New Music Sunday

The Best Songs Released in February 2023

Happy 2023! In case you missed it, we’re now sharing monthly new music posts instead of every Sunday. The playlist is still updated regularly every week. Buckle up, February had an amazingly long list of releases we think you should check out!

Noteworthy album & EP releases:
Norm, Andy Schauf
Control Freak, Billy Lemos
You’ll Get It When You’re Older, Blake Rose
Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, Caroline Polachek
Real Cultural Shit, Channel Tres
The Cannonballers, Colony House
i think there’s something wrong with joshy, Cottonwood Firing Squad
runaway, Daniel Leggs
Good Riddance, Gracie Abrams
Cuts & Bruises, Inhaler
drowning, Jessie Murph
Raven, Kelela
Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, Kelsea Ballerini
Fantasy – Chapter 1, M83
blotter baby, mazie
part one, Michal Leah
Follow The Cyborg, Miss Grit
This Is Why, Paramore
Flounder, quinnie
My 21st Century Blues, Raye
Let It Burn, Rebecca Black
Archives & Lullabies, Sabrina Claudio
Anarchist Gospel, Sunny War
The Day My Father Died, SYML
Pollen, Tennis
Bless This Mess, U.S. Girls
love you forever, Vérité
Heavy Heavy, Young Fathers
scaredy cat, young friend
Falling Out / Falling In, Zolita

In chronological order:

“Mama’s Eyes” – METTE
Release date – February 3

I admittedly hadn’t heard of METTE, born Mette Towley, before hearing her absolute banger of a single “Mama’s Eyes,” earlier this year, but it turns out that she’s a veteran of the industry. Mette was a dancer for Pharrell for several years and has also had a few film roles. But let’s focus on “Mama’s Eyes” and it’s beautiful message of finding strength and comfort in the people you love most.

“I was going through something when lockdown hit. I hadn’t seen my mom for 18 months, and the news coming from America felt particularly panicked,” METTE explains the track’s motif. “I missed my mom, I felt out of pocket. I wanted to see my mama’s eyes. I have her eyes, I feel mirrored by her, I wanted her strength.”

“Worth It.” – Raye
Release date – February 3

I am sure I am one of a million plus people saying that they heard Raye’s crazy-viral “Escapism” on TikTok earlier this year and during the end of last, and while I wasn’t super enthralled with that song (I do like the original, less sped up version), I was interested in checking out her debut album that dropped this past month. “Worth It” is definitely the stand out track for me: it’s super groovy, has an incredibly catchy bass line, and in general is just a vibe. I’m super curious to see where Raye goes next, as she’s heading to the US soon for her sold out headlining tour.

“(You) On My Arm” – Leith Ross
Release date – February 10

I’d venture to assume that many music fans that aren’t super in tune with what’s trending on TikTok would have no idea who Leith Ross is. But for those of us who ARE tuned in, know that Leith, who’s only released seven songs, just sold out a headlining tour across the country and has a whopping 400k followers on TikTok and 39 million plays on their single, “We’ll Never Have Sex.” The new single is a more upbeat take from the singer-songwriter: an ode to a love interest romanticizing all of the things they’d want to do with that person. Also, “I’d be better armed if you agreed to take it” is just an incredibly simple, beautiful and clever line.

“The Day That I Met You” – Matilda Mann
Release date – February 22

Alright, sorry to get mushy again, but I just find “this song to be a beautiful “The Day That I Met You” a wonderfully beautiful, cheesy, over-the-top love song that really resonated with me for some reason. Mann, a 23-year-old singer-songwriter from London, has a very smart way of expressing her feelings of being jaded from people in her past who have hurt her while still being open to developing feelings for someone new. The song, which reminds me of artists like Laufey and spill tab (vocally, everything else, not necessarily), is a bright showing from Mann, who’s definitely still early on in her career.

“Blindsided” – Kelsea Ballerini
Release date – February 14

Move over, Kacey Musgraves! We’ve got another county breakup album here (just kidding, Kacey: there’s room for both of you). Kelsea Ballerini’s new EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat tells the tale of a marriage ending in divorce: a tale based on the true story of Ballerini’s break up with fellow country singer Morgan Evans. I haven’t done too much digging, but word on the street is that “Blindsided” is a song in response to Evans releasing a song about being blindsided about Ballerini’s desire to file for divorce. Though Ballerini’s song is obviously titled “Blindsided,” it’s really asking the question if Evans was “just blind.” TEA!

“Hospital (One Man Down)” – Madison Cunningham, Remi Wolf
Release date – February 15

I’ll be first to admit that I haven’t paid enough attention to Madison Cunningham’s 2022 album Revealer, but hearing the re-imagined take of the previous-released “Hospital,” featuring Remi Wolf, makes me want to go back to the album and listen to it one million times. I am absolutely obsessed with this collaboration and their vibes mesh so well: vocally and stylistically. PS – Revealer won a Grammy a few weeks ago, if you need any more reason to check it out.

“Heaven” – Maude Latour
Release date – February 17

While I did very much enjoy Niall Horan’s newest single, also titled “Heaven,” I found myself gravitating towards heavy hitter Maude Latour’s newest single of the same name. Maude is no stranger to Staged Haze, as we’ve been covering her viral rise to pop fame for several years at this point, and it’s been an inspiring ride to see her continuously hit a new level of potential with her music. “Heaven” has an irresistibly catchy hook about finding someone you can see yourself doing all of the things with: including making a bed with them. Now THAT is love.

“Character Development” – Allison Ponthier
Release date – February 24

I’ve always struggled with the idea of being happy for someone who has ‘done the work’ to improve themselves when they have treated you poorly in the past, and Allison Ponthier’s brand new single explains that feeling perfectly. The people we hurt in our lives are more than just ‘character development,’ and sure, people can learn from mistakes they’ve made in the past, but that doesn’t cancel out the fact that people we hurt aren’t just another statistic in our life that we’ve been able to learn and be better from. It’s a nuanced topic, and Ponthier’s first song of 2023 nails the sentiment.

“Will you cry?” – Gracie Abrams
Release date – February 24

While I was anticipating the opportunity to listen to Gracie Abrams’ debut album Good Riddance as much as everyone else, I was a littttttle unsure that I would enjoy it because I do feel like the majority of her music sounds the same. However, I really did find the second half of Good Riddance sonically interesting, with some moments where Abrams changed things up a bit, with the help of Aaron Dessner.

“Bruises” – Reneé Rapp
Release date – February 24

I had no idea that Reneé Rapp was going to release more music so quickly after the release of her debut EP Everything To Everyone, but I’m not complaining! “Bruises” comes with the deluxe version of the EP I just mentioned above, along with just one other new song. “Bruises” feels like a nod to the alternative female artists of the ’90s and the early aughts of the 2000s, like Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette. Also, listen to the bridge of this song and tell me the chord progression isn’t the exact same (or close) to the one in Sza’s “Kill Bill” – let me know.

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