Sam Smith Is ‘Leaning On’ Sexuality to ‘Make Trash Music’

Azealia Banks has lashed out at Sam Smith and social media giants, Instagram and Twitter in a series of posts.

The musician, 31, accused Smith of leaning into their sexuality in order to make music and described them as “cringeworthy.”

Banks shared a screenshot of Smith’s recent music video for the song “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” which generated a lot of discussion about LGBTQ music and performers.

Smith, who identifies as gay and non-binary, is dressed in camp outfits throughout the video.

[LEFT] Sam Smith poses backstage at the hit musical “Some Like it Hot” on Broadway at The Shubert Theater on February 17, 2023 in New York City. [RIGHT] Azealia Banks performs during the Noise Pop Music & Arts festival at The Warfield on February 27, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Banks slammed Smith for leaning on they sexuality.
Bruce Glikas/Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images North America

During the video, Smith is surrounded by many gender-diverse performers in historically inspired, but risqué, outfits. Some complained about the sexual nature of the video, while others fat-shamed Smith for wearing figure-hugging outfits.

But Banks has some other opinions on Smith’s new music and posted them to her Instagram stories.

“What people need to understand … Especially these gay artists that think these forced displays of sexuality are revolutionary…. is that this type of s*** is so f***** post- Drag Race and cringeworthy,” she began, referring to the popular drag reality series, RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“No one makes ‘gay pizza’—people from all walks of life enjoy pizza. We don’t need so many stacked vocals on this hook. Humans can tell what’s dope and what’s trash and this is absolute garbage.”

Banks added: “What happened to the days when gay male artists were able to express themselves in unique and groundbreaking ways that were truly FABULOUS? What bag of desperate publishing company songwriters cattle call did this song come from?

“What is this bootleg Pussycat doll aesthetic? You all need to study Freddie Mercury, Boy George, Haddaway, Keven Aviance, Jake Shears, Luther Van Ross and the like.”

Banks added: “On another story, all and all we do not give a f*** if you are gay/bi/purple or green. We like good music. Point blank.”

She also went on to praise Scissor Sisters front man Jake Shears and described the group’s music as “legend.” In another story she praised Brandon Urie and told fans, “we are also going to stop sleeping on Adam Lambert.”

“You cannot lean on your sexuality as a crutch to make trash music. Honestly, Jake Shears is HIGHKEY THE MOTHER,” Banks wrote.

“The white gays just don’t know what to do with themselves anymore.”

Newsweek reached out to Smith and Banks’ representatives for comment.

Prior to her comments about Smith, the rapper had posted to her main Instagram page saying “everyone can suck it” in the captions.

She posted a lengthy note beside it saying how she wanted to sue Instagram and Twitter. Banks has had plenty of run ins with the social media platforms and has been suspended several times from both Twitter and Instagram.

“I feel like I should be able to retroactively sue Twitter and Instagram for canceling my accounts due to hate speech,” she started.

“I’m sorry [but] ‘hate speech’ is unquantifiable in a society where there is a multi-billion dollar industry surrounding the use of the N-word.”

She added: “Using the excuse that I’m allowed to say it because I’m of African descent is super duper racist, and I am having trouble understanding how a generation of white people so recently removed from a class of ancestors that would have had me hung from a tree for drinking out of the wrong water fountain feel as though they have any social, moral or legislative authority to determine what is and isn’t hate speech.”

The scond slide in the post questioned how people working at “tech platforms” allow “rampant use of the N-word” and graphic videos depicting violence against Black people “shared under the guise of it being ‘news’ then turn around and tell us that black_lives_matter?”

“How do these record industry executives justify not being inherently racist while they are happy to profit from the sales and exploitation of music/cinema and other conent that specifically perpetuate the degradation and abuse of African-descendant livelihood’s that they subsequently claim to be in protest of?” Banks contined.

She then turned her attention to the LGBTQ community, wondering how it has “received such protection from “digital ‘hate speech’,” compared to Black people who she said are “physically and psychologically terrorized on these platforms?”

“Wigh all due respect, I don’t want to hear another word out of any industry executives mouth about ‘hate speech’,” Banks wrote.

