Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Lana del Rey Is Back (Even Though She Never Left)

The "Blue Banisters" video is rife with a Southwest-Instagram-influencer-with-550k-followers-dabbling-with-trad-wife-aesthetics schtick.

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Man, IDK: Lana Del Rey, “Blue Banisters” — I love Lana del Rey, so I’m pained to admit that “Blue Banisters” just isn’t hitting for me. I mean, maybe Lana’s Southwest-Instagram-influencer-with-550k-followers-dabbling-with-trad-wife-aesthetics schtick just isn’t for me, and that’s the only way I can describe the music video (and all her recent music videos, frankly). But even ignoring the visuals, the song simply... bores me. I’ll admit, it sounds very pretty, at moments. The first line, where Lana delivers a frank description of a photo of herself sitting on a John Deere, demands attention, and I gave it to her. But, after the 45-second mark, I lost focus — and not just because I’ve run out of my ADHD meds. The release of “Blue Banisters” accompanies an album by the same name, Lana’s second this year. Her songwriting and storytelling abilities have demonstrably improved since her early albums, that much is clear, even with these sleepy new songs of hers. It’s why I’m disappointed that upon my first couple of listens, the only tracks that managed to move me were “Dealer” and the last half of “Wildflower Wildfire.”

Maybe I just need to give it more time to settle in. Or maybe I’ll cut my losses and see what Lana’s next album yields. —Ashley Reese


Through tears, Y: Olivia Rodrigo, “traitor”  Rodrigo is the undisputed pop queen of 2021 and this heart-aching track has only continued her reign. The harmonies here make me want to return to my teen years and quietly sob in my 2004 Volkswagen Jetta while driving past my crush’s block. The video simultaneously evokes gritty Euphoria energy with its glitter and arcade lights, providing pure aesthetic delight. Come for Rodrigo’s instantly iconic fur-trimmed coat, stay for the devastating lyrics about being gaslit. — Jenna Amatulli

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I’m too old for this: Willow and Avril Lavigne featuring Travis Barker, “G R O W” - Apparently it’s possible to outgrow some kinds of music. This song sticks to a punk rock formula but manages to entirely skip the step that involves using either very good or utterly nonsensical lyrics. I want to like it, but I think it’s meant for the next generation of rebellious plaid-wearing teens. - Shannon Melero  

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Just a no: ABBA, “Just a Notion” - It’s great that the gang’s all back together, and I’m not mad at the tune (as similar as the arrangement is to “Waterloo”), but there’s something so... murky about this recent recording of a song the supergroup originally worked on in 1978. The harmonies are flabby and too far back in the mix. The music sounds like it’s coming from the next room. I want ABBA to pummel me in the face with their sugar music. This sounds... extremely 40 years later. —Rich Juzwiak

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Yuh: Flo Milli, “Ice Baby” A COLORS Show — Flo Milli and the stripped-down COLORS set is a match made in heaven. Also heaven-sent: Flo Milli’s flow, as usual. The second she switches it up and raps “mad ‘cause I gotta be oneofthebitchesgettinmoneyinthiseconomy” she had me hook, line, and sinker. I felt like I had to take a breath. Flo Milli is more than the (brilliant) Beef FloMix that first put her on, and I can safely say that every release she’s come out with has been a delight. We need more! —AR

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Y: Wet featuring Blood Orange, “Bound” Alongside Blood Orange, Brooklyn’s perpetually hyped Wet turn in a skeletal electro-pop ballad that goes down so smooth, it must count as forward-thinking adult contemporary. It’s so hip, it’s unafraid to sound like it isn’t: Normcore for your ears. —RJ

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Certainly: Animal Collective, “Prester John” — Look, it’s no “My Girls” or “Fireworks,” but I don’t hate this new Animal Collective song at all. The build-up delivers a gentle but rewarding payoff, the harmonizing is stellar, and now I want to smoke some weed. So, as far as I’m concerned, they’ve accomplished what they needed to. —AR