June certainly arrived with some fanfare. Friday (it was technically still the 31st but that’s basically June) saw a bevy of high-profile releases, from albums to music videos to singles. Naturally, this is good for all of us, as we get to listen to all this great new music. I also want to use it as an opportunity to highlight the amazing team we have here at Substream. There was a new song dropping seemingly every minute, and all of our news writers were completely on top of it. Writing music news is no easy task, and they absolutely thrived on Friday. Substream would not be the amazing site it is without our writers, and I am eternally grateful for them every single day. Onto this week’s Take 5.
Vérité – gone
I’ve enjoyed the reimaginings and covers Vérité has put out in the last few years. Her orchestral EP is fantastic and her cover of Sufjan Stevens’s “John My Beloved” is one of my all-time favorite covers. Still, it’s exciting to have wholly new Vérité back in our lives with the release of new single “gone.” The single shows growth and change in subject matter while still containing all the things that has made her great up to this point. There’s the classical influence in the strings and piano combined with modern pop progressions and feeling, and she can still contort her voice into dazzling runs and high points. The fear of being alone in the lyrics is both relatable and affecting, and her metaphors (the dynamite one in particular) are as sharp as ever here. Vérité remains a powerhouse anytime she releases music, as “gone” proves.
Young Bombs – Don’t Let Them
Chances are you’ve heard Young Bombs make music, even if you aren’t immediately aware of it. The duo of Martin and Tristan (the pair are mononymous) have produced for pop stars like Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, and Nick Jonas. They’re only just dipping their toes into original recording, with new single “Don’t Let Them” serving as only their second ever release. You’d never know that listening, though, as the duo have created a winner. The pair’s dance-orieneted, synth-heavy, harmony-based music style is perfectly crafted to create hits on their own. The positive and vibrant sound matches the theme of “Don’t Let Them,” which encourages youth to speak up against bullying and to embrace who they are and what makes them special. It’s a short track, clocking in at two and a half minutes, but it doesn’t need to be an epic to make an impact. “Don’t Let Them” finds Young Bombs radiating joy, which is something we can always use a little bit more of in the world.
Katy Perry – Never Really Over
I know I’ve been saying some variation of “it’s summer” for a few weeks now, but we’re into June. It’s actually summer now. Summer means we need some light, fun pop tunes to carry us through the hot months and fill out our poolside playlists. Lucky for us, Katy Perry has returned from a two year break in releasing solo music with just the ticket, new single “Never Really Over.” A song about how any relationship can still have an effect on you even long after a breakup is a perfect pairing with any summer fling, and this chorus is as catchy as you can hope for and I know I will be singing it to myself nonstop for the next three months. Meanwhile, Zedd is the king of making anthemic pop production, and his electronic influences combined with inspired drums makes for one of his best pieces of work yet. Summer is for pop, and Katy Perry has answered the call.
Boy In Space – 7UP
The best songs about heartbreak resonate with listeners even if they’re not actively going through a breakup. Part of that can be chalked up to everyone having those memories with them, but a larger part relies on an artist properly conveying the intensity of their feelings in a song. Boy In Space (Robin Lundbäck) has tapped into that truth on his new single “7UP,” and the result is an emotional powerhouse. His vocals go a long way towards selling his heartbreak, switching between the hushed tones of the verses to his soaring upper range during the stirring chorus. The songwriting is really what sells “7UP,” though. Emotional conversations in the car, smudged makeup, and forgotten solo cups are evoked so clearly and with such exacting detail that it’s impossible not to be moved by the story he’s weaving. It’s hard to conjure such vivid imagery in a song, and Boy In Space’s ability to do so should put you on notice that he’s a songwriter to watch.
NF – The Search
NF has never shied away from the truth. The Michigan rapper has set himself apart with his commitment to letting listeners know exactly what’s going through his mind, both the good and the bad. That hasn’t changed at all, and “The Search” finds him at his most contemplative. Across a thrilling four minutes NF discusses everything happening in his life, to his experiences with mental illness, his path through the music industry, and how frequently those two things intersect. He discusses getting anxiety while on stage, his experiences seeing a therapist, and how his world view has changed over the years, all delivered in his intense, pulse-pounding style. The instrumental booms and crashes with operatic voices, powerful drums, and a driving beat. Taken as a whole, “The Search” is NF at his best.
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