P!NK Can't Hustle, Rosalía, J. Balvin, and El Guincho Will Elevate Your Mood


No: P!nk, “Hustle” – I’m only saying no this to song because I prefer its original form: Elle King’s 2015 jam “Ex’s & Oh’s.” —Maria Sherman

No thanks: G-Eazy and Blueface ft. ALLBLACK, YG, “West Coast” – Who invited G-Eazy? I’m not convinced Blueface isn’t a one-hit wonder just yet—but there’s no doubt “Thotiana” is an impenetrable force in pop culture—and ALLBLACK and YG don’t hit this track until far too late in it to save it. The good news is: I’m sure all these California dudes have about 100 more left coast songs left in them. “West Coast” just isn’t it. —MS

LOL: Kelly Clarkson, “Broken and Beautiful” – The latest feel-good-but-shockingly-dark Kelly Clarkson pop anthem is “Broken and Beautiful” for the Ugly Dolls soundtrack. Unlike, say, 2009’s “Because of You,” which aims to find strength through anger, “Broken and Beautiful” identifies flaws and says, “Fuck it, I’m still perfect.” Succinct—and slightly hilarious—messaging for the 2019 crowd, and for a bunch of gross-looking toys. —MS

Yes: Control Top, “Covert Contracts” – Finally, a modern post-punk song that perfectly encapsulates a peculiar, technology-driven anxiety brought into the world by Philadelphia’s Control Top. Singer Ali Carter shoots off with robotic precision the chorus: “Everything looks like a commercial / It’s a brand to be controversial / First step is to give up your attention / Next step is to give up your intention / Then one day you’re locked up for dissension / It was all built into the invention,” a guide to how consumer culture paralyzes people. It’s certainly something to consider when scrolling aimlessly, and it doesn’t hurt that the track rips. —MS

Y: Rosalía and J Balvin ft. El Guincho, “Con Altura” – Elevate your mood, sonic taste buds, and Spring mood board with this one. Spanish flamenco-pop queen Rosalía wanted to pay homage to classic reggaeton, so she naturally tapped Balvin—one of the biggest names in the genre right now whom she shares with a manager with—as well as El Mal Querer’s producer El Guincho (Pablo Díaz-Reixa), to unleash the perfect follow-up to her album. In a similar case to “Brillo,” she dominates and floats in a cloud all her own above the gents here with her unique range and style—the latter of which she got to show off in the fun video above directed by Canadian Director X, who’s known for working with Drake and others. As the rest of the world catches on to Rosalía and her global fame rapidly escalates, I hope she never stops experimenting and having fun with it. “Iré joven pa’ la sepultura” she sings, which roughly translates to young ‘til the grave. Same. — Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo

zZz: Lion Babe, Cosmic Wind –I like this but don’t love it, and was hoping the R&B duo would lean more into their already established sound for their sophomore album rather than stay in the safe zone of the genre. “Treat Me Like Fire” and Begin as a whole were, I imagine, difficult to follow-up on though, and if the more laid back, anti-hit machine vibe is what they were going for, then they succeeded. The album starts off strong with “Cosmic Wind” – and has a few other high notes including “Reminisce,” my personal favorite, but veers into snoozy safe margins in between. I look forward to seeing what they whip up next. —ELC

Y: Bomba Estéreo and Systema Solar, “ Carnavalera” – If I couldn’t actually be at Carnaval in Panama or Colombia this year, then playing this on repeat for now feels like the natural, best alternative. It’s impossible to not move while listening to these two Caribbean-infused rhythms come together. —ELC

N: Alejandro Sanz and Camila Cabello, “Mi Persona Favorita” – It brings me no joy to do this as I historically love Sanz and am desperate for Cabello to be known for another song aside from the now dreadful and overplayed “Havana,” but I don’t think these two are a good match vocally or personality-wise. I will say, I think the video amplifies the cheesiness here, making it a better listen than watch. —ELC

Y: Combo Chimbita, “Esto Es Real” – Similarly to Bomba Estéreo, listening to this Colombian-American quartet’s music feels like a nearly spiritual experience. Lead singer Carolina Oliveros’s voice is hypnotic and entrancing as she sings about destiny, strength, and curiosity. —ELC

Y: Okay Kaya, “Believe” (Cher cover) – Okay Kaya strips Cher’s “Believe” of its ability to create a critical mass on the dance floor and turns it into stirring bedroom pop about, well, life after love. The Norwegian singer’s delivery is quiet and self-assured against barely-there synths; it’s almost the complete inverse of the original, but melodic and lovely in its own way. —Frida Garza

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin