Y/N is a guide to the week’s music releases based on our highly scientific, non-subjective Yes/No rating system.
Pass: Zayn “Too Much” feat. Timbaland – The most despondent former One Direction member continues his streak of releasing songs that sound like the musical equivalent of hotboxing your friend’s car. “Too Much” is lighter, bouncier than “Sour Diesel,” with a beat that calls to mind Kanye’s “Flashing Lights,” but the robo-Timbaland feature is weird and a real missed opportunity. For a song about excess, this song really sounds like nothing at all. —Frida Garza
Cool: Tink, “M.I.A.” (video) - Tink comes through with a ride-or-die, Bonnie & Clyde video for a song that has an easy summer bounce and flow to it. The beach setting here reminds me of a Ashanti videos circa Rock Wit U although some of it does look like it was just shot on an iPhone. I’m not jumping off the walls for it, but it’s cool! —Clover Hope
Si: Becky G, “Cuando Te Besé” feat. Paulo Londra (video) - Becky G, known in most circles (if known at all) as the one-hit wonder behind “Shower,” has fully rebranded into a Latin pop powerhouse and I’m not mad at it at all: “Cuando Te Besé” is the slow burner I didn’t know I wanted this week. I don’t see it having much staying power but it’s working for me today. Sometimes that’s all you hope for, ya know? —Maria Sherman
Nah: 5 Seconds of Summer, “Youngblood” (video) - This feels a bit sacrilegious because I am Jezebel’s resident (re: only) 5SOS Stan, but boy, howdy, is this Tokyo greaser vid a letdown. I appreciate the effort—with their latest album, Youngblood, the once poppy-punky boy band from down under sought to rebrand as arena rockers, which I assume inspired within them the desire to make more artful visual decisions. They did, here, and it’s a total mis-pairing. Perhaps if their music was more experimental, or paid tribute to the place or time they fetishize in some capacity, it would work. I just... I don’t know. It’s corny? —MS
Yes: Ella Mai, “Trip” – Ella Mai will not go gentle into the night. Her follow-up single to the runaway hit “Boo’d Up” is stripped down, just her, a beat, and a faint piano, but the set-up really shows off just how cool and confident Mai sounds when she’s singing. There’s plenty of head-bopping moments here, if it’s not a straight a bop all the way through, and if nothing else, it makes me excited to see where else Mai can go, lyrically and sonically. —FG
Maybe: Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny and Arcangel, “Satisfacción” – Nicky dropped a new slow jam with polyphonic sounds splashed throughout, in collaboration with two other artists who sing in distinctly different keys—which gives them each room to shine. Ever since Bad Bunny’s “Amorfada,” I’ve been hoping for him to drop more slow, sadboi songs that expose a sensitive good-boy side of his that bleeds through in his music, sandwiched in between vulgar sexual references, and makes him attractive in every way. This gave me a taste of what more of that could look like. Though I likely won’t be coming back to this song, I don’t hate it. —Ecleen Caraballo
Frank Ocean, “Strawberry Swing” - I saw a photo of Frank Ocean paying tribute to a drag queen legend and thought, I missed Frank Ocean, which is a thought I frequently have because he refuses to indulge my need to see him more. For now, I’m revisiting the mixtape that made him famous slash made me fall in love with him (Nostalgia, Ultra), and when I do, I often go back to his yearning cover of Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing.” Reflections on good times. —CH