Adele

Even by Adele standards, the degree of vulnerability on “To Be Loved,” the penultimate track of her new album 30, is unmatched. Originally envisioned as a mature explication of her divorce to her son, “To Be Loved” is a song so gut-wrenching that even Adele can’t contend with it; she’s…

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dltzk

On their whirlwind February 2021 debut, Teen Week, dltzk combined bitcrushed vocals, EDM bombast, and elements of drum’n’bass into an angst-ridden portrait of growing pains. The 18-year-old digicore artist’s recent follow-up, Frailty, touches on similar themes but dials down the energy. Taking refuge in shoegaze, indietronica, and emo, it sounds…

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Let’s Eat Grandma

While Let’s Eat Grandma are better known for kaleidoscopic synth-pop, the title track from their upcoming album is a pared-down, downtempo ballad that acknowledges the gradual dissolution of a friendship. Written by Jenny Hollingworth, “Two Ribbons” is a letter of sorts to her close friend and bandmate, Rosa Walton, focused…

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Taylor Swift

For almost a decade, fans and critics alike have mythologized “All Too Well” as Taylor Swift’s best song. In a 2012 interview, Swift mentioned that she originally wrote a 10-minute version of the song that she then edited down. Ever since, fans have awaited the moment when they might hear…

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Rosalía

Rosalía and the Weeknd are capable of making drama and spectacle feel extraordinarily intimate. Rosalía’s rendition of bachata blends the genre’s sensuous roots with electronic pop to home in on the thrills of new love. Her feature on the remix to the Weeknd’s mega-hit “Blinding Lights” made perfect sense considering…

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Jenny Hval

Drive too fast down one stretch of West Texas highway and it’s easy to miss Prada Marfa, the famed inert luxury storefront erected by Elmgreen & Dragset in 2005. The remote outpost—technically closest to the nearby town of Valentine—has become a landmark and photo op for travelers on their way…

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Beach House

For 17 years, Beach House have conjured the allure of ambiguity. In 2020, the duo went viral on TikTok with a video of a family “levitating” to 2012’s “Lazuli,” a visual gag that nonetheless evoked Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s unique ability to create sweeping cinematic visions with sound alone.…

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Mitski

Ever the harbinger of love’s decay, Mitski chokes through a self-created inferno on “The Only Heartbreaker.” Though she’s waxed melancholic on love and loss before, the second single from her upcoming sixth studio album veers away from subdued indie rock and into full-fledged frenzy, recalling the exuberant synth-pop of the…

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Charli XCX

Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens, and Caroline Polachek make main character music: Futuristic, avant-garde pop songs that place you—twirling, glitter-coated—at the center of the dancefloor. But a compelling main character can’t be just gloss; their music also channels the lonely confessional you had with your best friend in the…

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YaejiOh Hyuk

Yaeji and Oh Hyuk (the bandleader for South Korean four-piece Hyukoh) first connected after meeting in Seoul, where they started collaborating to break out of a mutual spell of “musician’s block.” The resulting single, “29,” represents a bold pathway out of the stagnation, with both musicians moving out of their…

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