“vampire” – Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo is back with her first single off of her upcoming album “guts.” The three and a half minute track is a formulaic breakup song. It has so much emotion in it without sounding bitter through its entirety. It also has elements from a few of her previous songs. It has a simple yet impactful piano accompaniment that evolves into a faster pace beat with a constant kick. Vocal wise, Rodrigo’s emotion is reminiscent of both “traitor” and “good 4 u.” “traitor” for the verses and “good 4 u” for the chorus. Similar to “drivers license” it has an incredibly powerful bridge that really ties the whole song together. Overall it is a fantastic preview for her upcoming album which is slated to be released on September 8th. 9/10.
“Spirit 2.0” – Sampha
Sampha makes a triumphant return with “Spirit 2.0” This is his first solo song since 2017. Most recently he was featured on the Kendrick Lamar track “Father Time” off of Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers. “Spirit 2.0” has a calming beat with lush, layered piano chords behind a staccato, pulsating synth that almost sounds like a lofi news intro. Percussion wise there is a marching snare doing a combination of light hits and rim shots with a soft flam every so often. Sampha’s vocals are smooth and he sings about accepting when you need help connecting to others. Unlike his last album, “Process,” these vocals have a slightly more optimistic tone. Overall this is a smooth single that leaves me excited for whatever upcoming project he has next. 8/10.
“RIOT (Rowdy Pipe’n)” – A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams
This is the summer of returns as A$AP Rocky is continuing the rollout for his new album with the single “RIOT.” With his last album “Testing” releasing in 2018, he has started his rollout for “Don’t Be Dumb,” which is expected at the end of 2023. “RIOT” is produced by legendary producer Pharrell Williams and has his iconic four-beat tag at the start of the song introducing the synth horn line that underscores the track. Along with the horns, there is an enormous 808 bass that, when mixed right, can shake whatever room you are in. The flow is classic Rocky and is a sure sign that the album is getting closer. Overall this is a great track, nothing overly special but a fun time. 7/10.
“Passport Bros (with J. Cole)” – Bas, J. Cole
“Passport Bros” is a fun summer jam. With the upbeat chorus and the shakers in the beat, it makes you feel like you are on the beach with a drink in your hand. Sonically the beat has a light feel to it with whistles in the background and again, a constant shaker. The verses are both solid but nothing special. Overall it’s a summer song with Bas and J. Cole. Nothing more, nothing less. 6/10.
“bad idea right?” – Olivia Rodrigo
Unlike the title, this song is a phenomenal idea. “bad idea right?” is track one off of her upcoming album “guts.” For being a second track on a pop album, it does something unexpected. That is a tongue and cheek track. This is not supposed to be a stand alone song but works in the context of the album. The title track on Dua Lipa’s 2020 album, “Future Nostalgia” is a perfect example of one of these intros. However, “bad idea right?” while being incredibly tongue and cheek is an amazing single. This track takes a pop-punk angle. The literal shout chorus and the increasing deranged build to it is fantastic. The hype train for this album has completely left the station and the two singles released so far proves it will be phenomenal. 9/10.
“Paint The Town Red” – Doja Cat
When Doja Cat announced she was working on a rap album and the pop work she had done before was a joke I was skeptical. Both “Planet Her” and “Hot Pink” were decent pop albums with some rap verses but I doubted she could pull off a full LP of just rap. “Paint The Town Red” is slowly changing my mind. With a smooth flow over deep 808’s and a small synth horn line, this track is just pure fun. Especially when the chorus comes in, you can help but to bop your head. 7/10.
Featured image: This summer was filled with some amazing singles, these are just a few of them.