Miley Cyrus Is Still Searching For Her Lane

No, thank you: Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now”: Here’s the lead single from Miley Cyrus’s latest attempt to prove to the world that she’s done with the twerking and sticking her tongue out between her two fingers in a V shape and waggling it back and forth. She’s back to her roots! Her hair is regular! She’s fully dressed! I’m sure we’re supposed to see this as progress, but really, the song is a grating earworm that makes me wish Miley would just release a country record and call it a night.—Megan Reynolds


Nah: Justin Bieber ft. Blood Pop, “Friends”: Bieber starts out this song, which sounds like a boring Weeknd reject, asking a presumed ex how her mom is doing. And that’s really all you need to know! - Hazel Cills

Yazzir: “LSD,” the latest sublime offering from exceptional singer Jamila Woods (with a cameo from Chance the Rapper), is a reminder of how elevated her voice can art-direct any rhythm. On an outré cricket-beat such as this, though, it fully envelops you, and the depictions of beautiful black people (“HERO/BLACK” reads her shirt) around Chicago clinches it. I’m so excited for her new shit! —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Ja: Makthaverskan, “In My Dreams”: Makthaverskan are a band from Sweden and they make indie-pop songs heavy on the reverb with frequently great, howling vocal performances from singer Maja Milner. Their latest, “In My Dreams,” is no exception. - HC

Y: Gorillaz, “Strobelite (Kaytranada Remix)”: Stripping down a highlight from Gorillaz’s prohibitively dense fifth album, Humanz, and slapping his limping-disco beat on it, Kayranada parses out the excellence of this midtempo funk track by Peven Everett. As it often happens, Kayranada makes remixing seem like doing the Lord’s work. - Rich Juzwiak

Yes please and thank you: Photay, “Outré Lux (feat. Madison McFerrin)”: Photay’s terrific album of beat-based joy (equally playful and deep), Onism, came out last week and here’s one of its perfect songs. There are so many things going on in “Outré Lux”: beats skitter with nimbleness, synths flare rudely, McFerrin’s vocals exude earthly warmth when they aren’t manipulated into sound smudges. The title of Onism, per Photay’s Bandcamp, the title derives from John Koenig’s concept of “the frustration of being stuck in just one body that inhabits only one place at a time.” And here, in a four-minute microcosm, (as Philip Sherburne suggested in his Pitchfork review of Onism) is attempted relief from that frustration. - RJ

Indeed: Lizzo’s latest cut “Water Me,” is not just a rousing devotional to self-love, it’s also a document of her creativity, throwing in Missy-reminiscent onomatopoeias to upend the rhythm and, in the video, exemplifying self-care in a joyous way without getting heavy handed about it. Pure exuberance. —JES

Yay: Mabel’s “Finders Keepers” video, with Kojo Funds, explores the vagaries of love in this club in your early twenties; like everything she does, it’s impeccably cute. —JES



This Miley Cyrus track is what I like to call 2016 pop. This joyless synth sound. Her other song sounded the same and Katy Perry’s whole album fell victim to it. It’s just not fun, even when the lyrics are profound and good. Katy Perry wrote an ode to oral sex and it’s not a fun song and that’s just a travesty.