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!
Christine and the Queens' Héloïse Letissier finally unleashes her sophomore album Chris onto the world, and we are over the moon. As a whole Chris is a wonderful sonic evolution for the kinetic French musician; a multidimensional collection of sophisticated and emotionally resonant pop-funk jams. (Literally every song teems with emotion, stunning imagery, sensuality, and tension.) One of our favorites to strut to (again, many choices here), is opener "Comme Si," which boasts 1,000 hooks and epic vocals galore, setting the tone for an adventurous ride through Letissier's fluid and complex inner world.
As Rita Ora gears up for the release of her forthcoming, long-delayed stateside debut, Phoenix, she releases bops that ensure she's every bit as fiery, with head fully in the game, as the album's title implies. "Let You Love Me," is one such example, outfitted with clever production trickery that feels at once surprising and pleasing. But Ora's voice and the abundance of sugary hooks, folding into each other like icing on the world's richest layer cake, is what brings it all home.
BROCKHAMPTON is back with their new album iridescence, and the band, who has garnered a huge following in queer circles for their politics and music promoting acceptance, unfettered joy, and truth, is not playing games. "TONYA" is one of many standouts on the album, featuring serpentwithfeet's always beautiful, layered harmonies, and how it morphs from moving piano-led meditation into all-out banger is not something we have complaints about.
AlunaGeorge and Cautious Clay team up for "Superior Emotion," a dynamic, fizzy electropop song with trap-style percussion that positions elation as an experience to be desired. Put more simply, it's about the ways we protect ourselves when in the throes of unrequited love. In addition to being sublimely catchy and carrying a feeling of weightlessness, the track continues AlunaGeorge's tradition of crafting intelligent pop that is tuned into heart and body alike.
CYN, a rising singer-songwriter and Katy Perry signee, releases "I'll Still Have Me" today, on the heels of her upcoming tour supporting Years & Years. The stripped-back ballad, with strings and midnight-tinted electric guitar lines, allows CYN to sing about loving herself in light of lost love. It's honestly just a really gorgeous song, sung from the soul, with our heroine's voice alternately delicate and raspy, imbued with feeling that lingers.
So far, self-made pop auteur Allie X has given us three tastes of what's to come from Super Sunset in "Focus," "Not So Bad In LA," and most recently, the '80s-tinged electro ballad, "Science." "Little Things" is another example of Allie's innumerable talents, from the track's sparkling, pulsating production, to its inherently hooky melodies, and, of course, her lyrics, which merge macabre, off-kilter imagery with personal experience. "I put my head on my shoulders/try to be someone, yeah," she roars in the explosive coda. It seems like Allie X is truly at her best when she's this true to her north star.
Jessie Reyez unveils the next track from her upcoming EP, Being Human In Public, out October 19. "Dear Yessie" is part PSA, part letter to self, with the singer, adopted a barbed rap flow over a thunderous arrangement complete with gospel choirs. Reyez has always been a master at playing with tension and exploring uncomfortably real subject matter, usually with beats and production steeped in minor-key, occasionally sinister darkness. "Dear Yessie" is no different in that regard (this is a really good thing), but Reyez also spreads a message of hope through the cloudiness: If she can pull herself out of hell, why can't the rest of us?
We recently heard Nao over Mura Masa's glorious "Complicated," a breezy pop tune about thorny lovers who are the opposite of simple. "Drive and Disconnect" is a lovely new song from the UK singer, featuring ad-libs, and a steady groove bolstered by handclaps and a looping piano melody. Lyrically, Nao is singing about leaving someone (or someones) behind, and the track's easy nature evokes imagery akin to top-down drives, hair blowing in the breeze, free of all burdens connected to relationship trauma. We all need the reassurance of Nao's underlying message: "No regrets; it's going to be OK."
Peter Bjorn and John launched three new singles today ahead of their upcoming album Darker Days, out October 19. "Every Other Night" is one taste of what's to come from the Swedish pop trio (and previous Lykke Li collaborators). The track is a slice of urgent, retro-leaning rock pop with seamless harmonies, verses and choruses. Basically the trio doing what they do best and continuing to make deliciously dark pop songs with an irresistible gooey center.
It feels almost too obvious to include this bop from Gallant (a rising R&B star and repeat mention on this precious weekly list). It's a beautiful collaboration with the angelic Sufjan Stevens, and it's as the track's title suggests: too good to be true. Except, now that we're here in heaven, taken their on the strength of the duo's soaring, intertwining voices, being on earth feels second-rate. This song, though? Top tier.
What's your favorite track this week? See you next week, lovers!