Y/N is a guide to the week’s music releases based on our highly scientific, non-subjective Yes/No rating system.
Yes, okay, I like it: Drake, “Summer Games” - Please avert your pitchforks, I come in (biased) peace when I say Drizzy’s soft boy shit has never done much for me, and his fifth album, Scorpion—a record obsessed with the usual Drake themes, now with more absentee fathering—released Friday doesn’t do much for me either. (I love a lot of Scorpios in my life, but this is certainly Big Scorpio Energy.) I will give it up for a few tracks on the album, including the surprisingly balladic “Summer Games.” It’s already on repeat— is there a more honest sign of approval than that? —Maria Sherman
Yes, but I’m the damn target demo for this: Paramore, “Caught in the Middle” Video - When Tennessee trio Paramore went full pop last year on their After Laughter album (shedding the -punk suffix of their known genre) they also went full schmaltz—embracing the overwhelming cheesiness of ‘80s synth sounds and everything they represent. It helps swallow the bitter pill of the album’s lyrical content, tracks very transparently dealing with divorce and depression. “Caught in the Middle” is a standout, and the video is charming and completely ridiculous—watch as Hayley Williams and crew run around fruit and, well, that’s kinda it? Weird, but cute. —MS
I stan: Tiffany Young, “Over My Skin” - It’s about damn time western audiences fully embrace the R&B brilliance that is K-Pop superstar Tiffany Young, formerly of the girl group Girls’ Generation. “Over My Skin” (and whatever comes immediately afterward, let’s be real) will hopefully accomplish that, and if it doesn’t work out, well, at least this sounds exactly like what Justin Timberlake has been trying to do for years, but actually, you know, good? I’m here for those vocal harmonies. —MS
Yes: Emma Louise, “Wish You Well” – In 1986, Prince attempted to record an entire album as a female alter-ego, using a pitch shifter to androgenize his voice in a form of “audio drag.” The album, Camille, never came to fruition, but the technique lives on–in Prince’s leftover songs from the project, in the works of Laurie Anderson, and in the upcoming album Lilac Everything, from Australian singer-songwriter Emma Louise. The lead single, “Wish You Well,” produced by Tobias Jesse Jr., is sung entirely as Louise’s male alter-ego, Joseph, as is the rest of the record. It’s a beautiful, longing ballad, one that remains coy about whether its characters–the woman “perfectly framed by the woods she painted green,” the man “playing in his band now just for kicks”–are objects of desire or of identification. —Claire Shaffer
Yeah?: Sean Paul f. Ellie Goulding, “Bad Love” — On the surface you might not think pop dancehall icon Sean Paul would be bursting at the seams to collabo with warbly pop dance music queen Ellie Goulding, but both are musical polyglots, and I fully believe this just came together because they were mutual stans. Turns out their vibratos have a complimentary quality, and I am ready to do some body rolls to this joint this summer. —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Ya, mmhmm; no thank you: Charli XCX, “Focus/No Angel” — What fun summertime music Charli XCX hath wrought! “Focus” is better than “No Angel,” but new music is new music is new music, so I suppose beggars cannot be choosers. The former is a glossy pop number that will not grate on the soul or the eardrums after you hear it for the twentieth time during your boutique fitness class; the latter, unfortunately, is not my cup of tea. Still! Songs! Summer! Thank you. — Megan Reynolds