Y/N is a guide to the week’s music releases based on our very scientific, non-subjective Yes/No rating system. It’s very serious.
Y: There’s been a crop of young rappers recently, like Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Peep, who have been drawing on pop punk and emo for inspiration. And now ILoveMakonnen (you might remember him for making Tuesday the best night to go to the club) and Rae Sremmurd (our own Black Beatles) straight up sound like they should be headlining Warped Tour on this new song “Love.” And honestly? I’m into it. FUCK LOVE! - Hazel Cills
Sorry, but N: Sam Smith, “Too Good at Goodbyes” - Welcome back to a disconcertingly slim Sam Smith with the first new music from him we’ve heard in almost three years. “Too Good at Goodbyes” is vintage Sam Smith, which is to say that it’s just Sam Smith. He’s one-note, which is fine if you are feeling sad about something and would like to listen to a tremulous British singer warble about lost love. I’m trying to find something new about this single—something that feels fresh—and the only thing I can come up with is that it’s a little more uptempo than his older stuff, so uh, if heartbreak with a two-step appeals to you, then I guess this is your shit. Personally, it is not mine. —Megan Reynolds
N: ZAYN, Sia, “Dusk Till Dawn” - Zayn Malik has a perpetual case of mushmouth that, when coupled with Sia’s insistence on making every song she’s on sound like the closing credits of a Freeform dramedy, makes for a song that I don’t particularly care for. For all the Girls heads out there, Jemima Kirke is in this video. Also, around the 54-second mark, there’s close-up of Zayn’s crotchal region encased in a bad suit, walking towards... something. Pass. —MR
Maybe: Kelly Clarkson, “Love So Soft” - In a song that sounds like it coud’ve been meant for Meghan Trainor or P!nk pre-aerial silks, Kelly Clarkson does her best. I will always love her voice but I wish she would just keep making songs that sound like “Miss Independent.” —MR
Y: SZA, “Quicksand” - Like every good SZA record, this one from Insecure’s season 2 soundtrack is fueled by her squeaky vocals and off-kilter vocalizing. It’s not as instantly temping as, say, “Love Galore,” but smooth and enjoyable nonetheless. —Clover Hope
N: Miguel “Shockwave” - A few things Miguel is good for: rich vocals, fluidity and sex appeal. Here, he follows up his “Sky Walker” gem with a disappointing track that sounds like early N.E.R.D but less effective, as an astute Jezebel staffer pointed out. There’s little emotion and vague lyrics: “Media keep talking/But who wanna stop me?” The media does enjoy talking, but no one is stopping you, Miguel! —CH
Duh: Syd, “Moving Mountains” - It’s Syd. She can do no wrong. Here she’s back on that vintage Timbaland tip she dabbled with on her excellent solo debut Fin, but here the sweetness is not in her voice (as it usually is) but mostly in that warped, strobing sample while delivers the verses in a scratchy kind of flow. Nice dynamic fine tuning on this one.—Rich Juzwiak