New Music Sunday

The Best Five Songs Released This Past Week Pt. 39

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, if you’re into that sorta thing.

Noteworthy album & EP releases:

The Dream, Alt-J
a touch of the beat (deluxe), Aly & AJ
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe You, Big Thief
in the mirror, in the night, Donna Missal
The Kick, Foxes
Give Me Your Shoulders, Pt. 1, Half Alive
Cleanse, Joywave
Slut Pop, Kim Petras
We Switched Bodies, Laundry Day
Heterosexuality, Shamir
Lucifer On The Sofa, Spoon

In chronological order:

“Invincible” – Omar Apollo ft. Daniel Caesar
Release date – February 9

Indiana native Omar Apollo has been making his way through the indie scene for the past few years, which makes it hard to believe that his debut album has yet to be released. Thanks to his deal with Warner, the drought is ending in April: Apollo’s debut Ivory drops on April 8.

Elements of “Invincible,” which tells a complex story of queer love, reminds me of music from artists like Frank Ocean, Leon Bridges, and one of Staged Haze’s favorite unknown artists Jean Dawson. It’s safe to say we’re giving this song an A+ based on those comparisons alone.

“debbie downer” – LØLØ, Maggie Lindemann
Release date – February 10

As we continue seeing a mass over saturation of the indie pop market, it’s clear that it’s becoming even harder to stand out amongst the crowd. In “debbie downer,” singer Lauren Mandel (who signed to Hopeless Records last year under moniker LØLØ), manages to do just that. Pairing up with Maggie Lindemann, the song is reminiscent of bangers of the early 2000s, specifically reminding me of the soundtrack to Lindsay Lohan’s Freaky Friday in the absolute best way possible. Also, there are shoutouts to the 2000s movie Bring It On, which happens to be one of LØLØ’s favorite movies. What more could you ask for?

Not sure if this song features the exact same chord progression as Green Day’s “American Idiot,” but once you hear the comparison, you won’t be able to get it out of your head.

“Celebrity Skin” – Doja Cat
Release date – February 11

Something I never knew I needed? Doja Cat covering a song from the ’90s. Can we get more of this from Doja this year? The 1998 song by band Hole, featuring lyrics written by front woman Courtney Love, literally sounds (in my humble opinion) that it was written for Doja herself based on her delivery of the track, which to me, is entirely convincing. According to a press release, the song has reworked lyrics edited by Love herself and features drums from Travis Barker.

Who would have thought a song performed and released for a Super Bowl Taco Bell commercial would turn out so well? I applaud the TB for this.

“Sort of Stranger” – The Greeting Committee, Briston Maroney
Release date – February 11

If you want your Valentine’s Day weekend to be sad, listen to this song. If you don’t, maybe wait a few days to get in your feels. The song, which was originally going to be featured on the band’s 2021 album Dandelion, was held onto with the hopes of it being released eventually as a duet with musician Briston Maroney, who also helped pen the track.

“Sort of Stranger” beautifully and heartbreakingly captures the nuances of a breakup in the minuscule ways: “If you’re gone, who gets the toothbrush ready?/If you’re gone, I’ll watch too much TV/If you’re gone, how do I go on living?/If you’re gone, how do I go on?”

“Background Music” – Maren Morris
Release date – February 11

Every song Maren Morris release brings me to the conclusion that she’s honestly the most underrated pop artist in the game right now. You may be scratching your head after reading that sentence: “Kristin, isn’t Maren Morris a country artist?” And yeah, I guess she IS in theory, but I think she’s seriously on her way to becoming the next country pop crossover act of the 2020s, à la Taylor Swift (of course I had to reference her!) Morris has also worked with Greg Kurstin on several of her tracks, who happens to be one of the most successful pop music producers of the past 20 years (credits include work with Adele, Halsey, and Sia, to name a few).

If you’re a fan of the genre-bending artists we consistently cover on Staged Haze like Allison Ponthier and kacey Musgraves, I seriously recommend you checking out Morris’ catalog.

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