J. Lo Has Pretty Good Medicine, Aventura Returns, and BLACKPINK Makes Stadium Music


Hell yes: BLACKPINK, “Kill This Love” (video) – In a pop music universe populated with the soft and sad stylings of a young Billie Eilish (and I mean no disrespect, I do like her album), there’s something so incredibly large, loud, and in your face about BLACKPINK. “Kill This Love” is planet-sized: massive stadium organs, colossal hooks—I found it impossible to only listen to once. It’s so good, in fact, I’m almost envious of the people who will see them later this month at Coachella. (I say “almost” because, you know, it’s Coachella.) —Maria Sherman

Yes: Jennifer Lopez feat. French Montana, “Medicine” – Who knew Jennifer Lopez’s first solo single this year was going to hit so hard? Those horns! Think I need some medicine, indeed. —MS

Am I feeling overly optimistic this week? Because yes, again: The Jonas Brothers, “Cool” – It wouldn’t be ethical to start this blurb without a disclaimer: I am all for the Jonas Brothers reunion. From their brilliantly self-referential teasers to their latest single “Sucker,” I truly feel in my heart of hearts that they’ve done the revival thing as correctly as possible. That said: I was not expecting to like their cheery second single, “Cool,” as much as I loved the first. It’s bright, it references Game of Thrones, it’s an anthem for those of us who had a shitty 2018 and for some reason, are hopeful for this year. I love a pop song that, at the end of the day, simply declares, “Man, I feel good.” —MS

Y: Palehound, “Aaron” – Few things destroy me quite like a whisper-sung, honest, narrative Palehound track, especially when it relates directly to bodily discomfort. (Disclaimer: that happens a lot.) Palehound is the indiepop project of Boston musician Ellen Kempner, and “Aaron” is her latest. In a statement to The Fader, Kempner described the song as such: “Aaron is a character that represents my partner, who is trans. It’s not specific to his experience though, the song is about change in relation to our bodies in general. It’s about learning to be comfortable in our skins, whether that means changing our bodies or mindsets.” It’s a complicated undertaking executed beautifully. —MS

Y: Amber Mark, “Mixer” (video) – I hear the faint cry of summer call my name when I listen to this song (whose co-writer, Andrew Wyatt, won an Oscar for “Shallow”), much like a classic Amerie jam or, going way back, Groove Theory. Amber Mark wears a fur coat in the video while treating the pavement like her personal runway. —Clover Hope

Pero Claro: Aventura (!!!), “Inmortal” – I am elated that after a freakin’ decade of leaving us hanging out to dry, this beloved Dominican boy band is back with the same old, in need of no edits, classic bachata swing. For starters, in true overly dramatic Aventura fashion, they hit us with a “novela-ass video” as Jezebel’s EIC Julianne perfectly described it. The glass cage! The iconic bass solo! A science experiment of some sort??? Several words seductively whispered! Many leather jackets. A nude Romeo Santos in fetal position! As they sing about immortal love, their melodies seep into corners of the soul that hold memories their music served as the soundtrack to. The song and video begs an immediate replay. Santos also released an album today with no warning because he could not let this steal his shine. Grab a mamajuana and enjoy! —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo

Si/Yes/Sim: Anitta, Kisses – Anitta’s long-awaited tri-lingual album is reflective of her past year in music. Honoring her Brazilian roots with two Portuguese songs, she remains loyal to her longtime followers but looks ahead while wistfully and seductively hoping to attract and widen her Anglo following while expanding her Latinx one. Her Spanish-language ventures continue to be the best of the batch. Most notably, “Banana” featuring Becky G. The 10-track album has 10 other collaborations as well, including a few oddballs like Snoop Dogg, Swae Lee, and Alesso. World notoriety is clearly the goal here. —ELC

Wrong Number?: Rubén Blades, “Love Me or Leave Me” – Rubén, is that you? In the HBO documentary “Yo No Me Llamo Ruben Blades” on the lawyer/singer/actor’s life, he mentions, in passing, wanting to try new things. I speculated that that meant moving away from music altogether, but luckily that’s not the move. The Panamanian genius is giving previously untouched genres a go but, luckily for us, sticking to his storytelling nature, plus heavily political voice as is evident in his new collaboration with Making Movies and Flor de Toloache, “Cómo Perdonar.” —ELC

OK, BOO: Miguel, Te Lo Dije – The smoothest of them all pulled off his first (mostly) Spanish-lang EP, a fresh take on 5 tracks in 2017’s War & Leisure. He wisely tapped Flor de Toloache, Kali Uchis, C. Tangana and Argentinian singers/songwriters Dante Spinetta and Emmanuel Horvilleur to help ensure proper translation and vibe throughout. In a press release he says Crazy, I think I like these songs better in Spanish.I can’t say I 100-percent agree but this did remind me of an old goodie, “destinado a morir,” which was just a taste of what was to come. —ELC

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin