Scene Selections: New Singles
Every once in a while it’s a good idea to ditch the algorithm-driven coldness of Spotify’s “New Releases” tab or Apple Music’s “New Music” section. Instead, turn to humanity and rely on your favorite Scene writers to recommend what might be your new favorite song.
“Alien” — Beach House
By Ryan Israel, Scene Writer
Beach House has been the momentous force in the dream pop genre since the turn of the decade, and 2018 has been no different. In early May, the Maryland duo released their album “7,” a spectacular reimagination of their signature sound that ventures into darker and more mysterious places and stands out as one of the best albums of the year. “Alien” comes as a B-Side from that album, released at first only on the backside of the vinyl for their single “Lose Your Smile” before reaching streaming services just last week.
“Alien” captures many of the prominent sonic features found across “7.” Driving drums push the track into the depths of darkness as Victoria Legrand’s ethereal vocals guide the listener along. Radiating synths call out among the medley of instrumentation, demanding to be heard. The track dazzles, capturing an intense energy and releasing it in glorious fashion. All of this wonder comes to an abrupt halt at the conclusion of the track, as if it were never completely finished, or as though there exists a succeeding track, created alongside this one, yet never to be released.
“Light On” — Maggie Rogers
By Margaret McGreevy, Scene Writer
Maggie Rogers’ newest single “Light On” is her most vulnerable to date. She asks the listener in the first line of the song “Would you believe me now, if I told you I got caught up in a wave?” From the get go, Rogers is asking a question, positioning herself as someone who doesn’t know all the answers. It almost seems like we are listening in on a conversation with a close friend, hearing the sort of confessions most artists hate to admit. This song grows from a vulnerable place — Rogers’ own fears about her fast-tracked journey into the limelight — and carves out a safe space for self-doubt to be acceptable and even beautiful. Although many of her lyrics address her anxieties and tearful breakdowns, the bright, full chorus emanates Rogers’ irresistible spirit. She keeps her hope alive, singing, “I’m still dancing at the end of the day.” This is all the more evident in her music video — both parts close shots of her face and of her unrestrained dancing — which documents her Oregon road trip. The video captures her journey into nature, away from the chaos of her typical life — free, simple and honest.
“Money” – Cardi B
By Marty Kennedy, Scene Writer
After her recent arrest — yes, she was arrested, look it up —, Cardi B is out with, yet again, another jam. Her newest single, “Money,” was released last week and highlights Cardi B’s affinity for money, as the chorus repeats, “There ain’t nothing in this world, that I like more than checks.” This song was written with Kris Jenner’s advice to Cardi B in mind. Jenner told Cardi that it did not matter how people viewed her as long as she had money — classic Kardashian. Cardi B continues to talk of her love for jets, diamonds and all other things expensive with a beat similar to those included in her other songs: simple, loud and in your face. At the end of the track, she also states her love for her four-month-old baby Kulture, rapping, “Nothing in this world that I like more than Kulture.” Overall, “Money” provides the same ferocity, creativity and ingenuity that Cardi B’s other hits provide. Though it may never be as good as “Bodak Yellow” — very few things ever could be — it still provides a distinct beat worth giving a listen.
“Me & My Dog” — boygenius
By Nora McGreevy, Scene Editor
“We had a great day, even though we forgot to eat,” sings Phoebe Bridgers on “Me & My Dog,” one of the songs off of her new EP which she co-created with fellow indie stars Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. On their first EP as a group, they call themselves “boygenius” — a not-so-subtle dig at the gendered ways in which reviewers often write about talent, particularly when it comes to musicians.
While each song on the six-track-long EP varies depending on its lead singer, they all cohere into an album marked by beautiful harmonies and narrative-driven, mournful lyrics. On “Me & My Dog,” as on much of the three artists’ individual oeuvres, the guitar chords maintain an ethereal, echoey quality, one which emphasizes the sense of space and distance between the singer and her new lover.
The protagonist, voiced by Phoebe Bridgers, has fallen in love. She dictates her lyrics in her characteristic, matter-of-fact dialogue with the listener, like snippets of an ongoing conversation. Life with her new person is better, she admits. Yet painful memories — of past trauma, or maybe a former relationship — haunt her dreams and tinge her attempts to start afresh. “I never said I’d be alright, just thought I could hold myself together. / When I couldn’t breathe I went outside / don’t know why I thought it’d be any better,” she explains.
“I wake up falling,” Bridgers sings, in notes of soft despair. Backed by Dacus and Baker’s stirring voices, she sings about a recurring dream, where she sets off in spaceship — an unattainable, fantastical escape. She pictures herself, floating high above the Earth, “just me, and my dog, and an impossible view.”