It's only three weeks into 2020 and musicians are already bringing their A–game. A whole host of talented artists have announced upcoming albums for the year and dropped their first singles, and Street has been digging all of them. Here are the top six released just this week:
"Simmer" by Hayley Williams
The Paramore frontwoman announced this week she'd be releasing her first solo album, PETALS FOR ARMOR, dropping the first single along with a music video. Paramore's last album, After Laughter, was recognized for the rock trio's significantly poppier sound, but William's "Simmer" still retains many of those elements while reaching into darker. Lines like, "Oh, how to draw the line between wrath and mercy?" exemplify the mood Williams is going for. She writes in a press release accompanying the music video, "This project benefited from a little bit of musical naïveté and rawness and so I experimented quite a bit more. And I was able to get my hands a little dirtier than usual when it came to instrumentation." Similarly, the music video drives home this point of experimentation with horror film imagery.
"Fire" by Waxahatchee
This song marks a departure in a couple of ways for Katie Crutchfield, who performs under the name Waxahatchee. As she tells in a recent profile with Rolling Stone, she recorded her new album, Saint Cloud, after more than a year of sobriety—and she's adopted a new sound to reflect the personal growth she's felt over that time. As part of P.S. Eliot, the band she founded with her sister, Allison, she mixed plenty of Southern rock influences with punk and folk, resulting in powerful, barn–burning tracks full of distress. But with "Fire," although she can still wrench guts with lines like, "If I could love you unconditionally/ I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky," Crutchfield has instead stripped down her instrumentation, singing with adolescent passion and edges tinged with a Southern twang.
"Legs, Run" by Lala Lala
Lala Lala, the project of musician Lillie West, released "Legs, Run" this week with no formal announcement of more music to come, but did include a music video that pays homage to The Truman Show. In it, West reenacts the final scene of the 1998 Jim Carrey film in which his life is broadcast to the rest of the world. "Legs, Run," adds a melancholic tone to the scene as (spoilers for a two decade old movie) she escapes from the gigantic studio/prison. The song was produced by Yoni Wolf (of WHY?), with whom West previously worked on last year's single "Siren 042." Both tracks demonstrate West's ability to combine catchy hooks with introspective and morose lyrics that show off her uniquely hushed vocals.
"Fall Apart" by Ellis
Ontario's Linnea Siggelkow makes spacious dream–pop similar to that of Hatchie and Soccer Mommy. With "Fall Apart," the first single from her upcoming debut album Born Again, she channels that ambient sound into a song about living with anxiety and its impact on her relationships. In a press release accompanying the song, she writes, "This is really just an honest reflection of my struggle with anxiety and how I can’t hide it from the people closest to me." The music video is just as dream–like as the song would suggest, showing Siggelkow moving backwards through a pastel–colored home.
"Mark Zuckerberg" by Nap Eyes
Another Canadian group, Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes teased their upcoming album Snapshot of a Beginner with a video for "Mark Zuckerberg." In case you're wondering, the Facebook CEO does play prominently in the video, emerging from a television in animated form, although looking slightly more life–like than the real Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, Nap Eyes perform covered in sheets, wondering "Is Mark Zuckerberg a ghost? Maybe, maybe/ Where are his hands and why don’t you ever see them in public?" Their indie–folk sensibilities are lent some rock–and–roll, recalling traces of Slaughter Beach, Dog in frontman Nigel Chapman's delivery. Check out the eerie, psychedelic video below.
"Cop Car" by Mitski
Reminding us why we fell in love with her in the first place, Mitski returns to her grittier side with "Cop Car," a single released for the soundtrack for The Turning, accompanying from bands like Vagabon and Soccer Mommy. "Cop Car" prominently features shredded bass and guitar, both blown out to the max while Mitski sings "I get mean when I'm nervous like a bad dog." She then continues detailing her descent into madness, screaming "I will never die!" over screeching violins and heavy guitar power chords. The song is more reminiscent of those like "Drunk Walk Home" from Bury Me at Makeout Creek than more recent releases like those off Be The Cowboy. Previously announcing she'd be taking a break from touring and since deleting her social media, this is the first fans have heard from Mitski since her concert at Central Park this past Summer.