“I need all of my n***** money back before anyone has the right to condemn, humiliate or punish me for use of any word.”

Last year she thanked Elon Musk for purchasing Twitter and hoped she could return to the platform. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October, 2022.

“The amount of money I lost by being banned from twitter and not having access to the fans/consumer base I worked SO HARD TO BUILD SERIOUSLY MADE EVERYTHING SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT,” Banks wrote on Instagram in April last year, when Musk first announced his intentions to buy Twitter.

She then went on to slam Twitter’s founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey: “He knew it would effect [sic] my value as an artist because if I don’t have access to these channels to promote new music/new merch/concerts etc … He could effectively stop my bag which is miniscule as f*** compared to his.”

In 2016, she was suspended from Twitter for homophobic and racist slurs she wrote about former One Direction singer, Zayn Malik. She had lashed out at him because she believed he had copies one of her music videos for his song, “Like I Would.”

Then using the Twitter handle, @cheapyxo, Banks’ account was again deactivated after she tweeted her disdain for RuPaul’s Drag Race and its host, RuPaul Charles.

Fast forward to 2020 and Banks returned to Twitter under the account, @seaqueen2001, but was later shut down after posting a series of seemingly transphobic tweets.

Music Video Breakdown: ‘Body Better’ Is Y2K Paradise | Arts

image id=1361321 align=center size=large caption=true

When advertising the music video for her new single, “Body Better,” Maisie Peters promised on an Instagram post: “im politely and properly warning u now it is my best ever.” Following the success of her debut album “You Signed Up For This,”this claim was certainly a lot to live up to. What resulted is a 2000s-inspired music video of a graveyard picnic festooned with pastel colors. While “Body Better”’s music video is not quite subversive, it is a worthy and enjoyable accompaniment to an upbeat tune that belies its emotional lyrics.

Tonally, “Body Better” is a departure from Peters’s first album, which featured softer pop sounds, and shared more similarities to the singles that she released in 2022. “Body Better,” with its catchy upbeat tune, finds its lineage in the pop-punk feel of “Not Another Rockstar” and the song’s teenage angst is mirrored in “Blonde.”

Admittedly, “Body Better” lacks the lyricism present in some of Peters’s finest work, like the double entendres in “Psycho” or the playful storytelling in “I’m Trying (Not Friends).” The strong beat accompanying the song gives it the feeling of a pop punk tune, a symptom of the current resurgence in 2000s pop punk music reminiscent of Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” or Avril Lavigne’s “Love Sux.” Yet the single is undeniably catchy, and the buoyant rhythm presents a jarring juxtaposition to the vulnerability concealed beneath the defiant lyrics that Peters has penned.

Though the song would not sound out of place on Spotify’s “Happy Hits!” playlist, the lyrics of “Body Better” are achingly honest. Peters sings about watching her ex get together with another girl and the insecurities that this unfurls , asking, “Now I’m watching you moving on in the beat of drum / If I never gave you any reason to run / Then I can’t help thinking that she’s got a better body / Has she got a body better than mine?” These are perhaps not the most earth-shattering lyrics, but Peters is unguarded about her own self-doubt, creating a surprisingly sweet and tender song that echoes the honest vulnerability which made her first album so compelling.

For anyone hoping for a creepy graveyard setting, prepare to be disappointed: The music video, directed by Mia Barnes, crackles with Y2K energy and a candy pastel theme. The closest Peters comes to blood is smearing red colored cake on her white dress.

Underneath the soothing color scheme, however, there is an undercurrent of unhinged behavior. Amidst this pastel paradise, the video features Peters having a picnic with an ensemble of other girls, who, as the chorus builds, partake gleefully in the destruction of crochet dolls, stabbing and tearing them apart.

“Loving you was easy / That’s why it hurts now / The worst way to love somebody’s to watch them love somebody else and it work out,” Peters sings as they robotically stab crochet dolls while staring emotionlessly into the camera. In another scene, Peters stares directly again into the camera and sings through clenched teeth, “You took what you took, and left what you left / and I don’t know how I still can’t make it make any sense.” Her desperation to find closure following heartbreak is palpable through the screen and painfully relatable to anyone who has shared her experience.

