With new music dropping faster than ever, Amherst Wire’s Entertainment staff gives you their picks for the best tracks of the week. Check out the first installment of our weekly playlist series below:
Trevor Wilson, editor
FKA twigs (ft. Future) – “holy terrain”
UK-born singer and songwriter FKA twigs is back like she never even left. Since the release of her critically-acclaimed debut album, “LP1,” the budding star released another EP and a few singles before slipping into a spell of health complications. Now, with her highly-anticipated “Magdalene” in the works, she released her latest single, “holy terrain,” with the help of Atlanta’s own Future.
On “holy terrain,” the track opens up with soft, bouncy drums layered over an ambient vocal sample. Once FKA twigs introduces her eerie, siren-like vocals, the instrumental opens up with gloomy, powerful pads and a subtle, yet driving bassline. FKA twigs searches for a new man on “holy terrain” and she expresses her yearning for a man with strength, confidence and boundless love. Both Future and FKA twigs share the hook and sing, “For a man who can follow his heart / Not get bound by his boys and his chains / For a man who can follow his heart / And stand up in my holy terrain.” With a strong feature from Future, FKA twigs creates a powerful song to further increase the hype for her next project.
Julia Donohue, assistant editor
Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey – “Don’t Call Me Angel”
Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey combine to effectively make a song. It is most certainly a song in which Grande repeatedly sings “Don’t Call Me Angel,” the titular theme. All three artists have been dominant in popular music, whether it be personally or professionally. For fans of Del Rey, her recent album “Norman F****** Rockwell” marked critical acclaim. Unfortunately, this song doesn’t do anything for the artists besides net over 40 million views on YouTube.
Each of these artists have a distinctive style that creates their similarly distinctive market; Ariana is bubble gum pop with depressing lyrics and a high range, Miley has personality and discernible talent and Lana Del Rey uses simple chords and a sultry voice to engage her listeners. However, these three styles do not meld together. They are distinctive individuals and should stay in their own areas until a peaceful collaboration can be made.
Kacey Connolly, podcast editor
Kelsea Ballerini – “homecoming queen?”
Kelsea Ballerini’s newest single “homecoming queen?” strikes serious emotional cords for all the teenage, college and adult women listening. Through a slow country ballad, Ballerini tackles the stigmas and hardships placed on young females and their expectations to remain collected and put together at all times. With lyrics like, “Hey homecoming queen / why do you lie? / When somebody’s mean where do you hide?” and “Look damn good in the dress, zipping up the mess / Dancing with your best foot forward / Did you want the crown? / Or does it weigh you down?” the country popstar hits home for many girls who have felt pressured by those around them to remain perfect even when they may be struggling.
Ballerini offers advice to the women she sings to through her powerful chorus, “But what if I told you the world wouldn’t end / If you started showing what’s under your skin / What if you let them all in on the lie / Even the homecoming queen cries.” The message the singer is relaying to her audience is what separates this single from her previous ones; rather than another upbeat love song, Ballerini focuses her attention on guiding young women away from stereotypes, advising them to open up and show their truth to the world.
Astghik Dion, assistant photo editor
EARTHGANG (ft. Kehlani) – “Trippin”
“I don’t need no part-time love,” Johnny Venus opens the 11th track of EARTHGANG’s new album, “Mirrorland” by caressing the subject of his affection’s ears with promises both of them know can’t be kept. Loving in the limelight with loyalty attached proves near impossible for many celebrities, and this is a predicament Doctur Dot and Johnny Venus address on their new song with Kehlani released on Sept. 6.
One of the less cartoonish songs on the album, EARTHGANG showcase their chameleon-like abilities to flip genres every other song and soak it in their creativity. Saturated in R&B soul, it is more of a calm track compared to the rest of the tracklist – which features a multitude of alien-like screams, horns mirroring the vigor of a Mardi Gras parade and intoxicating basslines. Kehlani lends her voice for verse three, dripping with the sweetness of honey she playfully tempts her lover to be with her, as difficult as it may be at times. “I’m possessive, I’m a wreck / Stress you out with the extras / But I’m the best,” she acknowledges how difficult it is to be with her due to her fame, yet she knows her partner can’t find a better love.
Chloe Lindahl, writer
King Princess – “Ain’t together”
King Princess is back with her new song “Ain’t together” this week and once again delivers us the heartbreak songs we never knew we needed. King Princess rose to fame when she dropped her song “1950” in February 2018 which gained enormous attention once Harry Styles tweeted out lyrics from the song.
“Ain’t together” deals with the concept a lot of couples in this age are dealing with, “We say I love you but we ain’t together.” There are two people who deeply care and love one another but the concept of labels have them nervous. Although in every sense they should be dating, commitment phobia strikes again. The bluesy tracks and soft guitar riffs give you the feeling of slow dancing in a high school gym again, swaying back and forth with your unlabeled significant other. It has a nostalgic feeling to it and her music video of her playing both parts the cheerleader and the football player only heighten this feeling.
Nasya Blackshear, contributor
Charlie Puth – “Mother”
Charlie Puth lets the hits keep on coming with his second new single this month, “Mother.” Puth delivers his second song displaying his new sound and look, with plans to release the third song in the coming weeks. Puth is encouraging fans to vote for which of the two songs will be featured on his up-and-coming album.
“Mother” begins with some bass synth and Charlie’s beautiful falsetto delivery. He paints a picture of what mothers say when their daughters bring him home. Even Charlie can admit that it’s an act with the line “The moment she walks out that door, I’m not pretending anymore.” This is where the beat begins to pick up giving us a very nice end of summer vibe, using the underlying beat of “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. Charlie really makes your heart flutter when he says “If your mother knew all of the things that we do.”
Email Trevor at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @TrevorWilsonOG.
Email Julia at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @toomanyjulias.
Email Kacey at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @kaceyconnolly1.
Email Astghik at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @as_tghik.
Email Chloe at [email protected]
Email Nasya at [email protected]