Demi Lovato surprise-releases a heartbreaking ballad about addiction and mistakes, “Sober,” that tugs at heartstrings. Paul McCartney returns with a new single that will have old fans waxing nostalgic, and new fans eager to rediscover the Beatles discography. Boy band PRETTYMUCH get a bit of that Ed Sheeran magic on their breezy new song “Summer on You.” Singer-rapper Bryce Vine offers up some swagger in the form of song on “On the Ball.” And Cheat Codes teams up with Little Mix for an EDM bop.
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"Sober," Demi Lovato
In a heartbreakingly confessional song, Demi Lovato comes clean to her family and fans about an ongoing battle she fights with her own demons: “Mama, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore,” she admits in the earnest piano ballad. “And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me / We’ve been down this road before / I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore.” Lovato lets her rich voice break a little as she tenderly recounts mistakes and makes apologies over a soaring melody. It’s a raw and honest tear-jerker of a track and feels like it could be a pivotal reset for Lovato, whose last album Tell Me You Love Me was filled with soulful pop and dance tunes. “Sober,” though, suggests Lovato might be getting even more personal with her music.
"Come On To Me," Paul McCartney
It’s been five years since Paul McCartney put out an album, but if this early release off of fall project Egypt Station is any indication, the Beatle’s still got it. “It,” in this case, is his instinctive sense of rock and fun. “Come On To Me,” one of two new songs, is classic McCartney: a toe-tapping, bouncy rock beat and singalong love song just asking to put a smile on your face. McCartney hasn’t changed much of his style over the decades — but maybe it’s because he’s now something of an rock ‘n’ roll outlier in the contemporary mix that he still sounds perfectly fresh.
"On the Ball," Bryce Vine
Roll out of bed and cue up Bryce Vine’s “On the Ball,” a song filled with laid-back confidence, for that perfect morning pick-me-up experience. Vine, a New York-bred singer-songwriter-rapper, sounds like the definition of cool as he effortlessly switches between unhurried rap and R&B-infused singing. “I feel like I’m on the ball today,” he insists over an electric-guitar-led beat that opens up into a moodier groove. “I even felt exempted from the law today,” he continues, ever down for a good time. If you need a boost of Vine’s swagger to kickstart your weekend, “On the Ball” will fit the bill.
"Only You," Cheat Codes feat. Little Mix
British girl group Little Mix have been trying to crack the code on making it big in the U.S. for years. Their newest collaboration, with the appropriately-titled electronic production trio Cheat Codes, might be just the right play. All four of the girls have strong, melodic voices that play well over EDM, and Cheat Codes have provided an especially rich track to show them off, with percussive depth and a powerful dance beat. The chorus is bittersweet — “Once upon a time we had it all / Somewhere down the line we went and lost it” — but the song has “club banger” written all over it.
"Summer on You," PRETTYMUCH
When it comes to the current boy band renaissance, consider PRETTYMUCH the most classic of the bunch — at least in sound, if not in style. The five guys are just as comfortable in the a cappella and acoustic setting as going dance-pop or breezy hip-hop; “Summer on You,” their sweet, appropriately summery new song, leans to the former. “Baby, I ain’t got no money / All I got is time,” they croon, swapping between solos and light harmonizing. “And I’m gon’ spend that time on you,” they continue, painting a picture of lazily romantic summer afternoons. Catchy and warm as it is, perhaps it should come as no surprise Ed Sheeran is the writer, while the five voices of PRETTYMUCH add texture and interest to an otherwise simple tune.