Iggy Azalea Tries to 'Clap Back,' But It's Offbeat


LOL: Iggy Azalea, “Clap Back” – Australia-via-ATL rapper Iggy Azalea just released her sophomore album In My Defense, which… okay, sure, fine. Iggy is easy to clown, and while I can’t say I’m a fan, I’ll admit she has some good songs (“Pussy” was great, and I genuinely like “Kream”). But, I’m sorry, the second song on this album, “Clap Back,” makes it impossible for me to continue my Iggy journey. The first line of this song (which is later repeated) is “’Cause I talk like this and my ass fat/They be saying Iggy tryna act black.” I mean, that seems like a pretty fair assessment to me. She later says, “They call me racist/Only thing I like is green and blue faces.” Er, okay! This is less of a clap back and more of an airing of grievances. —Ashley Reese

I’d really rather not, but: Sam Smith, “How Do You Sleep?” – On this song, Sam Smith sounds like an abused dog who has cruelly Autotuned his cries. Hurt dogs hurt people. The track is like, “What if we took principles of trap and EDM but removed all the edges for people who are afraid of everything?” And yet, I cannot deny the chorus, which immediately crawled up my spine, into my ear, and wrapped itself around my brain. I know I will not mind hearing this in every counter-service food joint I enter for the next two years, that I will, in fact, secretly enjoy it. I surrender: It’s a good song, I guess. You won this round, Smith, but I’ll be back!!! —Rich Juzwiak

Yes: Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens, “Gone” – I was fully prepared for “Gone” to be a two-rights-make-a-wrong situation, you know, the supergroup-makes-mediocre-art conundrum. And guess what? For once, my skepticism has gotten me nowhere. This insecurity anthem bangs. I also think both parties should pivot to eletroclash. It’s their final evolution. —Maria Sherman

It’s fine: Hayley Kiyoko, “I Wish” – I happen to like almost every Hayley Kiyoko single in existence, but let’s be real here: “I Wish” is no “Curious.” However! The Craft-influenced music video is a good touch, and I appreciate that she’s making her ambition to sing about female love interests—with those pronouns at the forefront—a reality, instead of simply uttering some gender neutral “baby” nonsense to appease a straight audience. —MS

No, but also, lol: Avril Lavigne, “I Fell In Love With The Devil” (music video) – It was only a matter of time before pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne graduated to (Christian) goth queen, but I can’t get over the fact that the “devil” in this music video has the same facial hair as her ex-husband and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger. Look at this photograph, indeed. —MS

Counterpoint…yeah, why not?! – LOL, I kind of like it. The song is better than anything Avril has released in recent years and the Hot Topic-adjacent music video reminds me of a spooky fanfiction I probably read in 2006. What’s not to like? —AR

Yes: UV-TV, “Mirror” – UV-TV, the New York-via-Gainesville garage-y rock band, might be my favorite new project out of the Big Apple in quite some time (it really feels like all the good musicians have moved somewhere else, presumably where they can afford a human-standard of living while pursuing their art—who could blame them.) I found it next to impossible to pick a favorite track from their sophomore LP, so just listen to “Mirror,” and then the whole dang thing. For fans of punk bands who mature into something much more melodic. —MS

Yes: Yuna, “Teenage Heartbreak” – The balance between calm and progress all over Malaysian R&B singer Yuna’s new album Rouge is epitomized by “Teenage Heartbreak.” Unless you really listen with headphones, you might miss its idiosyncrasies: The pin-prick four-on-the-floor, the retorting guitar, the strings that sway like they have vapors. For a song that’s so subtle it feels like it’s from the same genre as a breeze, there’s a lot going on, and at the center of it is the perpetually serene Yuna. —RJ

YES, YES, YES: Vivian Girls, “Sick” – I still beat myself up from time to time for not seeing what everyone believed would be Vivian Girl’s last concert back in 2014, held at a beloved Brooklyn DIY venue which was forced to shut down later that same year after Vice Media snatched up the building. So imagine my surprise earlier this week when I saw a tweet announcing their return, five years after calling it quits. “Sick”—their new single—is classic Vivian Girls: a sea of guitars and dreamy, droning vocals. If you like noise rock or dream pop, there’s little to dislike here. If it’s not your thing, keep it moving. —AR

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