This week brings Coldplay‘s newest offering, the experimental, wide-ranging double album Everyday Life. Plus, Maggie Rogers dips a toe into the country side of her sound on “Love You For a Long Time;” Latin mainstay Juanes releases a new album that builds on the rock he’s done best for his decades-long career; Scottish crooner Lewis Capaldi doubles down on the sound that has made him a chart-topper with “Before You Go” and Atlanta rapper CHIKA expresses insecurity over a crush with lyrical vulnerability.
“Cry Cry Cry,” Coldplay
Everyday Life, the eighth and newest album from the Brit pop-rock superstar band, is an amalgamation of far-reaching influences: dreamy gospel choirs and symphonic compositions coexist with bluesy foot-stomping tracks and overtures to social justice. In one way, it’s a reset for the band headed by Chris Martin, who have long vacillated between stadium-sized anthems and intimate ballads. In another, it’s an expression of their willingness to evolve and to ignore the game of making hits, instead looking across the globe for musical ideas and subject matter. “Cry Cry Cry,” on the double album’s second half, is one of its prettiest and simplest tracks; clocking in at under three minutes, it’s a quick and sweet acoustic piano tune that feels like a reflection of the singsong delicacy of The Chordettes’ 1954 hit “Mr. Sandman” and the contrasting vocals of collaborator Jacob Collier. Its lyrics flick at classics of world literature before settling into a comfortable chorus about companionship.
“Love You For a Long Time,” Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers came up quickly with the viral hit “Alaska” and well-received debut album Heard It In a Past Life, mixing her warm, folksy sound with fresh pop concepts. Since then, she’s been busy touring and adjusting to life in the spotlight. And now she’s back with “Love You For a Long Time,” which suggests a more country side of the versatile artist. Rootsy and tender, Rogers’ new track includes a few sweetly poetic lines about “diamond eyes” and how “devotion is a river.” Ultimately, it’s an easy-listening love ditty that feels like it might share some DNA with Sheryl Crow, and it should satisfy her fans while she keeps building toward the next project.
“Before You Go,” Lewis Capaldi
Scottish power crooner Lewis Capaldi‘s “Someone You Loved” has been a slow-growing massive hit for months, finally reaching the top of the charts in October after its March release. Now he’s released “Before You Go,” an extra track appended to the deluxe edition of his album. In true Capaldi form, it’s an emotional anthem that’s rich with his raspy intensity over a lovely, primarily acoustic melody. “Was there something I could’ve said to make your heart beat better? If only I’d have known you had a storm to weather,” he sings — and although it can be read as a heartbreak song, he’s said it’s actually about dealing with pain in the aftermath of a friend’s suicide. It’s a dark subject, but Capaldi’s attention to it shines some light.
“Tequila,” Juanes feat. Christian Nodal
Colombia’s Juanes has been around for a minute; his debut album Fijate Bien, released in 2000, is a Latin classic. “Tequila,” off his eighth album Más Futuro Que Pasado, draws on the original appeal of his laid-back rock style while pulling in new collaborators for a fresh spin. Many of his contemporaries have been leaning into reggaeton and dembow, but Juanes is happy exploring poppier and folksier genres; here we get a lightly modernized take on cumbia, with the addition of Mexican artist Christian Nodal. But while the song may sound upbeat, there’s sadness hidden between its guitar strums: “There’s no tequila that can make me forget you,” he sings, roughly translated into English; “every sip reminds me of you.”
“Can’t Explain It,” CHIKA feat. Charlie Wilson
CHIKA is a rapper on the rise, and “Can’t Explain It,” with its woozy intro chords and retro-funk bounce, all overlaid with CHIKA’s rapid-fire verses and attitude, is more than another standard-fare rap song. It turns out this is actually an early-in-the-game crush song: “I’ve been cravin’ a sober connection / Confession, I knew that she’d prolly be here,” CHIKA admits about the object of her attention. “I’ve been lookin’ for gumption and tryna be brave / But when I’m around you I just cannot behave.” There’s a true sweetness to hearing that kind of insecurity expressed in a rap, with an R&B chorus boosted by Charlie Wilson’s rich vocals.