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!
Ciara, who made us all level up earlier this summer, is back with new single "Dose," and where "Level Up" was all dance-core freakout, "Dose" is a high-fashion drumline. In the catchy dance track, Ciara compares her love to medicine, and it's fitting because, frankly, we all need a dose of whatever new ish Ciara's been on. If you're feeling under the weather, take a dose of Ciara's new song and expect to make a full recovery.
Khalid turns in another entry of smooth and current R&B with "Better," an atmospheric radio-ready cut about the highs of budding romance, maybe on the dancefloor, maybe behind closed doors. Few things sound better than Khalid's silken vocals over an easy throwback track that sounds just as at home in the '90s and it does today.
Today, Brooklyn noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells gifts us with the treat of their 2010 noise-up breakout debut Treats: a leftover B-side from that era, "Holly," re-purposed for 2018. What's fun about the revived sound of "Holly" is that it doesn't get too fussy about cleaning up the original's rough edges. Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss explore their iconic maximalist signature sound to thrillingly electric effect, while irreverent lyrics like "Wastin' all day / Killin' all the Capulets" sound just as fresh as they did back in the day. If this is a hint of what's to come from Sleigh Bells, who have consistently evolved within their trademark sonic style over the years, we're so stoked. The old adage applies to Sleigh Bells of yore: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Lennon Stella, as you may know, is best known for her work on TV's hit show Nashville. After inking a solo record deal earlier this year and releasing a debut single, she's dropped "Bad" today. Stella's lyrics muse over regretfully leaving a lover who treated her well. "Bad" boasts addictive, circus-y vocal harmonies over a minimal, but glistening beat outfitted with trippy, airy effects, including timed twinkles. Honestly, it's so good! What's next?
Mija's "Dead Flowers & Cigarettes" from two-track audio bundle Just Enough, out today, is a full-on mood. It's all house breakbeats and shifting tempos, complete with warped, half-whispered vocals and deliciously sadistic lyrics ("The flowers I gave you are stolen and dying" is my next tattoo), for an added touch of noir. Perfect for a fashion show on nonsmiling models carrying wilted flowers or your next evening strut through city streets, Mija's got you covered.
Olivia O'Brien sings the woebegone tale of a misfit in her new single "I Don't Exist." What we've come to expect from O'Brien are tracks that bare her soul about modern, distinctly Millennial struggles over brooding, dark-pop arrangements, and this one doesn't disappoint. Truth is, "I Don't Exist" perfectly vcaptures the moments we've all felt in crowded rooms of blue checkmarks: "I don't fit in." It's nice to know we're not alone.
Kristina Bazan drops '80s-style synthpop ballad "VR" today, and like the single's cover art, it's a cool but heartfelt reflection on seeing a mirage of a lover right in front of you. Bazan's falsetto is a thing of effortless beauty, and it riffs all over the sparkling, soaring production of the track. The lens might be blurry, but "VR" has us seeing the stars.
Ray Blk is here to remind women everywhere of their worth. "Empress," an acoustic, beautifully sung and harmonized tune about standing out and stating your worth "even if it hurts," is out today, and we are made proud to put the women in our lives first, today and everyday.
Charlotte Lawrence drops a danceable, catchy revenge fantasy in "Stole Your Car," today. I can't tell you the last time I've gotten away with auto-theft and made it pop (I could never), but Lawrence does so with aplomb. Anyway, for all you rebels who want to get your ex where it hurts, this adventurous anthem in material payback is the song for you.
Presenting indie rock musician Sophie Allison, who sings as Soccer Mommy as you haven't heard her before: on an electronic collaboration with HEALTH produced by Purity Ring's Corin Roddick. "Mass Grave" is smart and thrilling in how it takes Allison's elastic voice and places it on the playground of witchy, industrial sounds, and it makes us wonder: can this epic collab be the dawn of a reinvented sound for Soccer Mommy? While we wait to find out, we'll be swaying in our oversized shades and black trenchcoats on some hazy dancefloor at 3 am tonight. See you there.
What's your favorite track this week? See you next week, lovers!