This week, synth pop trio Years & Years step back into the spotlight with a powerfully catchy new dance track. FLETCHER releases an anthem for the #MeToo movement with the heartfelt “I Believe You.” Rising Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy knows exactly how to infuse every syllable with raw-edged emotion. Electronic duo Sofi Tukker remind us not to let ourselves be belittled in an infectious club tune. And Toronto rapper anders releases a promising sophomore project.
“Young & Free,” Dermot Kennedy
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy has proved himself a masterful creator of amped-up acoustic ballads delivered with a punch in the gut. New track “Young & Free,” off an upcoming mixtape, mixes his soulful lyricism with a heavy-hitting chorus, showing off a voice that’s just the right kind of rough around the edges. Even in a love song titled “Young & Free,” Kennedy gives off the sense that he’s grappling with some demons. In his music, that turns out to be a very good thing.
“I Believe You,” FLETCHER
In the midst of the #MeToo movement and in the wake of International Women’s Day, no song sounds quite so timely as empowerment pop singer FLETCHER‘s unapologetic anthem for the moment, “I Believe You.” (She’s also donating all the song’s proceeds to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.) The soaring track is a heartfelt message of support to survivors of assault and discrimination: “Are you holding back something that you’ve just been dying to say?” she asks. “Me too / Girl, I believe you / Do you know every battle that you’ve ever faced is making you bulletproof / Me too.”
“Sanctify,” Years & Years
Masters of synth pop Years & Years are back after three years with “Sanctify,” the first track from an upcoming project. The British trio, fronted by charismatic singer and actor Olly Alexander, prove they have more magic up their sleeves to follow early breakout hits “King” and “Desire.” “Sanctify” draws from the futuristic falsetto of “SexyBack”-era Justin Timberlake and poppy percussion of “Slave 4 U”-style Britney Spears, but takes that sound further into an eerie, addictive direction. As for the music video, a cryptic and narratively rich exploration of a dystopian world, Alexander proves he is worthy of attention. If this is just the beginning of an evolved Years & Years, we’re in for a wild, wonderful ride.
“Baby I’m a Queen,” Sofi Tukker
“Baby I’m a queen,” Sofi Tukker‘s Sophie oozes off the top of the song of the same name, “so why do you call me baby? It’s been about a week / too soon for nicknames.” Off of their upcoming album Treehouse, due out in April, the latest track from the energetic electronic duo — behind hits like the infectious “Best Friend” and “Energia” — questions unappealing romantic infantilization over a dance-ready, guitar-heavy beat. Lovers are fun and all, it seems to suggest, but don’t forget to value yourself first.
“Bad Guy,” anders
At 22, Toronto-based rapper anders is slowly but surely establishing himself as one of the next voices to watch out of Canada’s rap capital. “Bad Guy,” off his new sophomore EP Twos, is the kind of looping, slow-burning party track that feels appropriate to have come from the home of Drake and The Weeknd. But anders has his own spin on the genre, with a knack for syncopating his super-smooth phrasing that gives his sound something unidentifiably catchy and idiosyncratic.
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