This week’s new tracks: Joan, Self Esteem, the Weeknd, Ariana Grande

·2 min read

Joan

So Good

In an ideal world this early-00s pop stunner would have been JC Chasez’s post-‘NSync, solo career-establishing debut single. What elevates it above pure pastiche, however, is the fact that while its musical casing is smooth like airtight plastic, underneath radiates a deep, unadulterated joy. I dare you not to break out into a boyband-sized smile when that highly caffeinated chorus choreographs into view.

Self Esteem

I Do This All the Time

Rebecca Lucy Taylor joins the pantheon of spoken-word pop greats, AKA Kerry Katona and Nicole Appleton, with this slam poetry-adjacent epic in which relationships are laid bare, old behaviours are critiqued and gold-plated advice is dished out (“Don’t send those long-paragraph texts”). If that all sounds a bit depressing, the chorus is like inhaling fresh air after being on a farty tube carriage.

The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

Save Your Tears

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One of 2020’s best singles gets its streaming MOT, acquiring a new verse from golden-larynxed, ponytail obsessive Ariana Grande. As well as peppering the song with her trademark dolphin sounds, Grande also indulges in freeform enunciation experimentation, making “Pisces moon” sound like “greasy spoon”. Perfection.

LSDXOXO

The Devil

You know who’s getting a lot of action at the moment? Lucifer. After a lapdance from Lil Nas X last month, he’s now shacked up with the Berlin-based polymath LSDXOXO, who claims here to have sold him both his soul and his body. It’s appropriately horny, a sloppy, rave-tinged ode to new lust, but we wouldn’t want to be there when mundanity kicks in and your one joy is bin day.

Push Baby

Cry / Talk About It

In 2014, Rixton, AKA four sentient Burton mannequins, landed a UK No 1 with Me and My Broken Heart. Seven years later and two of their members have formed a hyperpop (ie they’ve heard of Charli XCX) splinter group and the results are … not great. It’s the abrasive, listened-to-Yeezy-once Cry half that’s truly appalling, joyless studio “trickery” masking the hole where the song should be.

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