Director Mia Barnes provides the music video with a strong sense of its aesthetic direction. The entire video has a shimmery, ethereal filter around it, bringing to mind “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde” — in other words, evoking exactly the mood that it set out to achieve. In a particularly powerful scene that closes out the music video, Peters, dressed in white, looks at a still, doll-like version of herself standing in the cemetery (think the twins from “The Shining”), and in reaching out to embrace her, simultaneously consoles and accepts herself despite the insecurities she feels.

The visuals certainly parallel the song’s message. Much like how Peters has disguised her heartwrenching lyrics with a cheery pop tune, the cottagecore aesthetic lightens and romanticizes the otherwise eerie graveyard.

Ultimately, “Body Better” is the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day song for anyone who felt particularly single last Tuesday, and a strong opening to Peters’s sophomore album, “The Good Witch,” which is set to be released on June 16.

Moroccan Singer Saad Lamjarred’s Rape Trial Starts in Paris – Billboard

The trial of Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred, who is accused of aggravated rape and assault, started in Paris on Monday (Feb. 20).

The 37-year-old Lamjarred, who is famous on the Arab pop music scene, allegedly raped a French woman at a luxury hotel on the Champs-Elysees in October 2016 while he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.

He has denied the allegations. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. A verdict is expected on Friday.



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The woman, who was 20 years old at the time, said that she met Lamjarred at a Paris nightclub and accompanied him to his hotel, according to the document summarizing the conclusions of the investigation that was read out by the presiding magistrate at the court.

She said that he struck her several times as she was trying to push him back before he raped her, the document said. She managed to leave the room, and hotel staff reported seeing her crying and in distress.

The woman’s lawyer Jean-Marc Descoubes, told reporters Monday that the alleged victim remains strong, despite the trauma she sustained. “It was extremely violent… It was very traumatic for her. She’s still being treated, but she remains strong, decent and courageous,” said Descoubes.

On Monday, Lamjarred told the court that he rejects the allegations of rape and assault. He acknowledged he had “occasionally” used alcohol and drugs at the time, but has since stopped.

The court said Lamjarred respected the conditions of the judicial supervision he has been under since 2017. Lamjarred is not permitted to perform in France, but has been allowed to leave the country for shows abroad.

Lamjarred is one of the Arab world’s most popular artists. His music video “Lm3allem” has more than 1 billion views on his YouTube channel, where he has more than 14 million subscribers.

King Mohammed VI awarded him Morocco’s highest national honor in 2015.

Lamjarred has also been charged with the aggravated rape of another woman in August 2018 at a nightclub in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. A trial date hasn’t been set for that case.

SB19 appears in docuseries ‘K-pop Generation’

‘Most of us have the same vision, we wanted to make a change in the industry,’ says Josh

MANILA, Philippines – P-pop powerhouse SB19 opened up about being influenced by the global K-pop phenomenon in their brief appearance in the K-pop Generation documentary series. 

The five-piece act was featured on the fourth episode titled “What The K?,” where they said that they would strive for P-pop to also reach such international acclaim.  

“SB stands for ‘Sound Break’, meaning breaking into the music scene here in the Philippines. And also to promote Filipino music and Filipino culture [on] the world stage,” member Stell said. 

Leader Pablo shared how their group was formed, revealing that the members chose to train under ShowBT Philippines, the local subsidiary of ShowBT Group, because it was a Korean company. 

“We know that Korean entertainment is very flourished. It’s very successful and they have their own system to train their talents,” he added, recalling how the group garnered attention when their single “Go Up” went viral in 2019.

“That’s the time when people started recognizing us. That’s also the time we named our fandom A’TIN. So we’re really, really thankful,” he said. 

Josh then emphasized that by drawing inspiration from the Korean training system and entertainment industry, they, as SB19, have developed a vision to “make a change” in the local industry. 

“That’s what we’re doing right now,” he said. “We’re very lucky and fortunate we were able to do it, slowly but surely.” 

