This week’s Best New Music features new releases from BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Ziwe, City Girls, and more.
It’s well-documented by now that BTS can’t make a bad song. Every comeback from the Korean septet is joyous, but ‘Butter’ is a nice counterpoint to last year’s massive hit ‘Dynamite’—just as imminent a serotonin booster, but with a sultrier, more teasing sensibility (see: those mug shots). They truly never miss.
Olivia Rodrigo, ‘Brutal’
“God, it’s brutal out here,” Olivia mutters, exasperated on track one of her debut album Sour. It’s refreshingly frank—an examination of teenagedom that questions teenage dreams and insecurities. It would be hard to believe a debut pop album could be this fully-realised, if the creator wasn’t Olivia Rodrigo, an artist who has proven herself a deliberate, imaginative songwriter even just on her first three singles. More pop-punk Olivia, please.
City Girls, ‘Twerkulator’
From the moment the sample of Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force’s ‘Planet Rock’ kicks in on City Girls’ latest hit ‘Twerkulator,’ you know you’re in for a delightful ride. Thought it took a while to clear the sample after the song was leaked and turned into a viral TikTok sound, it was well worth the wait. City Girls continue to be an effortlessly fun voice in rap, and we’ll be bopping to this one for a while.
Zoe Wees, ‘Hold Me Like You Used To’
Rising singer-songwriter Zoe Wees dropped her debut EP, Golden Wings, on May 21, and with it new single ‘Hold Me Like You Used To.’ The song is pure anthemic sadness, with a bursting bridge about taking away the pain from yesterday, and trying to feel okay once more.
Boys World, ‘All Me’
Boys World continue their playful, creative pop on the technicolor ‘All Me,’ which shows the girl group giving a man a makeover—and taking adequate credit, of course. It’s been exciting to watch what Boys World has done so far, and we’re curious to see what they’ll pull out next.
우기 (YUQI), ‘Bonnie & Clyde’
(G)I-DLE member Yuqi released her debut solo single album A Page last week, and this week has released a music video for b-side track, ‘Bonnie & Clyde.’ Yuqi’s somewhat deeper voice (think Dua Lipa) thrives in the spotlight, hopefully this solo album is just a taste of what’s to come from the performer.
Shakka feat. GoldLink, ‘Solo’
British powerhouse Shakka’s latest is a collab with GoldLink for the lovely, upbeat ‘Solo.’ The video was filmed largely in Accra, Ghana, as Shakka follows the woman he’s interested in through the city. Shakka said he wanted this song to “feel like a paradise; to feel like the moment we’re all able to reconnect and see the outside world again.” He succeeds here—’Solo’ feels like pure summer, like good things are on the horizon.
Japanese Breakfast, ‘Savage Good Boy’
Fresh off her moving new memoir Crying in H-Mart, Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast) is also back with a new single ahead of her forthcoming album Jubilee. Her songwriting style continues to be so compelling—she has a way of portraying the mundane in the magnitude, touching on grief and devastation with a wink and a quippy aside. ‘Savage Good Boy’ is a thrilling taste of what’s to come on the album; it begins with an innocuous plea to be by your side, and ends with a brutal apocalyptic race to be won. She told Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, “I think because my first two records were so rooted in grief and loss and losing my mom, and then I wrote an entire book about that experience, I felt really ready to start a new chapter of my life … And so Jubilee to me is about a year of release, a trumpet blast of victory.”
Ziwe, ‘Stop Being Poor’
Ziwe continues to be a national treasure. Her new Showtime show Ziwe is an extension of her skillful, hilarious skewering of pop culture, racists, boring people, and everything in between—and it’s also a perfect stage for her many talents. One of those talents is musical comedy (if you haven’t listened to deep cut ‘Make It Clap for Democracy,’ you should). On her latest release, ‘Stop Being Poor,’ Ziwe teams up with Shrill star Patti Harrison to parody ridiculous rhetoric from wealthy people and certain politicians: “If you are a homeless guy then why not just go find a home? … Don’t sign up for lower class.” A catchy song about trickle-down economics? Iconic.
This article originally appeared on Teenvogue.com