New Music Friday always promises a plethora of that good-good new-new from some of your favorite artists, maybe some long-awaited, maybe some tired, through, and delayed, and maybe some songs by a treasure trove of #whos you've never heard of before. We know. It's overwhelming! Thank the heavens PAPER is here help sift through the goodness, the garbage, and the noise, and bring you the best every Friday. We gotchu, sis. Let's bop to it!
We love rising mermaid-haired singer-songwriter Jaira Burns. Today the Pennsylvania youngin drops "OKOKOK" off her upcoming EP Burn Slow, and let's just say that it's a certified banger. The breezy pop track, produced by Noiseclub, is full of catchy tropical sounds and sweetly detached vocals from Burns that will have you dreaming of a drop-top summer. The lyrics are essentially about thriving despite haters, lost loves, and departure in general. If you're the type of person who has been leaving the boiling 212 Fahrenheit hot mess of 2017 behind and embracing all that's new and good to come this year, right now, this one's for you.
Years & Years, the UK-based electronic pop outfit with sinewy R&B flourishes, is back with their first single "Sanctify" off their upcoming sophomore album. Since their 2015 breakthrough debut, which featured the ubiquitous single "Kings," frontman Olly Alexander has elevated his profile as an outspoken sweetheart in the LGBTQ community with last year's release of the BBC documentary Growing Up Gay. "Sanctify" boasts a muscular beat that fans of Banks and/or Yeezus would love, and an anthemic chorus about romantic and sexual devotion. "Sanctify my sins when I pray," Alexander croons. Let the church say '"Amen."
Betty Who is definitely somebody we have our eye on. The opposite of a #who, in fact. We love "Look Back" — a playful, reggae-inflected pop jam, about what else, appreciation and praise for the rear view. More than that, it's about agency. She's cool as a cucumber throughout; the boys are doing double-takes when she struts by, but Ms. Betty never breaks her stride.
Lily Allen's new album No Shame is slated for release this June, but that doesn't mean the notoriously potty-mouthed queen of Clever Pop (TM) is in the mood to make us wait. Last night, she casually dropped *two* singles from her first album in four years, "Higher" being a surefire crowd favorite. It's a trippy, sexy after-hours jam about rising above a suitor's failed attempts at seduction. What's always wonderful about Lily is how she manages to infuse cerebral real-life observations like "dig that grave, you're such a bad liar" and "it's your life, I said you'd never ruin mine" with an air of casual detachment, and the yet the end result is maddeningly catchy. It's hard to sound like you don't care when you really, really do.
Speaking of "higher," hip-hop phenom KYLE takes us into the stratosphere with "To the Moon" — a simple, under-three-minutes bop with a melodic chorus I promise you will not get out of your head anytime soon, I don't care how many vodka sodas you sip or how many blunts you hit this weekend.
NO ONE is READY FOR THIS and also I am so proud to be a New Yorker: NYC legends Cazwell and Drag Race Season 9 superstar Peppermint hit us with "Blend" on this glorious day, which is about, what else, refusing to blend and being proud and there are shout-outs to Marsha P. Johnson, and call outs of TSA and gendered bathroom policies. It's a lot to take but also not enough, but also plenty. "I am so done trying/My heart with transcend/And I'm never gonna blend," Peppermint sings. Get ready to sashay all weekend to these delicious anthems celebrating charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.
And while we're in the world of Drag Race icons, let's turn our attention to the one and only Jiggly Caliente, who drops a whole album T.H.O.T. Process today. Cheeky! (Pun intended, shrug emoji). It's obviously a ton of fun (I mean, it's tough to imagine an album with that title being a real drag, this time #nopunintended), full of bops and bangers and all manner of sassy what-have-you, and features collaborations with the aforementioned Peppermint and fellow former contestant, Alaska Thunder, on anthems about feelin' oneself and body positivity, respectively. It's honestly hard to pick one song that really stands out among the rest, but it's a short record and most of the albums twelve songs are under three minutes. You can have it all!
Today, Logic, who made major waves with last year's suicide hotline song with Alessia Cara last year in the era of increased campaign efforts and awareness around bullying and shows like 13 Reasons Why, drops his new mixtape Bobby Tarantino II today. I've been personally bumpin' "Overnight" for a few weeks lately, so I'm just going to go ahead and suggest y'all get it in to this heady uptempo banger that feels like a deliciously fun 2018 re-up of Twista's Kanye-produced "Overnight Celebrity."
Lil Yachty, one of hip-hop's sunnier personalities, plays dark and determined on new album Lil Boat 2, after the success of last year's Teenage Emotions and the Quality Control compilation with Migos. So much good here. "Love Me Forever" one of the few songs without features on this record stands out to me. I could easily see him remixing with previous collaborator and friend Charli XCX, though if they both used severe Auto-Tune for their vocals, the effect would be, well, severe. Otherwise, there are some dark and stormy songs here tailor made for luxe nights out complete with limos and mood lighting if you got it like that, or nights alone or like, on the prowl on the apps, or whatever you freaks do at night.
OK, so let's switch up the mood here. I hadn't heard of singer Carter Reeves until a colleague passed this along, and all I can really say is "Fly High" feels like the summer, which I know sounds really ~*basic*~, but I swear to goddess if you put this on, you'll escape to a place where Vitamin D is straight beamin' on a bitch. Who doesn't want that? "Fly High" is very sweet, it's easy-breezy to get into, and the melodies soar, which is fitting because the song is literally about transcendence. So, there's a lot to love here.
What's your favorite track this week? See you next week, lovers!