K-pop Generation explores the impact of K-pop in the worldwide music industry, featuring interviews with artists, producers, critics, and fans about what goes on behind the scenes of the global phenomenon. 

SB19 is the lone Filipino act that got featured in the documentary series. K-pop artists such as SHINEE’s Minho, EXO’s Suho, MAMAMOO’s Hwasa, NCT’s Doyoung, and groups Stray Kids, TXT, and IVE were earlier confirmed to have taken part in the show. 

SB19 wrapped up their first international tour Where You At (WYAT) in December 2022, which included stops in Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, and Singapore. The group has hinted that they’re gearing up for a new album, but details have yet to be released. –

max pretends And Milana Team Up For Chilling Pop Single, ‘HOME’

With an extensive background in musical theatre and knowledge of music for film, max pretends is breaking down barriers in the world of pop music. He showcases his innovative perspective on the genre in his new single, “HOME”, featuring Milana. Speaking on the track, max says, “this song was written about meaningless times of sex & debauchery which we thought was all that mattered as kids.

Both possessing hypnotic voices, max and Milana’s lyrics are layered beautifully over each other in “HOME”. These vocals complement the ethereal soundscapes that intertwine pop and EDM. Throughout the anthem, there are a ton of mind-bending synths, heavenly sequences of acoustic guitar, and other surprises that radiate a cinematic feel to listeners. In its entirety, “HOME” is a dramatic auditory adventure that overflows with passion from the pair of artists.

After listening to “HOME”, it is fitting that NYC and LA-based max and Miami-native Milana are located in some of the top music-centric hotspots. While max has collabed with a number of professional European EDM producers, he has recently shifted to releasing his own pop music. max has much more in store for his listeners as he brings his artistic vision to life.

HomeMax PretendsMilana

‘We wanted to make a change in this industry’

SB19 members (from left) Justin, Stell, Pablo, Josh, Ken. Image: Twitter/@SB19Official

P-pop global sensation SB19 proved they’re a force to reckon with in the music scene, as Josh, Pablo, Stell, Ken, and Justin were featured in the fourth episode of the docuseries “K-pop Generation”.

The docuseries, which was produced by South Korean mass media conglomerate CJENM and streaming platform TVING, revolves around the impact of K-pop in the music scene, as well as global acts who are taking on its roots and making it their own. It also features several music critics who share their thoughts about the influence of the booming genre.

The five-member group was featured in the docuseries’ fourth episode called “What the K?”, where the members opened up about their goals in the music industry and how they rose into superstardom.

“SB stands for ‘Sound Break’, meaning breaking into the music scene in the Philippines. And of course, also to promote Filipino music and Filipino culture to the world stage,” said Stell, the group’s main vocalist and choreographer.

SB19 was formed by ShowBT Philippines, the local subsidiary of ShowBT Group in South Korea, where they trained for four years. The group’s leader Pablo also opened up about the Korean training system in the docuseries, and shared their rising popularity after a dance practice video of their single “Go Up” went viral in 2019.

“I think one of the factors that made us choose this company is because it’s a Korean company and we know that Korean entertainment is very flourished. It’s very successful, and they have their own system to train their talents and artists,” Pablo began. “So, after our first single after a year, we released our second single called ‘Go Up’ and it also didn’t make it to the crowd as well. But after we posted our dance practice video on YouTube, someone posted it on Twitter and it got viral.”

“That’s the time when people started recognizing us, that’s also the time we named our fandom A’TIN so we’re really, really thankful,” he added.

Lead rapper and vocalist Josh also noted that while they were inspired by the Korean training system, they wanted to make a name as Filipino artists in the music industry.

“Since we auditioned at the same company and most of us [have] the same vision, we wanted to make a change in this industry. That’s why we came up with the name ‘Sound Break’,” he said. “It means breaking into the music industry [in] the Philippines, and I think hopefully in the world as well, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re very lucky and fortunate that we were able to do it, slowly but surely.”

SB19 wrapped up their “Where You At (WYAT)” world tour in December 2022, which included stops at Cebu, Pampanga, and Davao in the Philippines, and international stops in Dubai, New York and Los Angeles in the U.S., and Singapore.

