As we say goodbye to October, the Artsweek staff selected some of the best new releases to drop in the past month! Check out our Spotify to listen to the full playlist.
“Cherry Blossom” by Lana Del Rey
With the release of her eighth studio album “Blue Banisters,” Lana Del Rey finally unleashed “Cherry Blossom,” a song secretly adored by her most devoted fans for over five years. The song, a poetic lullaby about looking after a loved one, captures Del Rey’s trademark aura of authenticity and feminine innocence through tender yet deeply poignant lyrics. The chorus, “I push you high, cherry blossom on your sycamore tree / What you don’t tell no one, you can tell me,” is indicative of the closeness that exists between Del Rey and her listeners. Like many of Del Rey’s tunes, this song allows for a listening experience in which one feels as though the lyrics and melodies were created exclusively for them. This experience is echoed in other tracks on the album like “Thunder” and “Sweet Carolina.” There is no doubt that this classic Lana lullaby will serve as a source of comfort to her fans for years to come.
– Makenna Stark
“Chaos Space Marine” by Black Country, New Road
British experimental rock group Black Country, New Road released their debut album “For the first time” earlier this year to critical acclaim. It was personally one of my favorite albums this year, and, less than a year out, they have announced their sophomore album “Ants From Up There.” To coincide with the announcement, the band released the first single “Chaos Space Marine.” The song marks an unanticipated shift for the band, whose first album was filled with post-punk influenced tracks. On “Chaos Space Marine” the band evokes comparisons to progressive rock acts like Genesis, King Crimson and Rush. The song opens with a flourish of instruments before singer Isaac Wood intones “And though England is mine / I must leave it all behind / The war is over / Lift the anchor, set an open course.” The track contains everything that made their debut such a spectacle: Tyler Hyde’s bombastic bass lines, Charlie Wayne’s well-grounded drum playing and May Kershaw’s ethereal piano chops. The title and lyrics allude to the narrator’s voyage into interstellar space, while simultaneously remaining grounded on Earth. Black Country, New Road have explored narrative-based songs, such as “Science Fair” and “Track X.” However, “Chaos Space Marine” is an interesting direction in the emerging band’s oeuvre, and it shows a band willing to venture into the unknown, no pun intended, and reinvent themselves.
– Derek Mejia
“Faces” by Mac Miller
The legacy of Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, who passed away in 2018, lives on through his prolific body of work — both released and unreleased. One of these works was the 2014 unreleased mixtape “Faces.” On Oct. 15, the Miller estate commercially released the mixtape on streaming platforms and vinyl. This release also featured a bonus track added: “Yeah.” Longtime fans of Mac may have heard the song before, as it was previously leaked online under the title “8:21 AM.” This version of the track is a polished rendition of the leak. “Yeah” dives into the lush, woozy jazz influences of the mixtape. The theatrical production and strong, longing vocals from the rapper, has fans saying that that “Yeah” is worthy of having a place on a James Bond soundtrack. Combined with the dramatic sound, Mac’s lyricism in the posthumously released track is especially gutting: “When will we die? This life isn’t fair / I miss the high, I live a lie / And one day we’ll die, no one will care.”
– Marisol Cruz
“Working for the Knife” by Mitski
After a nearly three-year hiatus, Mitski is back and sadder than ever! Her newest single “Working for the Knife” came out this month, kicking off her namesake tour across North America and Europe in 2022. “Working for the Knife” has a different sound to it in comparison to her older releases such as “Texas Reznikoff” and “First Love / Late Spring,” which have more simplistic musical compositions and more literal lyrics. Her new song speaks true to those who feel they’re trapped in a never-ending cycle of America’s nine-to-five work culture. You’ll be a different breed of heartbroken after this one (especially after finding out the scalpers got all of her tour tickets, so you probably won’t be able to hear “Last Words of a Shooting Star” live and in person), so buckle up kiddos!
– Carly Lankarani
“Sorry for Me” by Ricky Montgomery
Prepare for tears, because Ricky Montgomery has released what he has called his “most personal song” and promised it would be “the saddest song [he’d] ever made.” Montgomery, known for tearjerkers such as “Mr Loverman” and “Line Without a Hook,” wrote this song about his abusive stepfather getting arrested on Christmas in 2012 after his sister had spoken of his abuse to a therapist. The song itself is much more empty than his other songs, with minor accompaniment from an acoustic guitar, with haunting lyrics such as “Now that it’s over / I don’t know how to feel / Moving to California / Where I won’t have to deal.” Listen to this song if you need to have a good cry.
– Carly Lankarani