Following some downtime, the former best new artist Grammy nominee has returned with a single that stretches out, bubbles up and searches for resolution in the opening verse, then summarily sticks the landing on the lush chorus. Smith’s vocal skill is already well-documented, but after a respite, “Addicted” is a wonderful reminder of what she can do.
Raissa, “Cold Feet”
The highlight of Raissa’s debut EP Herogirl, “Cold Feet” finds the Spanish-born singer-songwriter impressively matching an overpowering trap beat and lamenting her “inherent cold feet.” Even if you don’t catch the subtle hints of personality in the lyrics, “Cold Feet” is a jam that will have your shoulders popping in various directions.
Beka, “My One”
“Feels like the strangest thing, you’re changing everything / Colors I’ve never seen...,” Beka muses about the one she loves on the pre-chorus, before declaring, “I’m lost for words, so I’m just gonna sing!” “My One” revels in its own giddiness, as the singer-songwriter’s charisma, plus a drum machine, is really all that’s needed to convey such blooming emotion.
Bülow, “First Place”
Bülow has been throwing darts for years, each one of her singles improving the quality of your under-the-radar pop playlists; now, she’s got her strongest track yet in “First Place,” her sardonic tone delivering an icy kiss-off worth humming along with. Uncluttered in its alt-rock arrangement and quickly drawn at two-and-a-half minutes, “First Place” deserves some radio consideration ASAP.
Rochelle Jordan, “Next 2 You”
Since first breaking through a decade ago, Rochelle Jordan has collaborated with artists like Childish Gambino and Illangelo, but hasn’t released a proper album since 2014. That will change next month with new LP Play With The Changes, and if “Next 2 You” is any indication, her forward-thinking, intricate R&B-pop has only gotten sharper during her time out of the spotlight.
Meg Myers, “The Underground”
It’s lovely to see the highlight from Myers’ double EP (Thank U 4 Taking Me 2 The Disco and I'd Like 2 Go Home Now) getting the attention it deserves. Watch the fantastical new animated video for “The Underground,” which is as catchy as it is heavy in its subject matter, as Myers recounts an “possessive abusive relationship.”
Against The Current, "Weapon"
What’s this? A list featuring two (2) women in rock? F--k yes. Let ATC's Chrissy Costanza transport you back to your Avril Lavigne and Evanescence-fueled heyday, as she wails over quick-paced guitars and polished (but not too-polished) production.
Ya Tseen, Portugal. The Man, "Knives"
It’s always welcome to see John Gourley pop up on a track, as the Portugal. The Man frontman does here on a fellow Alaskan’s strong sophomore single. Ya Tseen -- who was born Nicholas Galanin in Sitka, and is Tlingit and Unangax̂ -- has followed up "Close the Distance” with the delightful, roaming "Knives,” which will appear on Ya Tseen’s upcoming album Indian Yard, and is out alongside a stop-motion animation video.
Allison Ponthier, "Cowboy"
Texas-by-way-of-Brooklyn artist Allison Ponthier is off to a strong start: her debut single with Interscope Records, "Cowboy," immediately captures and captivates as both a personal and professional coming-out story. “Wasn't ready, I wasn't ready/ I had a foot in my mouth, oh/ Saw the cutters through barbed wire/ I didn't know I could come out,” she admits.
Mike Shinoda, Iann Dior, Upsahl, "Happy Endings"
Okay, who had a collaboration between a Linkin Park star + a Hot 100 No. 1 hitmaker + a Dua Lipa "Good in Bed" co-writer on their 2021 bingo card? We predict that the feel-good "Happy Endings" will be in rotation all summer long.
Billboard Explains: How Grammy Nominees and Winners Are Chosen