The group is set to release their upcoming album “Pagtatag” which revolves around “strengthening their foundation” as a group”, although they have yet to reveal its concept and date of release.

“The album is basically about strengthening the foundation [as a group] which came from the ideas of all the members. Definitely, different flavors and new experiences na pinagsama sa iisang album kaya mage-enjoy sila (which fans will enjoy),” Pablo said during their “WYAT Homecoming” press conference. EDV


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The Sampler: Grace Ives, Julmud, Oddisee

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Tony Stamp reviews albums from American indie pop musician Grace Ives, Palestinian producer Julmud, and hip-hop artist Oddisee.

Janky Star by Grace Ives

Photo: Supplied

If you’re like me, a certain type of music discovery holds a particular joy – finding something you have no reference point for, and realising that the people celebrating it were absolutely right. 

Janky Star, the second album by Grace Ives, came out in June of 2022, and Pitchfork reviewed it and interviewed her at the time. About a month ago they posted a social video of her, and tweeted that the album was one of the best pop records of last year, and noticing this special treatment, I pressed play.

Sometimes when I listen to pop it leaves me cold on first listen, then draws me back for a second, and then I’m hooked. That’s what happened here. Ives has a knack for minimal arrangement, and clever writing – the way she draws out the title of ‘Burn Bridges’ as she sings it, easily summarises a tricky social situation and changes up the kick drum to match the lyrics – these are things you start to notice on repeat listens.

Like all good pop, the songs feel like they’re leading you by the hand to a cathartic chorus, and that’s true here, although often, as on ‘Angel of Business’, they’ll simply serve up a new melody and tweak a few chords, rather than anything too explosive.

Checking the credits on Janky Star, it’s notable that Grace Ives wrote each song herself – I’ve become used to seeing a long list of composers when dealing with pop music, although she does live in Brooklyn, not LA, and has a distinctly indie bent. Regardless, these songs are pleasurable in the way their hooks feel inevitable, and never too sweet. 

On her wiki, Ives’s gear is simply listed as a Roland MC505, a kind of all-in-one drum machine and synth, but for Janky Star added guitar, piano, and a producer who’s worked with the likes of Charli XCX. Songs like ‘Loose’ benefit from a slightly grander canvas, moving from synth silliness into a breakbeat-assisted chorus.

It can be tricky talking about pop music, even the slightly spiky kind like this where the drums are louder and more distorted than usual. I keep coming back to the idea that these songs just sound exactly as they should, even though they could have turned out hundreds of different ways. They make me feel good and want to sing along, and that’s about the biggest compliment I can think of.

Tuqoos by Julmud

Photo: Supplied

Founded in London, the Boiler Room is an online broadcaster that films and streams dance parties onto the internet. They focus on the underground end of the spectrum and have proved massively successful. In 2021 when they began transmitting events from New Zealand it caused a flurry of excitement. 

A few years prior they hosted an event in Palestine, featuring a guy called Julmud on the decks, flanked by his MC Dakn. When Julmud grabbed the mic himself, he showed his ability to excite a crowd and proved his vocal ability was on par with his DJing. 

In 2022 he released his debut album Tuqoos, and while dancing and rapping are part of the equation, it’s exciting in the way it heads in every direction at once – alternating between incendiary and soothing.

‘Saree’ el thawaban’ features disembodied voices, marimba, and elements either performed or sampled. Although indebted to dub music and hip hop, and with an audible Middle Eastern lineage, it’s thrillingly new. Later on the record, ‘Kalma’’ steps further into what might have been labelled trip hop in the nineties, with sluggish guitar stabs and pitched-down vocals.

Julmud is based in the West Bank city Ramallah, part of a collective called Saleb Wahad, made up of MCs and producers, including his mentor Muqata’a, who’s been making instrumental hip hop for over ten years. The scene is focused on connecting with Palestinian musicians based in Israel, and celebrating their Arab identity through music. Simply by virtue of their location, events like the Boiler Room doubled as a kind of peaceful protest. 

