After Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First” lived up to its title and helped the pop singer-songwriter break through on the Hot 100, she’s back with “R U OK,” which wields a ukulele lick and pulls away from the tempo on its hook. McRae plans to figure into the sound of mainstream pop in 2021, and “R U OK” continues her momentum.
Madison Beer, “Boys--t”
Madison Beer’s “Boys--t” begins with a bang, foreshadowing the dialed-up production that the song will eventually climb into, but then zags into a metallic electro-pop beat, Beer’s gaze remaining steady. If nothing else, “I don’t speak boys--t” makes a late case for one of the best pop chorus openings of 2020.
Cherry Glazerr, “Rabbit Hole”
Cherry Glazerr’s Clementine Creevy was listening to a lot of Caribou, DJ Koze and Kaytranada when helping to construct “Rabbit Hole,” the indie rock project’s first release since 2019. Wherever the chewy synths and drum fills originated from, they’re going to sound pristine when played to packed crowds once Cherry Glazerr can tour again.
Victoria Justice, “Treat Myself”
“I don’t need nobody else / Learning this s--t for myself / lighten up and smell all of the roses,” Victoria Justice sings on the lovely “Treat Myself,” her first new track in seven years. The song is both a document of self-discovery for the former Nickelodeon star, and, with its unfussy production, a good reminder of her vocal skill.
In a world where guitar-inflected hip-hop is increasingly residing on alt-rock radio, Aries’ “Conversations” could follow the path of Post Malone’s “Circles” as a crossover hit, with its sun-kissed hook following a blueprint for repeat listens and sustained success.
Izza, “Made Up My Mind”
Making up your mind is hard to do, but U.K. singer Izza is trying her best. Shot at the Mandrake Hotel in London, the neon-tinted video for “Made Up My Mind” is as appealing as the song itself, on which Izza impresses with crystalline vocals over acoustic guitar. "Sitting in your own thoughts and really listening to how you feel isn’t something we are very used to as a society,” she explains. “Maybe we struggle to make up our minds because we are so used to switching off, instead of listening to our gut instinct.”
Deryk, “Brains (Home Demo)”
“Could I borrow your brains?” rising New Zealand singer Deryk (born Madeline Bradley) queries on “Brains,” which is not, in fact, about a zombie invasion, but a plea to hear another's thoughts unedited in order to understand them better. With humming vocals that echo Billie Eilish’s early work, Bradley cites women like PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple and Kate Bush as influences.
Stephanie Poetri, “Selfish”
Indonesian-American singer Stephanie Poetri has unleashed “Selfish,” an irresistible tune that could be the younger sister of “Mood” by 24kGoldn and Iann Dior. “I don't wanna be selfish, yeah/ But I am when it comes to you,” Poetri admits over bubbling production. “Selfish” is the first taste of her debut EP AM : PM, which is due in 2021.
Amason, "Santa's Comin to Free Them"
Swedish group Amason’s contribution to the Christmas canon is a beautiful, haunting tune about the children “with war in their minds” who don’t necessarily get to enjoy the holidays. “And the Christmas lights/Keeps me up all night/Thinking about the kids who can’t see them,” vocalist Amanda Bergman sings. The group will also host a a livestreamed concert on Christmas Eve.
Georgia, “Running Up That Hill”
Give us more covers of “Running Up That Hill,” always. Last year brought us Meg Myers' epic cover of Kate Bush's 1985 hit, and now U.K. quintuple threat Georgia has offered an equally worthy take. Georgia’s is a nearly note-for-note cover of the original (not a bad thing!), with the addition of some synth-pop flourishes that might just tear you asunder.
Women in Music 2020: The Full Recap | Billboard News