Rita Ora's All-Star 'Girls' Anthem Is a Bust, But Charlie Puth Gives Us Sweet, Sweet Harmony


No, don’t like it: Rita Ora, Charli XCX, Cardi B & Bebe Rexha, “Girls” — When Rita Ora teased the release of this anthem over the past week, I was hoping for a nice, delectable summer banger, but this is more like the song you play after everyone’s left the house party and there’s a bunch of beer cans laying around haphazard. This ode to sexual curiosity basically takes Katy Perry’s “I kiss girls” template and adds a few more people. Unfortunately, it’s uninspiring from the jump when Rita Ora sings, “Her name is Lara/We learned a lot ah.” Cardi’s inclusion doesn’t make it any more interesting ah. –Clover Hope

I like it, like it, like it, like it?: GOT 7, “The New Era” — GOT7 is one of the biggest K-Pop boy bands on the planet, a septet that usually reserves themselves to bilingual, energetic R&B-pop, complete with larger-than-life visual concepts and mind-blowing choreography. Their latest Japanese single, “The New Era,” is, well, just that—the band adopting a new sound most reminiscent of ‘90s hip-hop—the moves are still there, but there’s it appears the sweet boys of K-Pop yore have developed some edge. As the chorus makes all too clear: I like it? –Maria Sherman

N: Christina Aguilera, “Twice” — Mmmm, once’ll do. –Rich Juzwiak

Y (in triple harmony): Charlie Puth featuring Boyz II Men, “If You Leave Me Now” — Charlie Puth was born the same year Boyz II Men released their debut Cooleyhighharmony. Now they’re singing backup for him. Life is weird. Never expected to like an album of blue-eyed soul and disco-inflected yacht rock from the millennial who sang that hit Paul Walker elegy, but Puth’s second album Voicenotes is a consistent joy, with crisp production and a strong sense of melody. Like I said, life is weird. –RJ

Hell yeah: Phantastic Ferniture, “Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin” I can’t stop jamming this single from the happy side project of sad Aussie folk singer Julia Jacklin. While I am choosing to take it literally—this is just a song about having sex on MDMA, right?—I’m assuming from the video it’s just about having a blast on your bike in the summertime. Whatever it is, the harmonies hit me in my soul. –Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Y: Kygo & Miguel, “Remind Me to Forget” — I never get tired of hearing Miguel sing sweet erotic nothings. This song, with its hypnotic overlapping reverb, makes me visualize singing into a canyon while vaping. It also makes me wanna dance with my eyes closed. –CH

*Throwback Corner*

A yes for then, for now, and for tomorrow: Monica, “Before You Walk Out My Life” — I listen to this song so often that Spotify’s algorithm monsters sort it into one of my “Daily Mixes” every single week, usually before 112’s “Cupid,” and followed by Tamia’s “Into You”—the one featuring Fabolous, obviously. This makes me old. That’s fine. This song holds up, though I have the same questions as I did when I saw this video for the first time, namely: why does she spend so much time sitting on the roof? Whatever. Fling wide the curtains and open your windows, put this on as loud as it will go, and enjoy. –Megan Reynolds

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