Muqata’a was interviewed by The Guardian in 2018 and was specific about Palestinian hip-hop being inherently aggressive, a response to the sounds of checkpoints and military helicopters. Julmud’s music is more placid in some ways, but frequently indulges in distortion, and on tracks like ‘Harti’, ups the sense of confrontation when he switches from singing to rapping.   

As well as performing keys and percussion, Julmud often samples traditional Arabic music. Muqata’a refers to this as a way of preserving a culture that’s being muted, and the slinky string lines that weave through ‘Haras El Jabal’ seem to be a good example.

What’s exciting about a track like that is its lack of a traditional rhythm part, instead stacking disparate organic and electric elements over one another. Tuqoos is frequently spacious, sending various bleeps into the void in a way not dissimilar to dub producers in the 1970s and beyond. Elsewhere it draws on modern trap production, industrial noise, jazz, jungle and more, but it always feels like these genres have been taken apart and reassembled. 

This debut is just part of a burgeoning scene, but it’s emblematic of it: music made in the face of oppression, celebrating its Arabic roots while staying relentlessly creative.

To What End by Oddisee

Photo: Supplied

At the start of the 2000s, conscious rap was having a moment. Releases from groups like Jurassic Five, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and more aimed to educate and philosophize, tackling weighty topics while remaining generally amiable.

A producer and rapper called Oddisee started his career a few years later and is frequently tagged as ‘conscious’. His tenth album came out recently, and one of its first lines is “I don’t have enemies, just misunderstandings”, proceeding to run through sixteen tracks that are warm, and often nostalgic. 

Moving from Maryland to Washington to New York, Oddisee has been vocal about influences like De la Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, saying he could relate to them more because they didn’t rap about drugs or murder. Recently he stated he doesn’t consider himself a conscious rapper, but to the casual observer, he definitely fits the bill. Topics on recent albums include his status as an independent artist, starting a family and being an introvert. 

The framework of this album is in its title: To What End, as he grapples with the definition of success, and what it takes to achieve. In its hook one song asks “How far will you go?”, and on ‘Already Knew’, he reminisces about earlier days when he was “happy with a whole lot less”, then finds at least ten ways to rhyme with that.

There’s a newfound bluntness in moments like ‘People Watching’, where he raps about depression and introversion, and the way those things make him treat his fans, then in the chorus, he changes flow and apologises. 

The tracks are all self-produced, drawing on Washington’s Go Go music as an influence, and bolstered on some by his band Good Company. On ‘Ghetto to the Meadow’ he raps about success bringing its own series of complications, over a beat featuring live bass and guitar.

In a backstage interview from 2017, Oddisee spoke for the first time about why he stopped swearing on record: like many rappers, he said seeing an all-white crowd say the n-word along with him at shows was so unnerving he had to stop. He also had kids and realised parents might want to listen to rap with their children, and explained that not having to do radio edits meant less work. He also saw his sync deals start to soar: his music is frequently used in TV shows, films and games. 

It’s a typically multifaceted response from someone who’s open about introversion and using music as an outlet. The thesis behind To What End is similarly complex, but the repeat listens it’ll take to untangle definitely won’t be a chore.

Singer-Songwriter From Nashville, TN, Is Making Heads Turn With Her Music

  Kate gala is a singer-songwriter and producer from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. She writes and produces EDM numbers and does acoustic covers. Kate also runs an app called Oasis Sober Connections. She has more than 1,500 monthly listeners on the online music streaming platform – Spotify. 

“The true beauty of music is that it connects people.” – Kate Gala

  According to the Wiki, “A singer-songwriter is a musician who writes, composes, and performs their musical material, including lyrics and melodies. In the United States, the category is built on the folk-acoustic tradition, although this role has transmuted through different eras of popular music.”

  Kate’s music is an excellent example of how the concept of singer-songwriter has changed throughout the generations. Kate believes she resonates with artists like The Chainsmokers but also creates simpler-sounding songs. Her music covers multiple genres, from Pop and EDM to Indie music.

  Kate has had multiple songs released on online music streaming platforms like Spotify and iTunes. She also has a YouTube channel where she posts her music videos. Kate’s single – Summer in October – was released with the PR Records Label Group. The PR Records Label Group has produced and supported many new artists on their journey to being recognized.

