5 songs you must hear this week: 16 August 2021

Wait. We’re halfway through August already? Best start getting ready for the fall releases. These are the five tracks that survived a cull of close to 600 submissions from the past week.

1. Nessa Barrett, I Hope Ur Miserable Until Ur Dead
Pretty Poison (Warner)
Recommended If You Like: Songs about really, really, really bad breakups.

It sounds like New Jersey’s Nessa Barrett went through a really ugly end to a relationship. The song, she says, “is the anger you hold inside when people betray you—when people hurt you so bad and you unapologetically hope they get what they deserve.” She pulls no punches here. Lots of NSFW language, but if you’ve been through something similar and you want someone to commiserate with, here you go.

2. Malia J, Smells Like Teen Spirit
Single (Think Up Anger/The Artist Collective)
RIYL: Interesting cover versions

Malia is from Hawaii and was commissioned to contribute something to the Marvel film Black Widow. She chose to cover the Nirvana classic in a very ethereal style. (A string section!) This was met with the approval of the Nirvana estate. Watch for a debut EP coming in October.

3. Måneskin feat. Iggy Pop, I Wanna Be Your Slave
Single (Sony)
RIYL: Interesting collaborations

Måneskin, the Italian winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, is seeing some worldwide interest in their rock sound with I Wanna Be Your Slave. They somehow managed to connect with Iggy Pop, he of the song I Wanna Be Your Dog from 1969 during the early years of The Stooges. Why did Iggy agree to this feature? Because “Måneskin gave me a big hot buzz.” More NSFW language here.

4. Emma Cook, Messed It up
Fight Left in Me (Independent)
RIYL: The idea of a return to simplicity

Got regrets? You’re not alone. Emma, a Canadian indie folksinger, is right there with you. She says this song “tells the universal story of how life can constrict and complicate us – it is that yearning for the freedom of childhood. I have this very clear memory of playing in my best friend’s stream, spending hours with our rubber boots and just being in the moment. It asks the question, ‘how do I get back’ to that kind of simplicity.” The album will be out this fall.


5. New West, Balenciaga
Single (Dine Alone)
RIYL: Mixolydian chord progressions

The latest song to feature a glorious Mixolydian mode progression (following Lorde’s Solar Power and in keeping with the vibe of George Michael’s Freedom and Primal Scream’s Come Together among many others) is this single from a Toronto collective’s upcoming debut album. You can’t help but feel uplifted by songs written this way.

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