It’s Spring quarter and after a full year of studying, lectures, due dates and exams, most of our creativity is struggling. Is your music on repeat playing the same songs and artists until they feel as stale as your least favorite pair of headphones? Well then, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five new music recommendations released last month that will revolutionize your playlists. These songs will improve your mood on a commute home, get you back into a positive mindset and remind you to relax a little. There are many genres within this curated list ranging from R&B, indie, EDM and rap. Some of these songs are by the most popular artists of today, while others are by slightly less well-known artists.
1. Kill Bill ft. Doja Cat by SZA
SZA released an additional version of her hit song “Kill Bill,” which opens with a verse by Doja Cat on April 14. Doja’s rap flows smoothly into the main song as if it was always meant to be there and adds emotional complexity to the original, which tells a story about a woman so in love with her ex-partner, she is willing to kill him along with his new partner. Doja Cat’s rap depicts the ex-partner’s new neighborhood and narrates the new girlfriend’s murder: “It happened in a flash when she charged at me / Y’all criss-crossed, saw her fall to the floor / Then you paused there in horror, that shot wasn’t for her.” The rapper delves deeper into the main character’s emotional torment, which ultimately leads to a psychotic break. Another line reads, “I couldn’t help but watch you kiss her by the kitchen sink.” This line is likely based on a moment in the music video in which SZA is kissed from behind while standing at a kitchen sink.
In Doja’s verse, the main character is watching this same interaction happen to the woman that has replaced her from an outsider’s perspective. The new verse lays out the emotional pathway in which jealousy turns to violence. The line “I wasn’t cryin’, I was starin’ and forgot to blink,” paints a vivid image of the main character’s fixation on the life that was taken from her, that is now being lived by another woman. It suggests she is full of anger rather than sadness. This new release adds detail and nuance to the original and is a great song to listen to in the car with friends.
2. Crusxd by Crumb
Crumb is an indie rock band that uses techno beats and dreamy instrumentals. On April 12, they released a psychedelic, jazzy single that explores the feeling you get when you run over an animal on the road. Especially the discomfort and sadness of accidentally taking a life, even if that life was as small as a turtle’s. The band explains on their Instagram that the instrumentals to the song were developed and played on their 2018 tour. On that same tour, they ran over a turtle while driving on the road. The lead singer, Lila Ramani, wrote the lyrics for this instrumental track in honor of the turtle.
“The song is a celebration of the turtle’s life honoring its journey on the road up until its tragic death,” they explained. This is the first song the band has released in two years and is a great one for studying, or having deep thoughts too. The instrumentals play in a relaxing, repetitive manner that has a trance-like effect. The track begins with a jazzy, almost bossa nova feel, and concludes with a magical finish.
3. Princess Diana (with Nicki Minaj) by Ice Spice
Nicki Minaj was added as a feature to a song from Ice Spice’s most recent album, “Like…” on April 14. A music video for “Princess Diana” along with an extended EP featuring multiple versions of this song was also released on April 18. Heavy bass persists throughout the song, which utilizes imagery of royalty and social status to compare the two women to Princess Diana – a symbol of charity work and helping the poor. The collaboration of this song in particular between the upcoming rapper and the veteran rapper suggests that Nicki Minaj is the queen of rap, and that Ice Spice is the princess. This implies that she is next in line for the throne.
Both Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj have been promoting the song on their Instagram profiles. In an interview with XXL, Ice Spice states, “When I saw Nicki, I was so mesmerized. She’s the first female rapper that I seen. And ever since then, I was kinda set on what I wanted to be.” Ice Spice has been on a rapid ride through the rap scene, and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. From her hit song, “Boys a Liar Pt. 2” with PinkPantheress and the release of her first album all within two years of releasing music, this collab marks a level-up for Ice Spice in her climb to the top of rap music.
4. Enjoy Your Life by Romy
Romy, the lead singer of the 2000s band, The xx, released a feel-good single on April 11. This song is perfect for reminding us that there is always color and brightness in the world, even if we may not be able to see it at that moment. Romy’s verses explain that life is painful and scary, but it is still important to try new things, put ourselves in new situations and actively seek out joy. The artist also released a music video directed by Romy’s wife, Vic Lentaigne, that encompasses images of Romy’s mother as well as moments of her career of her enjoying her life.
She shared on her Instagram this video is “extremely personal,” in its depiction of her personal life, that the line “My mother says to me, ‘Enjoy your life,’” is a sample taken from Beverly Glenn-Copland’s “The Vita.” She explains, “It resonated especially deeply as it is because of my mum passing away when I was 11, that this perspective on living life was even a part of me.” Not only is this song a great track that will have you smiling and swaying, but it also has deep emotional resonance and poignance.
5. Try Me by Jorja Smith
To slow things down, Jorja Smith released an angsty, intensely feminine ballad on April 13. Hypnotic drumming and soothing strings back Jorja’s stunning vocals to create a rich and engaging sound. The lyrics pit Jorja against the world focusing on the fact that she has grown and learned where to create boundaries for herself. One line reads, “Ask me about me again / Even when my heart declines / Nothing works when I don’t.”
The song focuses on the stresses of a high-energy life at times when there is no energy left to give. A music video was released alongside the single filmed in France, in which Jorja and a dancer appear to be in conflict with each other. The dancer mimics a bull in a bull ring, while Jorja pushes back against his movements. The video shines when Jorja holds the man and plays him like a violin along to the strings of the song. It is a beautiful shot and represents the artist taking back control.
While spring can be a stressful, overwhelming succession of deadlines and burnout, it is important to remember to take a break and “enjoy your life.” Chilling out and listening to a couple of songs in between studying can be a great way to reset your mind and restore balance to your life. Summer is almost here so hang in there!
Emma McCandless is an Entertainment Staff Writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.