Talk To Your Friends, Talk To My Friends, Talk To Me About Red (Taylor's Version)

IS THAT A UKULELE!?: “Stay Stay Stay” (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift - This particular song never gets enough love in the Swiftie community but it is actually one of my favorites off of the album and frankly the re-record is fucking fantastic. I might be wrong because I didn’t fact check this and I’m just vibing, but it sounds like Taylor is singing over a soprano ukulele and it was the right choice. She sounds great, the music sounds great and her mature voice pairs so nicely with whatever instrument is being strummed. - Shannon Melero

I literally feel 22 again: “22" (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift - This song is another really good example of how different this version of Red is from the original. The original version of this song was so incredibly busy with Taylor’s voice squeezed through processors and the actual music, unnecessarily cluttered with every bell and whistle a pop producer could stick on it. Musically the song is still busy, but the overall sound and her voice are so much more clear and focused. - SM

Violins with extra violin on the side: “New Currency,” Jonny Greenwood - The ambiance this song creates is a uniquely pleasant mixture of anxiety and regality, if that makes any sense. At the same time there’s a meditative quality to it, as if you’re living life in a dream sequence while this plays in the background. Definitely something to play on a loop if you’re trying to zone out but not go to sleep. - SM

MASK OFF BIITTTCCHHH!!!: “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version), Taylor Swift - I’ve been preparing for this song since it was announced and I wasn’t prepared. She took her mask off and any other words I try to write will fail to capture this song. Just press “play” and sit here for 10 minutes. - SM

Why not: “Be Alive,” Beyoncé - We’ve reached the point now where new music from Beyoncé no longer feels like the event it once did—not her fault, just the way it is, now! However, anytime she deems it appropriate to release new music, I am always open to hearing it. This little ditty is inspiring; perhaps listening to Beyoncé singing about how good it feels to be alive will move others towards that same feeling. It’s working for me. —Megan Reynolds

Honestly, fuck ya: Avril Lavigne, “Bite Me” - I was so ready to be indifferent toward Avril Lavigne’s revival. I was 11 when she first hit the scene with her debut Let Go, and even enjoyed a few songs from her follow-up album Under My Skin (albeit reluctantly, because by then you had to pretend to hate Lavigne if you wanted any cool punk girl cred). But I absolutely loathed her 2007 track “Girlfriend” and never really bothered with her from then on out. But a lot of time has passed since then, and with pop-punk revival in full swing, what better time for Lavigne to get back to her musical roots (and not whatever Christian rock shit she was peddling a few years back). “Bite Me” is a fun return to form for Lavigne, from the biting confidence in the chorus (“Hey you, you should’ve known better, better to fuck with someone like me/Hey you, forever and ever you’re gonna wish I was your wifey”) to the playful music video concept. And, of course, Blink 182's Travis Barker is playing the drums, because we truly cannot get away from him (and I’m okay with that). If you want to feel like an angry aughts teen for a few minutes, “Bit Me” is definitely worth a listen. And another listen. And another. —Ashley Reese

For sure: Mitski, “The Only Heartbreaker” - If you’re a Mitski purist who refuses to accept any Mitski track that doesn’t sound like it belongs on Bury Me At Makeout Creek, then you’ll probably hate this new song. If you’re open to the idea of Mitski dabbling with an 80s synth-pop vibe, then you’ll probably enjoy this track and find yourself listening to it on repeat. And, hey, the music video is a fun ride too. I, for one, and excited to see what Mitski’s new era brings, and if all her newly sold-out shows are any indication, so are a shitton of other people. —AR

Sure: Courtney Barnett, “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight - If you haven’t really listened to Courtney Barnett since her hit “Avant Gardener” back in 2013, or since her incredibly good collab with Kurt Vile back in 2017, then her new track “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight” acts as an easy peasy reintroduction. It admittedly feels a little paint by number compared to some of the Barnett tracks I’m more familiar with, but you can’t go too wrong with a sweet little love song about yearning. —AR

Pour me a White Zinfandel on ice and turn down the lights: Bruno Mars, anderson paak, Silk Sonic, “After Last Night w/ Thundercat & Bootsy”- This little side project, which is spearheaded by the eternally delightful pocket man, Bruno Mars, is producing some of the more banal but still enjoyable “vintage” music meant to evoke the sounds of classic quiet storm R&B, but without doing much to iterate beyond rehashing the original. This isn’t bad; it is perfect to me, an auntie in spirit who would love to spend my Friday evening lighting some incense, dimming the lights, and hitting the bong while listening to this on repeat. —MR

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