Yes!: “Simple Times” by Kacey Musgraves: Summer’s last gasp is a perfect time for a sunny and melancholy divorce album from my favorite space cowboy. Rumor has it there is also an entire short film attached to this album, Lemonade-style, and if you are a sucker and have Paramount+ so that you could watch old episodes of Bar Rescue and also Drag Race, you can watch her cinema. The song and (accompanying video above) is not my favorite off of star-crossed, but I imagine when viewed in situ, it makes sense. There’s Meg Stalter! There’s Symone! And there’s a lovely Kill Bill-ish revenge scene in a bridal salon. Let’s all put on our headphones and go for a contemplative walk outside before winter’s dark returns. —Megan Reynolds
Thanks but no: Ed Sheeran, “Shivers” - This track from Ed’s upcoming album feels very much like the unloved sister to his last single release, “Bad Habits.” Other than the lack of any musical interest, the song feels like it’s simply meant to have that hypnotic repetition present in most mid-level pop songs that exist for a season and then fade. I hope that this isn’t indicative of how the rest of his album is going to sound, but he’s starting to worry me. —Shannon Melero
Eh: Lana del Rey, “Arcadia” - Just asking some questions: At what point does cultivating a style amount to repeating oneself? Is it okay to have a brown period that lasts for the entirety of your career, even if the brown is more sepia than poop brown? And speaking of poop, is it even possible to distinguish any urgency Lana del Rey has at this point from just the farting out of melancholy? In other news, Lana sings, “My body is a map of L.A.,” a few times in this first Blue Banisters single. I wouldn’t have guessed, but that doesn’t surprise me in the least. —Rich Juzwiak
God yes: Halsey, “Girl is a Gun” - In the two weeks since the release of If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, I have been thinking about how I should have spotlighted this track in this column instead of the ‘90s alterna-referencing one that I did include. Well, this fixes that. This is vaguely Depeche Mode doing jungle with positively foreboding synth smears in the sky above. Can’t get enough of it! —RJ
I mean, sure!: Chloe, “Have Mercy” - What I can safely say about this new release from Chloe Bailey of Chloe x Halle fame is this: The video is incredibly fun. In it, Chloe is part sorority girl, part modern-day Medusa, attracting men like moths to a flame before turning them into big ol’ hunks of himbo stone. The outfits are fun, the dancing is sexy, Chloe is beautiful, and there are a few fun cameos from artist Bree Runway and Tina Knowles (better known as Beyonce’s mom). With that said, if I listen to the song as-is, without the visual aids, it’s Aggressively Fine.
The chorus is admittedly addicting, and there are some fun little one-liners scattered throughout; “Body language like speaking spanglish/I’ll educate ya how to do this shit.” I believe her! Chloe radiates confidence, which is exactly what you need to do with your debut solo R&B single. But I can’t imagine myself listening to this casually on Spotify without getting bored or feeling like I’ve heard this song a million times before. With that said, I’m looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer next. —Ashley Reese