New Music To Know This Week: Halsey, Lizzo, & The Best Pride Anthem

Halsey feat. Lauren Jauregui "Strangers"
With this track, Halsey and Jauregui (real life friends who go on double dates and world tours together!) are making a play on the old pop song adage that love is a battlefield (tip of the cap, Pat Benatar). "Strangers" is a duet about a love affair that's falling apart and, slight twist, the two characters are women. The video finds these two getting in the ring and letting their boxing gloves do the talking, which is certainly a metaphor for my last several relationships, so I relate. Oh, and to those talking about it: Halsey and Jauregui have both come out as bisexual. That is what this song is about. Yes, they are allowed to talk about it. Especially during Pride month.
Lizzo "Boys"
Everything Lizzo touches turns into a jam. It doesn't hurt that this sounds like it may be using a sample of Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" (which itself was sampling Eddie Bo's "Hook & Sling") to ratchet up the danceability. There are some other disco beats and tricks happening in here, from the soul and funk side of the river more than the electronic side, that make this a straight-up jam. Put it on your summer '18 dance party playlist, stat.
CHAI "『N.E.O.』"
This one, from Japanese girl band CHAI, is more of a "new to me and you" track than a brand-new release. Their 2017 album is getting re-released in the US by indie outfit Burger Records. Watching this after watching a few K-Pop girl bands was a real breath of fresh air. I can't get that into K-Pop because, to me, it idealizes the excesses of late '90s American pop (aka it's cheesy as hell). CHAI are more like '00s indie rock (I got strong CSS vibes) in their weirdness and individuality. If that's a vibe you can get with, this may be a group for you to check out and expand your horizons into Asia's music scene.
Mae Muller "Pull Up"
What makes a good breakup song? Two things: tension and emotion. Mae Muller nails both of them with a song that's an ultimatum to a lazy lover. Cancer season is officially here, and this song came to be its soundtrack. If you're spending time in your feelings, you'll connect with this one.
Flint Eastwood "Real Love"
Quick reminder that NYC Pride is this weekend and that love is love is love — in the form of a pop song. If you need a jam for honoring love, in all its iterations, this is the one. Enjoy the bop!
After my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to matchmake people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or leave me a comment below and tell me what you're listening to this week.

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