Period: Megan Thee Stallion, “Southside Forever Freestyle” - For Megan Thee Stallion’s 26th birthday, the Hot Girl gave us a present. “Southside Forever Freestyle” is a fun little throwback to what made Megan a force to reckon with in the first place: Her natural talent and confidence. Take away the high-profile collabs with people like Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, and Nicki Minaj, and you’ve got a young woman from Houston whose flow can run laps around your fave, and “Southside Forever Freestyle” acts as a helpful reminder for those who dared forget. There was one moment early on in the song that gave me pause, but in a good way. She gave a shout out to her mother and grandmother, both of whom died not long after her career started to take off. “I’m goin hard for my mama / She knew I could do it / I pray every day just to prove it,” Megan raps. We see it, sis. We see it! —Ashley Reese
Fine: Sam Fischer, Demi Lovato, “What Other People Say” - Lovato’s diaristic singing hits harder than most; she controls her emotive range with the same precision she does her vocal one. And for that reason, partnered with a few too many references to “God,” “What Other People Say” feels like a trip to church. And because of her talent, Lovato accidentally drowns out Sam Fischer (who?), though that doesn’t strike me as a hard thing to do.
This is definitely Christian music, right? Asking for me. —Maria Sherman
If you like ‘em, sure: Haim, “Gasoline” featuring Taylor Swift: I wish I liked Haim. They look like they’re having fun, Haim fans always seem like they’re having a great time with every new release, and I’m here feeling... nothing. I don’t know why their music doesn’t do it for me, but I always give them a fair shot whenever they release a new track. Unfortunately, “Gasoline” didn’t help me see the light. If you like Haim and Taylor Swift, though, you’ll probably be into it. I’m jealous of you! Enjoy! —AR
Ja: Iceage, “Vendetta” - This is black leather, motorcycle dive, chain-smoking, lodge-room music—mad at the world, out for revenge, institutional frustration met not with defeatism, but generational rage. Though Danish punks Iceage have long abandoned their hardcore roots, they maintain their severity—“I’mma gonna getcha,” singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt corrodes each chorus, and I say, let their freak flags wave. —MS
Hell yeah: Mystic Inane, Natural Beauty 7" - I couldn’t pick a fave track from New Orleans punks’ latest EP, Natural Beauty, but all four songs run less than ten minutes total—it’s worth the commitment. Each song is scrappy, discordant excellence—a shot of adrenaline to the heart. According to Rough Trade, this is the last EP the band recorded before breaking up, so enjoy it now and fantasize about a world where we can see bands this tight, live, again. Hopefully that experience isn’t posthumous, too. —MS
Fucking fuck yeah!!!!: Bass Drum of Death/Eve6, “You Were Right” - Harron Walker is a personal friend—one of the best—and a contributor to this website, who is now featured in the video above. With this disclosure out of the way, let me just say how frankly delicious this song and cameo are. Good for Harron, but even better for Eve 6, and by mutual association, Bass Drum of Death, who benefit from her presence. Slow and sensual, with a drum like the beating of a heart and vocals so frayed I want to crank my headphones up loud enough to break my eardrums—what more could anyone possibly want! —Joan Summers