This week is jam-packed. Lizzo dropped “Rumors,” her long-awaited collaboration with Cardi B, with visuals that are everything we imagined they would be. Meanwhile, Thai musician Ten wowed us with “Paint Me Naked,” NIKI beautifully captured summer nostalgia in “Every Summertime,” and Meet Me @ The Altar attempted to turn back the hands of time with “Now Or Never.”
Plus, hear new ones from PinkPantheress, who pushed the boundaries of a secret crush and turned it into a bop, and Saleka Shyamalan, who made us think with her recent social commentary piece. Ready your playlists, folks. Here are our picks for Best New Music Friday.
Lizzo ft. Cardi B, “Rumors”
Lizzo and Cardi B are confident, glowing goddesses in the visuals for the women’s empowerment song, “Rumors,” which takes aim at internet gossip and critics. “Spendin’ all your time tryna break a woman down / Realer sh*t is goin’ on, baby, take a look around / If you thought that I was ratchet with my ass hangin’ out /Just wait until the summer when they let me out the house, b*tch,” Lizzo boldly sings in the chorus. The highly-anticipated track dropped Thursday night and has already amassed over 1 million views on YouTube. We can certainly see why — it’s the kind of video you want to watch over and over again.
Ten, “Paint Me Naked”
For his first solo track since 2018, Ten speaks to the innocence, intensity and, perhaps, even the naivety of young love — but the song is really about showing a new, more honest side of yourself. “I’m your figure, you could paint me naked / Like a picture, I can see our love running wild,” sings Ten on the track’s catchy chorus. The visuals, which tell their own story through eye-catching choreography and artistic fashion, perfectly complement the mid-tempo track. While Ten clearly thrives in a group, it’s also exciting to see more solo music from him — and hopefully there will be more to come.
PinkPantheress, “Just For Me”
PinkPantheress pushes the boundaries of a secret crush in “Just For Me.” The opening verse of the Mura Masa-produced track kicks off on an eerie note as PinkPantheress sings of unrequited love and lists some of the lengths she’s gone to while obsessing over her crush – including locating the home of her object of affection and sleeping with their hair beneath her pillow. “‘Just For Me’ is a song based around unhealthy obsession and is almost a part two to ‘Pain,’” PinkPantheress explained in a press statement. And we’re definitely obsessed.
NIKI, “Every Summertime”
NIKI perfectly captures the essence of summer in under four minutes with her new release, “Every Summertime.” The smooth, laid-back, lighthearted track paints the portrait of a relationship as it matures over time and lovers transition from college into young adulthood. The visuals depict a father and son, played by actor and rapper Dumbfoundead and Minari star Alan Kim, as they drive around while listening to a cassette tape. Though the music video appears totally unrelated to the content of the song at first glance, it brilliantly evokes the same sweet, carefree emotions and nostalgia that the song does.
Saleka, “How Many”
Talent most certainly runs in the Shyamalan family. Inspired by last year’s uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd, Saleka Shyamalan, daughter of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, penned “How Many.” The moving track and haunting visuals raise a series of questions aimed at the justice system. “I wanted this song to be a sort of protest song but it was written during moments of darkness and despair and so what came out was more an expression of my disbelief at the system, the absence of justice and accountability, and mostly the unfathomable lack of value and care for human life,” Saleka explained in a press statement. “I was overwhelmed with questions.”
VanJess ft. Lucky Daye, “Slow Down”
VanJess put a new spin on their popular track, “Slow Down” courtesy of Lucky Daye. The remix is similar to the track fans know and love, but with an added opening verse from Lucky. In a February interview, Jess explained to Uproxx that the song was written to counter the romanticism of toxic, unstable love that is often promoted by popular culture. “The toxic love thing we hear about all the time and it seems trendy and that’s kind of what we’re thinking about, let’s put out a song about positive love, you know, what love is supposed to be? Can we get back to that?” Jess said.
Meet Me @ The Altar, “Now Or Never”
Timed to the release of their debut EP, Model Citizen, Meet Me @ The Altar’s latest single, “Now Or Never” seeks to revisit the good ole’ carefree days of a relationship, which seems to be at a painful crossroad. “‘Model Citizen’ is about acknowledging that you aren’t where you would like to be in life,” the pop-punk band shared of the new album, which dropped today, in a press statement. “You’re experiencing those lows and highs that put everything into perspective and show you the steps you need to take. The idea of ‘Model Citizen’ isn’t reality, because no one can be perfect. However, you can recognize the need to be better.”
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