BY NATALIA SOTO-PENA
(R&B) Ghost in the Machine by SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers
SZA’s highly-anticipated new album garnered a lot of praise for its versatility and uniqueness. The singer’s fans on social media showed excitement over unexpected features, including indie singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers. The song has SZA’s classic R&B melodies and soft vocals, as she discusses feeling “heartless, being on autopilot, and bored” as someone stuck in the brutal music industry. Phoebe’s verse is the bridge as she adds her own insights into the music industry and how that affects her relations with others. It manages to be catchy and upbeat even through its soft vocals and serious lyrics, and is a top song off of SOS.
(Alternative Indie/Rock) American Teenager by Ethel Cain
Florida’s very own Ethel Cain was raised by Christian music and gospel, something evident in her current music as she channels those
sounds into her own alternative indie music. Her latest album “Preacher’s Daughter” contains, as imagined, many religious references, and highlights growing up in America. This song in particular was about her neighbor’s brother who died in the army
and is a proudly anti-military song. Cain’s experiences and struggles as an American Teenager are shown throughout the song, which has a nostalgic, classic-indie rock feel. A beautiful introduction into the singer-songwriter’s style of music and writing, this is a great song for anyone feeling bummed after reading the news or simply missing some 2000s indie rock.
(Alternative) That’s Where I Am by Maggie Rodgers
While the singer-songwriter’s sophomore album releases were overshadowed by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift drops, even Obama knew to put this on his playlist. Rodgers embraces her usual alternative style, writing it with the same burst of energy as she did her breakout hit, Alaska. Rodgers claims the inspiration for the song came out of wanting to write something more upbeat, as it was produced during the pandemic. In the end, she wrote a happy, pop-leaning song about a love that’s been growing for years. The leading single off of Surrender is a great listen for anyone experiencing anything from a crush to wanting to start their day off well.
(Pop-Rock) Screwed by Janelle Monae featuring Zoe Kravitz
While known mainly as an actress, most recently in “Glass Onion: a Knifes Out Mystery,” Monae has put out a
number of critical
ly-acclaimed works, mentored by none other than Prince. Screwed is a part of the 2018 Concept album and short film “Dirty Computer,” which focuses on Monae’s experience as a queer, Black woman living in modern society. Screwed
is an example of this, mentioning the current state of the world and how she copes. While Dirty Computer: an Emotion Picture is a great watch for anyone looking to get emotional too, Screwed manages to keep being a song to turn up and dance to.
(Pop) Joshua Tree by Carly Rae Jepsen
While best known for the 2012 hit “Call Me Maybe” and, now, the Tiktok hit “The Loneliest time,” Jepsen has built a loyal fan base and continued to release music true to her sound, and Joshua Tree is no exception. The song features a catchy bass line and repeating hook, showing her classic, bubblegum bubbly style better than ever. While Jepsen’s songwriting abilities have been praised by most critics and loyal fans before, you don’t need to be caught up on her music to enjoy Joshua Tree.
(Alternative Metal) Pocket By Poppy
In 2021, Poppy made history as the first woman to ever be nominated in a Metal category at the Grammy awards, due to her unexpectedly changing from electronic pop songs to hard-rock and metal works of music. Poppy released
her EP stagger in 2022, highlighting her place as a metal and alternative artist. The song has her signature screams and dark lyrics, along with guitar loops and heavy drumming. While the hard rock sound may not be for everyone, Pocket provides a good view into the kind of artist Poppy is evolving into.