Neck & Wrist (feat. JAY-Z & Pharrell) by Pusha T 

Three of rap’s premier heavyweights come together for “Neck & Wrist,” the heavy-hitting third single from Pusha T’s new album “It’s Almost Dry.” Pharrell’s production marks a return to The Neptunes’s instrumentals that propelled Pusha T to fame in the early 2000s. Since those years, JAY-Z, Pusha T and Pharrell have all expanded their status as rap moguls, which the three reminisce on in the track. Pusha T remembers how Pharrell was the “first in the [Virginia] Beach with a million-dollar auto,” while Pusha T himself has developed a taste for ultra high-end artistic timepieces (“Cartier bustdowns [are] just not my thing”). JAY-Z hops on the track with a series of quintessentially clever JAY-Z double entendres, disputing those who doubt his difficult upcoming as a now-billionaire. “Neck & Wrist” is a satisfying reminder that these three have only expanded their influence, status and artistic prowess over the past decades.

— Jadon Bienz

Sidelines by Phoebe Bridgers 

Sidelines marks Phoebe Bridgers’ first original song since the release of her sophomore album “Punisher.” The song features a remarkably different sound than the quiet acoustic guitars and piano that populate much of Bridgers’ other work. The instrumental of the song is reminiscent of a lo-fi song with Bridgers’ voice being simultaneously low in both quality and volume. The song begins in a whisper before growing to a chorus where Bridgers describes how her partner has changed her perspective on her own life, “Watch the world from the sidelines / Had nothing to prove / ‘Till you came into my life / Gave me something to lose.” This comes after Bridgers has just described her apathy to the world singing, “I’m not afraid of anything at all” before describing a series of morbid scenarios involving death. While it would be hard to call Sidelines a “happy song,” it displays a positive outlook that is not often seen in Bridgers’ catalog of melancholic indie folk. The mood may not be the same as many of her other songs, but the honesty that Bridgers displays about her own life remains; and while optimism may or may not become a recurring theme in her next work, this certainly serves as an excellent palette cleanser to close the “Punisher” era of her career. 

— Evan Gonzalez

As It Was by Harry Styles 

Three years after the release of Harry Styles’ second studio album, “As It Was” is the first glimpse into the pop star’s much anticipated upcoming album, “Harry’s House.” While this lead single features a seemingly positive upbeat ’80s inspired synth pop beat with chimes at the end of the hook, the track reveals emotional turmoil through vulnerable lyrics as the singer asks himself, “Harry, you’re no good alone / Why are you sitting at home on the floor? / What kind of pills are you on?” The track captures Styles’ loneliness and reckoning with moving on, “In this world, it’s just us / You know it’s not the same as it was.” This is further showcased in the accompanying music video as Styles’ and a woman are constantly being pulled apart after they attempt to embrace each other. The subdued color palette of the music video, lightened up by the duo’s outfits, along with the fresh sound of the track fosters anticipation on what direction Styles’ will explore in “Harry’s House.”

— Marisol Cruz 

better by redveil & Sam Truth

The third studio album from 17-year-old rapper redveil, “learn 2 swim,” has an impeccable track lineup and features artists Mekdelawit, Renaissance Mic and Fly Anakin. The album’s sixth track, “better,” brings incredible energy to the table and features vocals from Sam Truth, indie singer most famous for his songs “All My Dogs” and “More Often.” The pairing of redveil and Sam Truth’s voices creates an unforgettable sound; I truly can’t get enough of this song. It’s a track I like to listen to when I first wake up, its energy motivating me to crawl out of my blankets. The Maryland rapper sings, “My mother said you touch that dream as long you deserve it / I came from fighting for a day to smile to happy verses / So trust me dawg, I know the feeling when you steady hurting.” This track is encouraging and is one that I highly recommend checking out as we reach the halfway point of spring quarter.

— Lorna Kruesel

“up at night” (feat. Justin Bieber) by Kehlani

In anticipation of the release for Kehlani’s new album “Blue Water Road,” she has collaborated with Justin Bieber to drop the single “up at night.” This powerful duo has made other works together, specifically the song “Get Me” which was featured on Justin Bieber’s Changes album back in 2020. The song opens with an elegant and airy beat, which then shifts into a funk, R&B bassline as Bieber and Kehlani sing the mesmerizing melody. In a statement Kehlani said that the song is “about having a healthily obsessed relationship. You’re telling someone, ‘I love you so much it keeps me awake at night.’” Kehlani’s new album will be released on all platforms on April 29. Kehlani stated that for her, “The album is like a glass house. It’s light, transparent, and the sun is shining right through it.” 

— Isabella Chichioco