  Kate strives to make music that resonates with her follower and wishes to spread positivity through her music. Though most of her songs are from the EDM genre, Kate’s versatility enables her to make songs that are not bound to just one genre. She has made songs that can be categorized into the pop, and indie genres, to name a couple. 

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New Music Friday offers fresh R&B, rock and pop tracks for the weekend | Lifestyles

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and New Music Friday has something for everyone, regardless of relationship status. This week’s new music playlist features some standout songs for those still riding the high of the season of love and some grittier options for listeners just looking for good, solid tunes.

Prolific indie pop singer Lana del Rey released “A&W,” one of her best songs in years. The seven-minute track produced by Jack Antonoff is the second single from her eighth album “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” which comes out March 24.

Sticking to her typical musical sound and style, the first half of the song is a somber ballad full of melancholy lyrics and self-reflection. With whispery vocals and elegant harmonies, the song feels ethereal, nostalgic and gritty as she sings about missing her childhood and her experiences being an “American whore.”

However, halfway through, the song shifts from its cinematic, glamorous old-Hollywood feel and transforms into a rap track. With a catchy trap beat, distorted instrumentals, and even some strings in the background, “A&W” takes on a whole new life, and it is a delight to experience.

Unpredictable, experimental, and strong in every genre that she leans into, “A&W” already stands out from del Rey’s discography.

R&B singer Omar Apollo shared his first release of 2023, a sultry, vibey song called “3 Boys.” Apollo’s vocals are irresistible in this song as he croons about feeling tethered to one person, to the point at which no one else compares romantically. Apollo’s harmonies are gorgeous and full of emotion as he delivers heart-wrenching lyrics over a soundscape of groovy, gentle guitar.

Indie singer-songwriter beabadoobee released “Glue Song,” a sweet love song perfect for the season of love. With a simple melody of guitar, piano, strings and even a sprinkling of saxophone, the song is romantic, idyllic and delightfully candid about love. Beabadoobee, whose full name is Beatrice Kristi Ilejay Laus, opens the song singing, “I’ve never known someone like you / Tangled in love stuck by you / From the glue” before going on to sing about feeling romantically stuck to someone.

Laus’ unique vocals make this song so special, and it is a sweet, simple addition to this week’s New Music Friday playlist.

For rock fans looking for new tunes, Irish rock band Inhaler released its newest album today, “Cuts & Bruises.” The opener “Just to Keep You Satisfied” is quite simply indie rock perfection. With a catchy melody, anthemic guitar that drives the chorus, and lead singer Elijah Hewson’s vocals strong and gravelly, this track is definitely worth checking out.

Although the lyrics are not particularly revolutionary, “Just to Keep You Satisfied” is a fun and captivating listen for jamming in the car this weekend.

Actress and musician Janelle Monae released “Float,” a collaboration with Nigerian musician Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80. The song opens with harmonies between Monae and Kuti before exploding into brassy instrumentals that make the song upbeat and triumphant. 

Monae’s vocals shine on the chorus, but her rapping in the verses showcases the range of her talent. The track features lyrics about personal growth, letting things go, and having a good time. Monae delivers one of the of the best lines in the song with perfect confidence and ease, rapping, “I’m countin’ my blessings, we ain’t stressin’, just look at this glow /I got that magic, I’m really prepared for whatever, whenever so who want the smoke?”

Fans of all genres will find something new to enjoy from this week’s New Music Friday playlist.

Friday New Releases – February 17, 2023 – 2 Loud 2 Old Music

Friday New Releases – February 17, 2023

Categories Christian Music, Country, New Releases, Pop Music, RockTags #FridayNewMusic, All My Shadows, Annett Louisan, Attila Csihar, Avatar, Creye, First Signal, Grade 2, Graphic Nature, Hellripper, Inhaler, Jess Malin, Jordan Davis, Lowly, Matthew West, Motley Crue, Oceanhorse, Orbital, P!nk, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Pink, Robin McAuley, Runnner, Screaming Females, See You Next Tuesday, Siege of Power, Skillet, Solence, Tamalizer, Tithe, Transatlantic, Tryglav, Tulus