This week, we look at the major singles — and a surprise album — released from pop to R&B to alternative and back.
“Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat feat. SZA
This song comes from two of the biggest names in pop and R&B right now. While Doja Cat celebrates success in the wake of her 2019 album “Hot Pink,” SZA dominates charts with “Good Days,” her 2020 single.
“Kiss Me More” is a summer hit in the making. It sounds like lounging by the pool with a fresh watermelon slice in hand. It’s upbeat, and as equally pop as it is R&B, while this duo combines to create a song that’s feminine, powerful, dominating and romantic.
“Shy Away” by Twenty One Pilots
“Shy Away” is the first release of the year for alternative duo Twenty One Pilots. In 2020, the duo released “Level of Concern,” an anthem for the pandemic in many ways, but “Shy Away” feels different. Feeling more alternative pop than anything else, this song looks at relationships drifting apart and trying to make sense of complex feelings.
“Wave of You” by Surfaces
“Wave of You” is the first single of 2021 for Surfaces, an indie pop duo. Surfaces reached mainstream success with “Sunday Best,” a song from their 2019 album “Where the Light Is.”
This newest single explores a romantic connection that feels overwhelming and powerful but maybe not in a positive way. This is a song that’s still indie pop and bedroom pop but also looks into alternative drumbeats and electric guitar riffs as well.
“Sociopath” by Olivia O’Brien
While she’s only released one full-length album, Olivia O’Brien is an artist that has still had major hits, like last year’s “Josslyn,” and even as far back at 2016’s “hate u love u.” Here, O’Brien dives into electronica and alternative as she looks at abusive and one-sided relationships in a Madison Beer-esque lower register.
“Close To You” by R3HAB and Andy Grammer
R3HAB is the stage name of Moroccan DJ Fadil El Ghoul, who has worked with Grammer before on single “Good Example.” “Close To You” is an electronica pop love song. Like “Kiss Me More,” this song sounds like a summer anthem. It feels like youth and romance and freedom and joy.
“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift
Though this is not a single, it’s important to talk about. As Taylor Swift rerecords her older music in order to own it, her album “Fearless,” which was originally released in 2008, is the first to be rereleased. Along with the new versions of all of the original songs, there are also six new songs from the vault.
Of these, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” seems to be a big hit with fans already. Like the rest of the album, this is a country song where Swift details the struggles of a breakup, where the other person seems “perfectly fine.”
Honorable mentions for this week include by BROCKHAMPTON’S album “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE,” Briston Maroney’s album “Sunflower,” Miguel’s EP “Art Dealer Chic 4” and Sir Sly’s collection of singles titled “The Rise and Fall of Loverboy.”