Here's the Star-Spangled Banner Sung by 2 Angels (Chloe x Halle)

I pledge allegiance only to these women: Chloe x Halle, “The Star-Spangled Banner” - This isn’t the first time the blessed sisters have performed the national anthem, but it is their best rendition thus far. What really made this special and even gave me chills was the presentation. The shirts, the fists, the stares directly into the camera to let us know they aren’t fucking around. They are incapable of anything less than perfection. —Shannon Melero

Mmmbop, ba duba NOPE: Hanson, “Miss You Like Crazy” - I am unsure whether this track is supposed to be an ode to Billy Joel or an earnest attempt at making music. Either way, Hanson is all grown up and utterly devoid of any lyrical or vocal talent. The vocals are so awful that half of what lead Hanson brother is trying to sing is indiscernible. But it appears Hanson brother #2 has retained some strumming skills so good for him. —SM


Why of course: Joni Mitchell, “House of the Rising Sun” - The vaults of the singer-songwriter-est of all Joni Mitchell are set to be excavated in a series of box sets starting with the October 30 release of Archives - Volume 1: The Early Years (1963-1967). Her earliest known recording, a cover of the folk standard “House of the Rising Sun,” from a Saskatoon radio broadcast in 1963, has been released as the first taste of the five-disc set. While not terribly exciting, it’s lovely to hear her voice in its full acrobatic glory, and this statement she released on the upcoming box set is just the Joniest bit of simultaneous self-discovery and -flattery and I am delighted to share it: “The early stuff, I shouldn’t be such a snob against it. A lot of these songs, I just lost them. They fell away. They only exist in these recordings. For so long I rebelled against the term, ‘I was never a folksinger.’ I would get pissed off if they put that label on me. I didn’t think it was a good description of what I was. And then I listened and…it was beautiful. It made me forgive my beginnings. And I had this realization…I was a folksinger!” —Rich Juzwiak

Nah: M.I.A., “CTRL” - I’m only human, and for that reason, I love and appreciate M.I.A.’s love and appreciation for dry, terse hi-hats and signature percussion, but “CTRL” feels unnecessary. I mean, at one point, she offers the heavy-handed rap, “Face mask ski mask, now you think you’re hard,” and in another, “Standing in the way of the trolls/ Everything they say about me’s false.” That’s innocuous at best, but according to Pitchfork, “CTRL” was written in support of her confidante Julian Assange, the alleged sexual predator and confirmed bad person, and that’s just not something to get behind. It’s a pass from me. Go listen to Kala instead. —Maria Sherman

Huh: The Vamps, “Chemicals” - Upon first listen, “Chemicals” registers like British pop-rock band of boys (a.k.a., “don’t call ‘em a boy band” boy band) The Vamps were going for a 2019 Jonas Brothers-meets-2018 5 Seconds of Summer, psuedo-industrial pop thing—guitars are still in, but the love songs about girls have become increasingly more sexual. It kind of works? —MS


Yes, yes, yes: Shame, “Alphabet” - Post-punk band Shame is (finally) back, two years after the release of their debut album Songs of Praise. Their new song, “Alphabet,” is a strong comeback, deliciously chaotic with an equally frenzied music video to match. The video might border on absurdist, but it matches the spirit that defines this band perfectly. Is “Alphabet” the most accessible Shame song? Nah, their songs “One Rizla” and “Concrete” are still the songs I use to introduce prospective fans to this band. But “Alphabet” is no radical departure from their previous work; the energy that makes Shame, well, Shame is still there, and this single has only left me more eager to see what else they have in store for their new album. We need it, lads! —Ashley Reese



100000% YES: Linea Aspera, “Solar Flare” - Eight years ago, when I was a college radio DJ whose biggest conundrum was figuring out which goth gig I should attend next Friday night and not the impending apocalypse, Berlin darkwave duo Linea Aspera (musicians Zoè Zanias and Ryan Ambridge) released their self-titled debut LP and ruined my life—reactivating a lifelong-yet-dormant obsession with minimal synth wave and ‘80s italo disco. The next year, they broke up. Fast forward to 2020 and they’re back with a second full-length record, as polished and ready for doomsday at Berghain as they always have been. Listen to the whole thing, but begin with “Solar Flare.” —MS

Some Pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.