Sam Rankin / Daily Nexus

“Cadillac” by Sun Room

“Classic California kids” is the only way to describe Sun Room, the surf-rock band from SoCal. Their newest song “Cadillac” released as a single on Jan. 11. It is the epitome of what you would want a live song to sound like: loud, head-banging and packed with catchy riffs. It’s the sound of a garage band — which is exactly what they are. A band that makes music “out of their very hot garage,” to be exact. “Cadillac” starts off slow and progresses to a very fast, upbeat, ground-shaking tempo, and it isn’t hard to imagine the band rocking out to this song in their garage. 

— Stella Mullin

“Flowers” by Miley Cyrus

American pop sensation and former Disney Channel star, Miley Cyrus, released her latest single, “Flowers,” on Jan. 12. The funky dance-pop beat and catchy lyrics propelled this hit straight to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — the first of 2023. Not only is this song exceedingly danceable, but it has also invited various theories about its meaning from fans. Some believe the chorus is a response to Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Others have speculated the song is directed toward Cyrus’ ex-husband, especially because the release date is so close to his birthday. Regardless of the intentions behind the song, Cyrus continues to dominate the pop music industry with her knack for captivating audiences in refreshing new ways. 

— Hannah Rott

“Welcome To My Island” by Caroline Polachek – George Daniel & Charli XCX Remix

Originally released on Dec. 5 of last year, “Welcome To My Island” serves as an essential introduction to Caroline Polachek’s upcoming studio album, with droning vocals that are operatic in nature and dreamy chords played on an ’80s-inspired synth. The George Daniel and Charli XCX remix, released on Jan. 20, allows for different facets of this track to shine through. In true Charli XCX fashion, the remix is filled with auto-tuned vocals and exciting word choice coupled with a club influence. Its sonics are, in big part, to the credit of her collaborator and boyfriend George Daniel. Drummer for indie-pop band The 1975, Daniel has produced tracks for various artists and is certainly one to watch in the coming months and years. Together, Charli and Daniel create a powerful, witty and catchy dance-pop track chronicling the beginning stages of a relationship. This entrancing track makes Charli feel she’s “fallen so hard, it’s a total eclipse” and makes listeners want to dance like nobody’s watching.

— Isabel Hiestand

“Emily I’m Sorry” by boygenius

Boygenius, the alternative-indie supergroup comprised of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers, surprised fans on Jan. 18 with three new songs from their upcoming album “the record.” In typical Bridgers fashion, “Emily I’m Sorry” encompasses a sad narrative, conveyed through conversational prose and imagery that is supported by a mellowed electric guitar and harmonies by bandmates Baker and Dacus. Supposedly autobiographical, this track tells the story of a relationship where Bridgers begs her partner Emily to take her back, punctuated by lines like “Emily, forgive me, can we (Emily, I) / Make it up as we go along?” and “I’m twenty-seven and I don’t know who I am (Don’t know who I am) / But I know what I want.” The three tracks serve as a striking reintroduction to the trio, leaving fans filled with more anticipation at every listen.

— Isabel Hiestand

“$20” by boygenius 

Aside from “Emily I’m Sorry,” boygenius also has another hit song on their album called “$20.” The group’s combined talents shine the brightest in “$20,” a song that stands out with upbeat instrumentals and lyrics packed with angst and desperation. “It’s a bad idea and I’m all about it”, Baker boldly proclaims as we follow the protagonist’s drive to Reno while they reminisce about the past and search for gas money, eventually asking the listener to contribute toward their fund. This attitude continues until the song’s dramatic climax. While Baker and Dacus continue the song’s themes of survival and fleeing, “You’re doing what you can, just makin’ it run /  Take a break, make your escape,” Bridgers takes a different approach by dramatically screaming the song’s title and insisting that the listener has had the $20 the entire time. A loaded track, “$20” proves that boygenius’ newest venture has been well worth the wait.

— Kyra Schimpf

“Selfish” by slowthai 

Released on Jan. 25, slowthai’s newest track, “Selfish,” is a punk-rap hybrid with harsh vocals and instrumentation from the beloved British rapper. “Selfish” will be on slowthai’s upcoming album “UGLY,” set to release in March. In an Instagram post announcing his new album, slowthai writes, “at a time when i hated myself, creating this album saved me and taught me how to love myself.” His previous album, “TYRON,” was released in 2021 and received relatively high praise, so it will be interesting to see how “UGLY” is received. As a longtime slowthai fan, I am incredibly excited for the new album, and I especially hope that the rapper is doing better and that his mental health is improving.

— Lorna Kruesel