New Music Sunday

New Music Sunday: The 5 Best Songs Released This Past Week Pt. 19

Happy Sunday! There’s a LOT of new music to sift through, as you can see in the list of new album & EPs below. We hope you find something you enjoy!

Notable Album & EP Releases:

Soundtrack to An Existential Crisis, Au/Ra
How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? Big Red Machine
Screen Violence, Chvrches
Journey To The Center of Myself, Vol. 2, Elohim
Character Development, Evann McIntosh
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey
Any Shape You Take, Indigo De Souza
History of A Feeling, Madi Diaz
You Signed Up For This, Maisie Peters
Untourable Album, Men I Trust
Afterglow, R O N I
The Act of Forgiveness, Scarypoolparty

In chronological order:

“star-crossed” – Kacey Musgraves
Release Date – August 23

I guess the Kacey stans are rising very much like the Taylor Swift fans did over the last few years, because I learned that Musgraves would be dropping a single through a series of Twitter fan accounts and Reddit posts. While most of the world, or the ones who like Kacey as an artist, know that she recently went through a divorce with her fellow artist Ruston Kelly just a little over a year ago, were anxiously awaiting the divorce album of Musgraves’ career: it also quite hurts knowing how much her breakthrough album, Golden Hour, was essentially a Kelly love song.

“star-crossed” builds bigger in a way that we haven’t seen from Musgraves yet: theatrical elements, a very theatrical music video to accompany it, and a melody that makes me feel like we’re watching the opening scene of a sparkly, country-pop broadway debut. Though I personally think I enjoy the second single, “Justified,” a smidge more, this was a near perfect lead single for Kacey’s upcoming project, set to drop very soon on September 10.

“Boomerang” – Yebba
Release Date – August 25

Can someone explain to me why Yebba isn’t at Adele status in her career yet? Cause I would argue that her voice is quite competitive with Adele’s. I’m very intrigued to see if and when Adele does decide to make her return, because artists like Yebba and Lewis Capaldi have comfortably settled into the “adult” genre of music, not to mention Ed Sheeran’s coming back with his new album quite soon as well. “Boomerang” feels radio-ready, and thanks to production help from Mark Ronson, I will be surprised if this track doesn’t below up by the end of the summer.

“Enter Sandman” – Rina Sawayama
Release Date – August 26

Okay, I know I will probably get some heat for this next statement: but I am really bad at listening to older music. It’s just something I tend to dislike doing, not because all old music is inherently bad, but I really do prefer to find new, on the rise, upcoming artists with incredible potential: it’s just more exciting of a listening experience to me. So with that being said, when I realized that the song “Enter Sandman,” by Metallica, was initially one inspired by SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)?!?! What a wild time. The lyrics were eventually changed, but the initial meaning is still very haunting to the song. I love Rina’s version of the project: I think she’s the perfect artist for the time to release a cover of it.

“Birch” – Big Red Machine ft. Taylor Swift
Release Date – August 27

It’s definitely possible that Big Red Machine’s latest project, which Sean eloquently reviewed a couple days ago, will end up on every single one of our “best of” lists here at Staged Haze. The album is so brilliantly beautiful, calming yet riveting, powerful and still. As the (self-proclaimed) number one Taylor Swift fan, it goes without saying that I would include her duet with Justin Vernon as one of the best songs released this past week. Instead of Swift’s lead vocals on the hauntingly beautiful “Renegade,” (which very well may end up being my song of the year), she takes a backseat on “Birch,” quietly duetting with Vernon through the verses and choruses of the track. Her voice is quiet, but it’s there. Very much similar to the way Swift tends to feature other artists on her songs, I wish (just a smidge) that she had a bigger part in this song, but I certainly don’t think it’s necessary.

“Bells In Santa Fe” – Halsey
Release Date – August 27

While it’s safe to say I’ve personally had a very tumultuous relationship with Halsey’s music, I was incredibly excited to hear her work with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and I wasn’t let down. I loved Badlands, I wasn’t thrilled with hopeless fountain kingdom, but I did feel like Manic, released last year, was a step in the right direction for where I (personally) thought Halsey could take her sound. I think this album is a near perfect body of work, where Halsey is actually going for the sound and aesthetic she was always wanting to embody, but was “not brave” enough to do so (here) since the start of career. With a slew of female popstars releasing music this year (Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde, Billie Eilish, Halsey, to name a few), Halsey managed to set herself apart with this album completely.

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