Are We About To Witness Kacey Musgraves’s Sad-Girl Era?

Entries from Halsey, BTS featuring Megan thee Stallion, and the Candyman score round out his week's new music


Y: Kacey Musgraves, “justified” – If the collection of words “Kacey Musgraves divorce album” has you prepared for salty, “High Horse”-style country songs, “justified” is here to correct that assumption. Where Golden Hour was a love letter to her new marriage filled with sunsets and butterflies, the first single from her new album Star-Crossed embraces sadness over scorn. With crunchy, mellow production that honestly reminds me of Dido and Natalie Imbruglia, we might be entering Musgraves’s sad girl era. – Hazel Cills

Y: Halsey, “You asked for this” – Halsey’s fourth album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, comes with a robust vision. Its conceptual richness is alluring in itself, before you even hit “Play”—it’s an album-long collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it’s a full-length rumination on “the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth” (per Halsey’s Instagram), it’s a conscious turning away from pure pop to something more adventurous. It’s also teeming with hooks—so many that any number of its tracks could have appeared in this space as representative of this record. I chose “You asked for this” because of its particularly deft replication of ’90s alterna-vibes. The effect of Halsey’s voice on top of a bed of distorted guitars is reminiscent of the Breeders (though this song goes down more smoothly than that band’s reliably jagged output). Nice work! —Rich Juzwiak

Meh: BTS feat Megan Thee Stallion, “Butter” – This remix feels like a strong example of not knowing when to leave well enough alone. “Butter” was not my favorite tune to come from BTS but it was a bop and something to hum in the car as a mood booster. As great as Meg is, she really isn’t adding anything to this track but she also isn’t taking away from it. She’s just kind of tossed in there without any real purpose. —Shannon Melero

Y (but I’m scared): Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, “Music Box” – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s dissonant and corroded score for Nia DaCosta’s new Candyman film is pure ambient terror. It’s the kind of record that would be scary to listen to while home alone, and perhaps a future Halloween staple. While much of it is more on the abstract side, it does include some tunes. “Music Box” interpolates “Helen’s Theme” from Philip Glass’s score of the 1992 original Candyman, slowing it down and adding some texture that sounds like string-formed bees’ buzzing or maybe mounting dread made literal. —RJ

Y: Caribou, “You Can Do It” – This (for now) one-off single from Canada’s Dan Snaith features a looping vocal sample (“You can do it!”) so enthusiastic that it slips out of sync with the warm house track underneath. The effect is sheer excitement, like that of a dog stepping outside for her first walk of the day. And speaking of dogs, slow-motion footage of them running and catching (and, to a more hilarious effect, missing) Frisbee tosses comprises the video. A wholesome serving of determination all around! —RJ

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