Yike: Justin Bieber, “2 Much” - Martin Luther King, Jr.’s voice being the first thing you hear when you turn on the new Justin Bieber album is not something I expected today to give me, but here we are. That would probably seem weird enough in the wokest of Bieber tunes, but “2 Much” is a romantic piano ballad that has little apparent engagement with social justice. (By the way, the King quote here—“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”—is one of two featured on Justice.) Slapping some samples on another album of love tunes is just about the definition of doing the least. What exactly is his point, and who does he think he’s fooling with it? —Rich Juzwiak
LOL What?: Addison Rae, “Obsessed” - Here’s what I know about Addison Rae: She’s a TikTok celebrity who hangs out with the Kardashian-Jenner clan a lot and will star in the upcoming She’s All That remake, He’s All That. Here’s what I don’t know about Addison Rae: Whether or not she’s actually a singer, and her new single “Obsessed” hasn’t gotten me any closer to answering that question. Few people are really taking this track seriously (it’s already getting compared to the music you’d hear in JC Penney or Claire’s) and I don’t really blame them. Look, who cares if you got your start dancing on TikTok? A bop is a bop, and this song has the elements of being a bop; I’ll admit, she almost had me when she crept into the chorus. But I’m just not buying the execution. Rae sings, “You say you’re obsessed with me, so I took a second... and I said, “Me too”/I’m obsessed me-e-e as much as you/say you’d die for me, I’d die for me-e too.” This is the kind of narcissism (er, I mean, self-love? Is that what this is?) that I’d want to hear from an Ariana Grande or a budding pop diva. From Addison Rae? I don’t know. I just don’t buy it. Does she even want to do this? The two-minute, 14-second run time has left me skeptical. Also, for someone who became famous for dancing... well, just watch the video and see if you catch my drift. —Ashley Reese
IDK...much to think about: Lana Del Rey, “White Dress” - I’ve listened to this song a few times now, and with each listen I like it more and more. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it at first, or that I love it now. But what I first found tough to listen to, like Lana’s strained voice as she attempts a higher register that is simply out of her range, I now find endearing and vulnerable. The references to The White Stripes and Kings of Leon reminded me of my own musical coming of age as a teen in the 2000s and got me into the nostalgic timescape that Lana set up for me, a time that was innocent, just like the “white dress” Lana repeatedly refers to. So maybe in a week I’ll love this track, and add it to my playlist of songs to listen to when I feel like pretending that I’m a sad girl in an indie film. But for now? It’s... sweet, but I found myself bored. In fact, I’m listening to Lana’s new album, Chemtrails over the Country Club, right now, and I’m disappointed by how bored I am. I say this as a longtime Lana fan, but, eh, it’s just not hitting yet.
I have nothing substantive to add about the music video. I think Lana’s California Americana schtick works, but sometimes it comes across as a lazy crutch in the visuals department. —AR
YES: Kali Uchis, “telepatía”: It’s not a brand-new song—it’s from 2020's Sin Miedo (del Amor y Ochos Demonios)—but the clip, directed by Uchis herself and featuring an indelible vamp in front of a spotlight that compliments the track’s weeded mind-meld slink, is aspirational for the kind of summer I hope we’re all going to have when we get the vax. If I’m unable to slather on loads of glitter eye shadow and ride a bike with my ass out, so help me god... —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd