This week, Lizzo continues dropping hits in advance of her new album — this time featuring none other than Missy Elliott on "Tempo." Dance duo Sofi Tukker try a new sound on recent release "Fantasy," ahead of their next project. Rising country singer Kassi Ashton goes introspective on the intimate, haunting acoustic ballad "Pretty Shiny Things." Kailee Morgue brings in Hayley Kiyoko for the emo-pop bop that is "Headcase," a track that traverses dark territory with a wink. And boy band Why Don't We may all be under 21, but that doesn't stop them from singing infectiously about the problem with nightlife on "I Don't Belong in This Club" with an added verse from Macklemore.
"Tempo," Lizzo feat. Missy Elliott
When Lizzo sings "I've been waiting for this one! Turn it up!" on the intro of "Tempo" off of her upcoming album out in April, you believe her. The unapologetic rapper feels like a direct descendent of the rap royalty that is Missy Elliott — and "Tempo" delivers as a collaborative effort, letting both show off and have a great time over an aggressive beat. The tempo isn't actually that fast here, but Lizzo is more than capable of bringing the heat. And when Missy chimes in — "Look at me, I know I look good" — it feels like the kind of party we should all be joining in on.
"Headcase," Kailee Morgue feat. Hayley Kiyoko
Dive into some emo-pop with "Headcase" from 20-year-old rising star Kailee Morgue. Over a slow, hypnotic beat that swings from punk to Ratatat-like electronic and features a sample of The Pixies' "Where Is My Mind?" Morgue unfolds a sweet-sour sing-song tune that has a good shot at getting stuck in your head. "I'm a headcase, but you love me," she shrugs. "I'm a mistake, but I warned you." The assist from Hayley Kiyoko, another of pop's promising talents, adds another layer of intrigue.
"I Don't Belong in This Club," Why Don't We feat. Macklemore
None of the boys of Why Don't We, a five-guy boy band, are old enough to get into a club in the U.S. But no matter; on "I Don't Belong in This Club," the sweet-voiced young singers are plenty convincing about the social anxiety that can accompany a night out. "Some guy skipped in front of me; can't believe I paid an entry fee. And I don't even have the energy to smile for a selfie," sings Daniel Seavey off the top, sounding as jaded as a nightlife veteran. Rapper Macklemore comes in for an illustrative verse on the experience of a less-than-ideal evening on the town, but the real highlight here is the beat-heavy chorus that's just begging for a singalong.
"Pretty Shiny Things," Kassi Ashton
Sweet and simple and, yes, a little bit heart-wrenching, "Pretty Shiny Things" is the latest release from Missouri-raised country singer-songwriter Kassi Ashton. Just a guitar and Ashton's lilting, elastic vocals, the tune is a quietly devastating exploration of a fraught mother-daughter relationship. "Put your makeup on girl, stand up straight," she sings to herself. "Your face will take you farther than your brain. You oughta know by now, beauty is pain." But Ashton then comes back with another suggestion. "Pretty shiny things, I swear that there's more to us," she insists, her voice floating off with delicate sadness. "Ain't nothing pretty about a perfect life."
"Fantasy," Sofi Tukker
Electronic duo Sofi Tukker — consisting of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — have a history of synthesizing diverse influences, from Brazilian poetry to Bolivian instruments, in their eclectic music. "Fantasy," their first new release since their Grammy-nominated 2018 album Treehouse, goes more in the direction of traditional house-pop music, with dreamy vocals from Hawley-Weld over a bubbling synth-driven beat. It suggests a whole new sound for the high-energy pair — but one that's equally likely to get a crowd dancing.