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: Mary J. Blige, “Glow Up”- Blige technically hasn’t released this as a single yet—she definitely should—but her Mother’s Day post was a good enough reminder that, yes, it’s been on heavy rotation since she released the excellent, savage Strength of a Woman. In it, Blige stunts on her cheating ex-husband by shining ever-brighter, and revels in letting him see it unfold. She deserves it! Missy Elliott, Migos’s Quavo, and DJ Khaled are simply the icing on the cake to a petty banger that serves as wish fulfillment for any woman who’s ever been fucked over by infidelity. —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Y: Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj, “Swish Swish” — You could despise this song for its tropes—deep house keyboards, that classic “Woo!,” a sparse, thumping framework. Or you can embrace Perry’s embrace of her inner anonymity and appreciate that she’s churning out material that would have scored an aspiring house diva her sole radio hit in 1994. I choose the latter (Nicki’s verse is bad, tho). -Rich Juzwiak
N: Iggy Azalea, “Switch” — This track starts with Iggy rapping, “Kick in the door, wavin’ the fo-fizzy,” and then, like every Iggy Azalea song that I begin to listen to against my better judgment, I exclaim out loud “Oh my god. This is terrible,” and I proceed to be frustrated by the experience. What accent is she using and what is she doing? The chorus has something going for it, but not in her hands. -Clover Hope
N: Tinashe & Kaskade “Flame” — Tinashe’s upteenth attempt to squeeze out her next hit gets a vaguely trappy/EDM revamp. Don’t let it burn, babe—let it go. -RJ
N: Liam Payne, “Strip That Down” — The ex-One Directioner with the most forgettable voice, the first member of the group to have a child (with the woman who helped discover him, Cheryl) and the final member of the group to branch out into solo territory. Despite a single cheeky lyric referencing the group’s disbanding (“I used to be in 1D, now I’m out, free”), this debut single was co-written by Ed Sheeran, and it shows.
Like “Shape of You,” attempts at sexiness here are desperate and unconvincing (“So put your hands on my body, and swing that round for me”), and though I sort of respect Payne for distancing himself from his former bandmates by veering into hip-hop, I’d rather listen to Harry’s album than turn this on again. -Bobby Finger
N: Lorde “Green Light (Chromeo Remix)” — I forgot this song existed, and here it is again, with a disco vibe and Chromeo’s Roger Troutman-inspired vocals. The bitterness of Lorde’s vocals and the sweetness of this treatment is about as appetizing as a dessert of onions and chocolate. -RJ
Y: Rio Mira, “Román Román”—This track exuberantly uses the traditional Colombian music style known as bunde to pay homage to the peoples living on the river of El Pacífico, Colombia, and it sounds like love to me. It’s even better live, when this group of revered performers from Colombia and Ecuador played 2016's Patronio Alvarez music festival, named after the famed folklore musician—whose grandson plays marimba in Rio Mira. —JES
Y: Camila Cabello, “Crying in the Club” — The Fifth Harmony member who quit to go solo released a song/video that’s a two-parter, with a dramatic ballad intro (“I’m too young to be this hurt,” she sings, but no she’s not!), which glides into a more pulsing sexy club song, and the video finds her meditating in a tub of cloudy bathwater. There’s a pleasant damaged tone to her vocals that I can appreciate. This could’ve been worse. -CH
Y: Prince & the Revolution “Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden” — On one hand, this latest dip into Prince’s famed vault, a Purple Rain-era outtake that will appear on the deluxe edition of that landmark soundtrack, has garbage sound quality, as though it was mastered with the delicate hand of a sledgehammer. On the other, it’s new old Prince stuff we’re being treated to and we are not worthy thus have no right to complain. -RJ
Y: Abra featuring Stickz Greenz “Play” — So sexy, it causes in me the same ache to listen to as a hot guy does to look at. -RJ
Y: Ledisi, “High” — Ledisi displays all her pretty, expansive range here and some lovely swag. It’s a song I’d throw on in moments when I’m feeling lesser and need a lift. Self-love! -CH
Y: J Hus, “Common Sense”—Just when I recommended J Hus’s “Did You See” for song of the summer, in my boy swooped with the video for “Common Sense,” a more traditional rap track in which the London 20-year-old stunts like King Jay Z on a Just Blaze beat during the Roc-a-Fella era (RIP), throwing quid instead of Benjamins. I can’t get enough of his debut album. —JES