On this week’s Must-Hear Music podcast, the Billboard staff tackles the week’s biggest (and most divisive) single: Taylor Swift‘s full-on-pop transformation “Shake It Off.” The only thing we agree on is that it’s definitely still stuck in our heads.
Aside from talking about new offerings from ubiquitous pop stars like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, we also chat about under-the-radar gems from rising pop songstress Ryn Weaver and Americana singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.
You can listen to the full Must-Hear Music podcast featuring Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch and Erin Strecker below.
To listen to each song — and get a taste of what we’re saying about it — scroll on!
Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”
Jason: This is a great pop song. There are so many fun colorful details in the production… Not all experiments can be successful, but I appreciate that she’s growing and trying something new.
Erin: I’m excited to hear a pop album from her, but it sounds like she’s abandoning the thing that makes her unique.
Joe: There’s nothing less appealing and relatable than a pop star talking about brushing off the haters. Taylor Swift, you are incredibly rich, beautiful and successful — having an entire song about brushing critics aside seems beside the point.
Ryn Weaver – “OctaHate”
Jason: Ryn Weaver is a pleasant surprise in the sense that no one really knows who this girl is yet. She has famous connections — Cashmere Cat and Charli XCX worked on her EP — but the songs are what work. And ‘OctaHate’ gets better with every listen.
Joe: I feel like this is one great commercial placement away from being a hit.
Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”
Erin: It’s sweet to see how much Tony Bennett is enamored of Gaga. This song made me want to have a dinner party with jazz, which is probably the idea.
Gillian Welch, Nancy Blake & David Rawlings – “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow (Reprise)”
Joe: Gillian Welch is one of the best Americana artists out there, and here she’s covering a song Johnny Cash did in 1964. You’re not going to be immediately knocked out, but it’s a gorgeous song and worth your time.