Miley Cyrus Possibly Finds Her Place, and Kelly Rowland Talks Her Shit


Unabashedly, yes: Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus, “Nothing Breaks Life a Heart” – It seems Miley has finally found her place (as opposed to all the other places she’d like to appropriate, excuse me, occupy) and guess what? It’s not bad! In fact, it’s really good! A pop song with country twang and her affecting mezzo-soprano, she gives believable depth to a track that could otherwise be silly; she pulls off the corny chorus, “And this broken record, spinning in circles/In the bars, spin ’round in the bars/This world can hurt you, it cuts you deep and leaves a scar/Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart.” Our fearless leader Julianne Escobedo Shepherd called it a Neko Case song, and I don’t totally disagree. In fact, I’m delighted. —Maria Sherman

Cool: Kelly Rowland, “Kelly” – In case you happened to forget Kelly Rowland’s name, it’s KELLY. She’s back to “talk her shit,” as the kids say and to remind you in third person that she’s got bands and a man, she has class and ass, and she’s done being humble. Not a super earworm hit, but it’s something sufficient to bop to, plus everyone in the world should have a song titled after themselves. Congrats if your name is Kelly and you’re listening to this. —Clover Hope

It’s cute!: The Beths, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – New Zealand indie pop-punkers The Beths are one of my favorite new bands, and who isn’t a sucker for a holiday cover, especially when the equation goes: fresh act + familiar tune? There’s a gratuitous guitar solo in here that you could probably do without, but I won’t. Frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes’ voice so soft and light and gosh, is it even December yet? —MS

No: Zayn, “Rainberry”: I am tired of Zayn and putting a ban on him releasing new music, but he won’t listen ’cause he has an entire album coming out. —CH

Proud of these lads: Shame, “Dust on Trial” (music video) – It’s been a few months since I first discovered Shame, a British rock band with a post-punk edge and an energetic stage presence that I can only describe as Johnny Rotten meets early Blink 182 meets Labrador retriever puppy. Suffice to say, I cannot stop talking about them, and I’m glad they’ve given me another reason to talk about them. The lads just dropped a music video for “Dust on Trial,” the opening song of their debut album Songs of Praise, which came out in January. The horror themed video is a major departure from the band’s previous videos, which lean more goofy than not. It’s a bit formulaic (one Youtube commenter asked “is this get out but with white people?”), but some elements of the video reveal literal flashes of originality (and a spot of gore). If the video isn’t your speed, whatever: the song “Dust on Trial” is great on its own. —Ashley Reese

OK, DAD SURE: Alejandro Sanz, “No Tengo Nada” – It is pleasantly surprising to see that while artists like Juanes and Carlos Vives have gone through a refresh of sorts in both their aesthetic and sound, Sanz remains true to his overly dramatic lyrics and sensual ballads. How long has he had this peppered hair? What exactly is the message of this video? What time is it at this diner? Why is no one else there? Do their shakes suck? I have a lot of questions and very little answers, but I’m okay with that because Sanz’s instantly recognizable raspy voice will always be a favorite, for myself and many Latina moms, I’m sure. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo

Yes and No: Meek Mill feat. Cardi B, “On Me” – Can you hear Philly screaming? Meek Mill dropped a new album and it includes a song with the “big boss bitch.” Though it’s not my cup of tea, Cardi’s verse is fire, and proves yet again that her addition to just about any song (including Maroon 5’s somehow popular but eternally wack “Girls Like You”) immediately elevates it. She sings “I been hard workin’ and humble,” as if we don’t already know. While you listen to this, give Meek’s NYT op-ed a read. —ELC

Y: Phoebe Bridgers, “Christmas Song” — Sometimes you need a holiday song that isn’t overly cheery, that acknowledges that these days can be hard on anything. “Christmas Song” leans hard into that—potentially does overboard with it. “Sadness comes crashing, like a brick through the window,” Bridgers sings over delicate piano. “And it’s Christmas so no one can fix it.” It’s a clever bit of songwriting, much like we’re used to hearing from Bridgers, a nod to everything being closed on the holidays and the feeling that sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about the drama and the complex emotions that bubble up this time of year. It’s comforting and quiet, a nice listen for days when you need a little of both. —Frida Garza

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