Noteworthy album & EP releases:
Violet, Ben Kessler
I Told You I Would, Kirby
Candydrip (Deluxe), Lucky Daye
In chronological order:
“Look At You” – Rebecca Black
Release date – December 7
As some of you big music fans may know by now, Rebecca Black makes *real” music now and it’s *quite* good. She first grabbed my attention back in Spring 2021 with the song “Personal,” an electro-pop banger reminiscent of artists like Caroline Polachek and Charli XCX. Her newest single, “Look At You,” shows a softer side to Black. Co-written with Grammy-nominated writer Amy Allen (Lizzo, Harry Styles, Shawn Mendes, and more) and Gian Stone (John Legend, Meghan Trainor), “Look At You” is a platonic love song for all the people in our lives who may be struggling with something.
“I wrote this song about a best friend of mine,” Black shares. “As my closest friends and I have now begun to really grow into ourselves, it can feel heart-wrenching to witness people you love fall for a moment, or lose sight of the goodness they have within themselves when they’re struggling. As a friend we just want to pick them up and show them who we really know them to be – to try to cheer so hard on the sidelines over how incredible they are, and how much they mean to us, but at the end of the day of course it’s only them who can discover their own light on their own.”
Black’s debut album LET HER BURN drops next year.
“F2F” – SZA
Release date – December 9
Is anyone actually surprised that SZA made the best of list this year? After over five years, the artist is finally back with her sophomore album, SOS, followed by the critically acclaimed debut Ctrl.
I still have a lot of listening to do on the new album, but I wanted to include the two songs that stood out to me the most from the first listen. “F2F” is a new direction for the R&B singer, as she opts for an alternative rock sound on “F2F,” which seems to effortlessly work with the lyrical content of the song (“I hate me enough for the two of us” is a pretty angsty line).
When I realized that “F2F” stands for face-to-face, the song made perfect sense to me. It’s almost like SZA is processing her emotions to her therapist in real time, realizing that her actions are a coping mechanism. But that doesn’t mean she leaves any sort of pettiness off the table, as she also contemplates the things that the subject of the song did wrong, as well.
“Ghost In The Machine” – SZA ft. Phoebe Bridgers
Release date – December 9
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, I’ve found another way to talk about Phoebe Bridgers! When the news broke earlier this week that she was one of the featured artists on SZA’s new album, I got immensely excited, obviously. I was curious to see how each artist, who absolutely sound very different from each other sonically, would be able to balance their aesthetics in a way that made sense with each other (let’s be real, nobody anticipated Phoebe making something that would be on a typical SZA record).
What came together was a beautifully crafted mash of two sounds that are hard to imagine working well together, but do. Can we talk about how much the opening sounds like it belongs off a track of Punisher? One of Phoebe’s long time collaborators, Marshall Vore, is credited as a co-writer on the song, so that explains things.
Some of the best lyricism of the album are featured on “Ghost In The Machine” as well.
Let’s talk about A.I., robot got more heart than I
Robot got future, I don’t
Robot could sleep, but I don’t power down
I’m wide open, I’m awake, I’m on autopilot
I’m out of my mind and I’m wide open