Probably?: Justin Bieber, “Yummy” - When the snippet of Bieber’s first single of the new decade dropped in December, I immediately contacted his publicist, Gabe Tesoriero. “Did Ty $ write this!!!! It sounds good,” was my verbatim email to Gabe; I have yet to receive a response, perhaps because as we now know, former Biebz collaborator Ty Dolla $ign had nothing to do with the making of “Yummy.” But the Ty-ness within the track is what I love about it: the dirty simplicity couched in the type of silken melody usually meant for wooing; the aloof approach to something (sex) badly desired but not so thirstily it must be forceful; the smoothness of the consonants in the chorus—yummyyummyyummyyummy. These are characteristics of Ty Dolla $ign’s near-entire catalog, why Ty is one of my favorite artists of the last 15 years. I’m not sure that Bieber sells it as maturely (or as nastily) as Ty would, but I can already predict this song will get under my skin, surely as it reminds me of Hailey Bieber being actively married to this manchild. I will very likely bang it, but mostly in the background. —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Yes: Hailee Steinfeld, “Wrong Direction” - While it is usually super wack and a total waste of energy to attempt to identify the source of pain (the man) behind a breakup song, the very title of Hailee Steinfeld’s comeback ballad is too delicious to ignore. “Wrong Direction,” I refuse to be told otherwise, is likely a nod to her recent ex, Niall Horan of One Direction. If that’s the case, it’s a biting tune; she accuses her former fling of an affair, which is very much not the sweet Irish boy’s brand. At any rate, the song is good—like a Selena Gomez single with less whispering—and I welcome any and all conspiracy theories about it in the comments below. Thank you.
And in case you’re wondering: “Wrong Direction” is no “I Love Me.” Sorry in advance. —Maria Sherman
No: Lauv, “Changes” - Name a more inexplicable, cornier contemporary pop artist than Lauv. I’ll wait. —MS
Yes: Illuminati Hotties, “Post-Everything” - It’s a new decade in and a new year that is impossible to compute: 2020. So, why not enjoy a sweet little acoustic ditty about a similarly improbable-yet-imminent reality: the apocalypse? Los Angeles artist Sarah Tudzin, who records under the moniker Illuminati Hotties, has got you covered. Her world, maybe like your own, is “Post-Everything” now. —MS
Y: Raspberry Bulbs, “Ultra Vires” - I rarely let my musical freak flag fly in this series, but you know what? New year, new me, new clunky black metal-punk-hybrid tracks to completely pummel all who dare listen to it. Raspberry Bulbs is one of the few great, truly devastating bands left in Brooklyn, and their latest, “Ultra Vires,” from the forthcoming Relapse Records debut, Before The Age Of Mirrors, is their first new album in six years—and luckily, their distorted aggression has only amplified in their time away. For fans of Rudimentary Peni, of course. —MS
Kinda, yeah: Why Don’t We, “Chills” - The race for the next great Western boy band continues on into 2020. I discounted Why Don’t We a long time ago—if I had to put my money anywhere, it would be on PrettyMuch—but “Chills” proves they’re not out of the game just yet. It’s early Bieber-esque; call it PG-13 R&B-pop crafted specifically with teen girls in mind when most of their contemporaries are a bit more brazen with explicit sexuality. This is muted, and I think it could help them in the long run. Or not. YOLO. —MS
It’s a grower: Wild Nothing, “Foyer” - I’m indie trash, so when Spotify let me know that Wild Nothing released a new single, I immediately gave it a listen. My initial verdict: A little underwhelming! (Unfortunately, that’s how I feel about a lot of new releases by my chillwave favorites these days.) I ended up spacing out during the entirety of the song. It just didn’t grab me, which is saying a lot since some solid synth will usually capture my attention in a heartbeat, and this track has plenty of that. A few listens later, I’m a little more into it, but I feel like I shouldn’t have to work so hard to like a Wild Nothing song! I’m still curious to see what they release next, but I’m more eager to listen to their classics Gemini and Nocturne than anything else. —Ashley Reese