This week, Lorde shares her second single off of upcoming album Melodrama, a haunting piano ballad. Nicki Minaj snaps back at Remy Ma in a sharp collaboration with Drake and Lil Wayne. British soul artist Jacob Banks debuts an unsettling-but-powerful music video for “Unholy War,” his bluesy anthem on prejudice and freedom. Singer-songwriter FLETCHER falls in love on another power pop tune to get lost in. And synth trio LANY share a mellowed-out dance tune that’s just right for weekend listening.
“No Frauds,” Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Lil Wayne
When rapper Remy Ma started coming for Nicki Minaj in a diss track released late in February, it appeared Minaj was choosing to take the high road and refusing to clap back. But turns out we just had to wait for her to make her move. “No Frauds,” a collaboration with Young Money cohorts Drake and Lil Wayne, is a searing takedown of Remy Ma—but also a window into her upcoming album.
The burns come thick and fast—backed up by the smooth, hypnotic production that we associate with Drake’s low key hits. He and Lil Wayne both get verses to flex in their own lanes, although ultimately “No Frauds” proves Minaj has a high-powered crew at her back and can spit lines with plenty of teeth.
Last week, we got the upbeat dance tune of “Green Light.” This week, Lorde takes us in a more somber direction with a stripped-down piano ballad, a simple melody that allows Lorde’s dexterous voice to shine with a range of emotion.
“The truth is I am a toy that people enjoy/ ‘Til all of the tricks don’t work anymore, and then they are bored of me,” she sings, seeming on the edge of tears. “I understand, I’m a liability. Get you wild, make you leave.” It’s a departure from her previous work, but it strikes a haunting note.
“Unholy War,” Jacob Banks
Prepare to be floored by Jacob Banks, a rising Nigerian-born British star whose soulful voice and incisive production will get under your skin from the first listen. The haunting video for standout track “Unholy War,” which Banks wrote and co-directed himself, is an unsettling tale of sacrifice and fear set to his distinctive mix of African-inspired rhythms, synth distortions, and bluesy guitar.
“They will come for you. They will come for your magic, they will come because your heart glows in the dark, because you are familiar but not the same,” he narrates in the intro to the video, the first in a two-part narrative that explores themes of war and prejudice. “Unholy War” feels like a song to empower those who need an anthem on their own march to freedom.
“Wasted Youth,” FLETCHER
Singer-songwriter FLETCHER’s “Wasted Youth” is another power pop anthem with a melancholy undertone, following in the mold of previous songs “War Paint” and “Princess.” Her lilting voice sways and builds over the percussive production, chanting a melodic ode to youthful passion. The video, out this week, tells a deeper story of sepia-toned California love, the comfortable kind that friends discover over years of messing around in deserted parks and late-night laundromat runs. “I tell myself if I’m gonna fall, it’ll be from high places,” FLETCHER muses, young and in love.
“Good Girls,” LANY
L.A.-based up-and-coming synth trio LANY make the vibe-y kind of music you can listen to all day, and “Good Girls,” off their upcoming self-titled debut album, is no exception. With its easy groove and 80s pop influence, this tune feels both instantly recognizable and refreshingly new, a mellowed-out electronic song to background a lazy weekend afternoon and also take you into a dance party at night.
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Write to Raisa Bruner at email@example.com