeback wouldn’t wow me, but “The Bandit” by Kings of Leon was just good enough to prove me wrong. The grunge-y track employs a sharp melody and unwavering guitar riffs, characteristic of the icons behind “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.” While I worry the single won’t catch on quite like it would have in 2008, I consider it a hit.

Incidentally, Canadian R&B duo dvsn covered Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” and it’s pure, instant-replay gold. The lyrics and melody work perfectly with dvsn’s unique sound, a smooth blend of classic R&B components with new-school electronic production. This new take on “Use Somebody” made me fall in love with the song all over again, as any great cover should.

“drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo is stealing hearts and climbing charts, landing at no. 10 on iTunes mere hours after its release. If first impressions are everything, this song just didn’t impress me, but I found new elements to appreciate with each listen. The lyrics, while lacking depth and maturity, are evocative of such a specific coming-of-age feeling, and Rodrigo’s voice has an irresistible star quality.

Almost a month after releasing her ninth studio album “evermore,” Taylor Swift delivered the album’s deluxe edition to streaming platforms Wednesday. The new release features two bonus tracks, “it’s time to go” and “right where you left me,” and both were certainly worth the wait. “it’s time to go” is a clever, heartbreaking ballad softened by delicate instrumentation. “right where you left me” is pop-country genius, evoking Swift’s RED era and cementing her de facto reign over every genre she tackles.

Bro-country novice and “The Voice” alum Morgan Wallen put me right to sleep with “Wasted on You,” in a bad way. I don’t even hate country music, but his voice is too painfully twangy for me to endure. Wallen’s wailing masks over what are actually decently smart lyrics and pleasant instrumentals.

I love him, but “Vibez” by ZAYN was probably the weekend’s biggest flop. Zayn Malik’s breathy mumbling only worsens the comically bad lyrics –– “And you already know I got it for ya / You know the vibes, know the vibes, put it on ya.” Juvenile and cliche, this attempt at a musical aphrodisiac had quite the opposite effect.

“Everything I Know” by chemical club was an unexpected indie-pop treat that I really hope gets to see daylight –– ideally in the form of a soundtrack to a movie scene wherein the main character stares dramatically out a car window as they existentially ponder. Carefree but haunting, the track transports me to the happiest and most complicated moments of my teen years.

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