Alessia Cara "Growing Pains"
The only woman to take home a Grammy during the 2018 telecast (for Best New Artist) is coming back with a new single, and that means a new album can't be far behind. I have to admit that hearing her songs on the radio in the 2017 was a delight; they broke up the dullness of the pop landscape beautifully and emotionally. That distinctly Cara cadence she has is in full effect on "Growing Pains," though it's lacking the lyrical edge that made "Scars to Your Beautiful" and "Here" the total earworms that I couldn't stop listening to. Will be keeping my ears open for what else Cara drops.
Jorja Smith "Blue Lights"
If you like this track, you're going to want to listen to Jorja Smith's entire new album, Lost & Found, out today. Her voice is an absolutely treasure. I love how her pacing plays around in "Blue Lights," going into the cracks between the tempo of the song, and how her voice lifts, echoing the melody line and then flitting above it when she holds a note. Smith is truly a master of talk singing, and she makes it sound so emotional. That's not an easy trick to pull off.
Luis Fonsi feat. Stefflon Don "Calypso"
Luis Fonsi is out here looking for his second Song of the Summer crown with "Calypso," and while I have some doubts about him taking it this year, this song is a bop. Also, let's talk for a minute about Stefflon Don, who was just named as a member of (and was the only woman to be included in) XXL's Freshman Class. For the haters who kept asking who "the female" was on the list and otherwise tried to drag her down: She's on a future crossover hit here (not to mention her Hot 100 track with Halsey). The only way not to know Stefflon Don is to have your head up your ass. She's talented AF, so credit where credit is due, my men.
Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande "Bed"
Look at this dreamy track right here. I know its supposed to be sexy, but I find it less sexual and more soothing. I will give all the credit for that to the gorgeous melody and Ariana Grande's soft, plush vocals on the chorus. I like understated Nicki and Ariana; they know how to find a groove.
Calling this song "Spell" is not giving it a title, it's your first clue that it's a damn spell that enchants you into being obsessed with it at first listen, just like it did to me. I am clearly in a place of digging those lethargic summer jams this week (what can I say, it's already too hot to move in Texas), and NIKI's track scratches the itch on my playlist for just that. I'm under this song's spell.
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.