The genre of music has never been more diverse, technically complex, and beautifully recorded. As a result, it’s impossible for anyone to think they’ve heard every new song worth hearing. That’s a good thing, too. Music composition, construction, and instrumentation have never been better, and today’s artists stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before them.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear a singer with such an ear for melody and an ability to convey a song’s emotional weight. That’s why Ashley McBryde’s country-music ode to the small town she grew up in, Lindeville, packs such a punch. Sure, it’s a concept album with a fictitious town at its center, but the songs feel remarkably real. That’s especially true of “The Girl in the Picture,” a track that stealthily meditates on loneliness and abandonment.
Jeremih’s been quiet since his COVID-related comeback in 2020, but the club R&B icon is making a steady return with this catchy homage to ’90s funk. He’s backed by a slew of talented guests, including the likes of 50 Cent, Tinashe, and DJ Khaled. Whether the song itself is about his struggles with addiction or just a reminder that “you can make it through anything,” its a powerful reminder of his ability to turn the hurt into the healing.
As the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album, the deluxe edition of Anti-Hero, this song finds Kesha in a more personal place than her jubilant collaboration with Lil Nas X last year. With her vocal range expanding to high and low registers, Kesha sounds stronger than ever, and her lyrics are even more poignant. “It’s a whole lot easier to get to your destination when the journey is your destination,” she sings, acknowledging that there are times when life is just a long road trip with no end in sight.
It’s a theme that runs through many of the album’s songs, particularly its lead-off track and title track. The latter is a reimagining of Kilo Ali’s booty-bass rap classic from the late eighties and early nineties, but it’s one of the most clever sampling exercises on the record. It’s also a song that focuses on the suffering of women in our current political climate and emphasizes the role that women have played in both oppression and resistance.