Hungry for more new music? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome back to New Music Fridays (on Tuesdays) with Dylan. This week, deciding what songs to review was a challenge, because a wide variety of artists gifted their fans with some great new music. However, there were three new tracks that definitely stood out to me. I won’t keep you waiting, so let’s jump right to it.
“Better” by Khalid (iTunes, Spotify)
On Sept. 13, rising artist Khalid released his single ‘Better,’ tweeting three days earlier that the single was dedicated ‘With love, to the 915.’ Although Khalid has not yet confirmed it himself, the new track is rumored to be the R&B singer’s official lead single off his upcoming sophomore album. Khalid has already proven himself to be a star in the industry, seeing major success with his debut album American Teen. His debut single “Location” peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, while the album itself debuted at No. 9 and later on peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 Chart. American Teen also gave Khalid other successful hits like “8TEEN” and “Young Dumb & Broke,” both of which have over 25 million streams on Spotify. This is not bad at all for a debut artist, especially with no features on the album, something that many would consider to be a risky move for someone new to the industry. Khalid undoubtedly will continue to rise on the charts and as an artist to watch.
Instantly, I was drawn to the track just by seeing the cover art. The dark purple and black, starry sky compliments the song and its lyrics so well by creating a simple-yet-soothing background, which matches the vibe of the track itself. The nearly four-minute track begins with a smooth piano, almost synthesizer-like introduction with faded female vocals and conversation in the background. Khalid then comes in with his soothing vocals for the first verse, singing, “I love to see you shine in the night like the diamond that you are.” After hearing that line, I knew the song was bound to be a good one. The verse continues to prove that Khalid is a lyrical genius and knows exactly what he wants in his music.
The chorus, admittedly, it is a bit repetitive, as the line “nothing feels better than this” is repeated three times. That being said, the chorus is still enjoyable and fun to sing along to.
Overall, I really enjoy the song and see great potential with it in the future, specifically on radio airwaves and potentially even cracking the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Better” debuted at No. 38 on the iTunes Worldwide chart and No. 35 on the Spotify Global Top 200. With quality promotion, the song will definitely continue to rise. Play or Nay: Play
“Wake Up in the Sky” by Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars and Kodak Black (iTunes, Spotify)
“Wake Up in the Sky” is Gucci Mane’s third single from his upcoming album, Evil Genius, set to be released later this year. The three-minute-30-second track, which features R&B/pop artist Bruno Mars and rapper Kodak Black, definitely has a different type of vibe to it because of Bruno Mars. Mars, who is well known for his songs about love and affection, comes across very differently in this song, singing lyrics talking about a variety of drugs and alcohol. The chorus is catchy, but nothing that we are used to hearing from Mars’ normal work. “I drink ‘till I’m drunk, smoke ‘till I’m high” is the first line of the chorus, something the audience might be surprised to hear the typically clean Mars say on this track. Mars also reminds us several times that he knows he is super “fly.” As for Gucci and Kodak, both rappers provide us with one verse each, while taking turns hopping on the chorus with Mars.
Surprisingly, I was very impressed with the track the first time I played it. It is different and original, something the music industry seems to be lacking these days. Mars’ funky vocals and lyrics make the song both enjoyable and uplifting. Gucci and Kodak also both provide quality verses that flow nicely with the beat.
That being said, even with Mars on the track, I do not see this song being a hit. It might perform well on hip-hop radio stations, receiving good airplay, but I do not see this song topping any charts unless it receives quality promotion. All in all, the song is catchy and uplifting, but most likely will not get the recognition it deserves. “Wake Up in the Sky” debuted at No. 56 on the iTunes Worldwide chart and No. 32 on the Spotify Global Top 200. Play or Nay: Play
“Song About You” by Mike Posner (iTunes, Spotify)
Mike Posner, the artist who seems to always come and go, is back with a new single. Posner was last around in 2015 with his smash hit “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Posner returns to the game with a slower, three-minute alternative track about what sounds like a tragic breakup he experienced in life. Lyrics like “I sleep until noon, I wake up and feel bad,” and “Try to be productive at work, I just can’t,” reveal that Posner has been through a rough time, and he needed to express his feelings through his music.
Aside from the emotional and raw lyrics, I am not a fan of this song. Posner’s vocals are a bit monotone, and he actually sounds bored singing the song. The instrumentals are also very repetitive and don’t add much to the song. Posner is a good guy and has clearly been through it all, but his music has never really been for me. Like “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” “Song About You” will most likely not perform well unless saved by an EDM remix. “Song About You” failed to debut on both the iTunes Worldwide Chart and the Spotify Global Top 200 as well. Play or Nay: Nay
Overall, it was a pretty solid week for new music. We had a last-minute release from Khalid; a funky collab from Bruno, Gucci and Kodak; and a comeback from Mike Posner! I look forward to seeing how these songs perform statistically and how the general public will react to them.
I’m Dylan Jahnke, and this is my second year with 42Fifty, which I first joined as a staff member. I am a senior at Oswego High School, and I plan to study mass communications/music management in college. I hope to one day have my own radio talk show or get into artist management. If I’m not writing or editing for 42Fifty, I’m either working at Culver’s, hanging out with friends and family, or doing homework. I am humbled to say I began my 42Fifty career my junior year as a staff writer, then Arts & Entertainment editor first semester of my senior year and now Editor-in-Chief.