YDE (Breanna Yde) recruited Justin Tranter and Mattman & Robin to co-write “BlindLife,” which she calls her end-of-the-world anthem. The 17-year-old oozes confidence beyond her years as she offers "a song to sing, when everything is way worse than it seems." Timely, and a total groove.
Why Don’t We, “Lotus Inn”
Why Don't We's latest might just inspire you to get off the couch and onto the closest makeshift dance floor. The guys showcase a new maturity on "Lotus Inn," where they sing about a romantic night (at a fictional hotel) that they never want to end.
Saleka, "Mr. Incredible"
Saleka, the daughter of director M. Night Shyamalan, proves that talent runs in the family with "Mr. Incredible," a silky track that details a dark love story. (The striking visual was also directed by Saleka’s sister, Ishana.) The soulful chorus neatly subverts the Disney/Pixar character’s tagline, and positions Saleka as an R&B talent to watch in 2021.
Sir Sly, “Little Deaths”
On “Little Deaths,” alternative rockers Sir Sly urge us to let go of the ways in which we tell ourselves negative stories. Atop sweetly strummed acoustic guitar, frontman Landon Jacobs admits, “I don't know how to be alone/ Shallow breaths as panic grows.”
Mabel, Red Flag
Google Nest Audio has teamed up with Benee, Ella Mai, Tove Lo and more for a series of Spotify Singles-type takes on new and existing tracks, which each artist recorded at home. You can say “Hey Google, play Nest Audio Sessions on YouTube Music,” to hear the full compilation, and listen to a standout from Mabel above.
Phoebe AXA, “Hurts a Little Less”
East London singer-songwriter Phoebe AXA follows singles “Wisdom Teeth (Pressure)” and “Things” with “Hurts a Little Less,” a careful piano ballad which features her most emotionally affecting chorus to date and some beautifully evocative lyrics (“I would lose it all, like pointless change and color fades, if you wanted to call”).
Spill Tab, “Name”
A lot of French-Korean artist Spill Tab’s songs clock in at under two minutes, and “Name,” the final track on her new Oatmilk EP, is the best of the bunch, packing multiple production surprises and a hook that spins upward into 109 seconds. Even if the songs stay short, let’s hope we get a longer project in 2021.
Speaking of pop-adjacent gems that close out newly released projects, Jordana’s Something To Say To You album closes out with a quiet, exquisitely-rendered song about savoring small acts of kindness. “Reason” stutters at the start, quickly settles in, and opens up further when the string section arrives.
Grandson, “In Over My Head”
Grandson’s debut album, Death of an Optimist, features production from Travis Barker and Mike Shinoda, which is part of the reason why a song like “In Over My Head” sounds so clearly articulated. Yet its propulsive rush, a nod toward the razor-sharp riffs of mid-‘00s angular rock, can be chalked up to the microphone charisma of the Canadian-Artist alt-rock artist.
Jany Green, “Move”
“It's an amazing place, but it's hard,” Jany Green says about growing up in Alaska in a press release, “It's dark, it's cold, and it can feel really isolating.” New single “Move” is about as far away from that description as possible, a warm party with canned horns and a spirited vocal take that pivots between singing and rapping quite smoothly.