Sam Rankin / Daily Nexus

Start off your school-year soundtrack with these picks from the Artsweek Staff!

“Back for More” – TOMORROW x TOGETHER & Anitta

A pre-release single for their new album, “The Name Chapter: FREEFALL,” “Back for More” showcases a more sultry side of TOMORROW x TOGETHER. The song debuted live at the MTV Video Music Awards with a stunning live performance that included the complex and captivating dance skills that the K-pop group is known for. Additionally, popular Brazilian singer-songwriter Anitta is featured on the track, bringing an added layer of confidence and intensity. The song describes a strong mutual attraction with another person that has them consistently coming back for more in the relationship. Overall, this track is a strong precursor to their upcoming album release and a unique addition to their discography.

— Diana Mateescu

“Vertigo” – Griff

Melodramatic lyrics against electric, breezy dance-pop instrumentals are a staple of 22-year-old Griff’s discography. Following her 2021 standout debut EP, Griff’s latest single “Vertigo” once again showcases the British singer-songwriter’s ability to weave together vulnerability, rage and a kick-ass beat that we can’t help but dance to. With lyrics like “You’re scared of love, well, aren’t we all?” and “Couldn’t take the heat, that’s Mexico,” Griff delivers cheeky, Lorde-esque callouts that underscore the dry humor that often accompanies heartbreak. In an interview with Dork, she muses on how she tackles uncharted lyrical territory on “Vertigo,” “There’s a darkness to ‘Vertigo’ that maybe I haven’t tapped into as much before.” If, like us, you’re captivated by the effortless crescendos and slick sarcasm of this irresistible late-summer hit, then welcome to the dark side. 

— Emily Yoon

“all-american bitch” – Olivia Rodrigo

Serving as the opening track to pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album, “GUTS,” “all-american bitch” encapsulates everything special about the artist. At only 20 years old, Rodrigo has been hailed for her masterful lyricism, strong vocals and performance ability. “all-american bitch” is no exception. Powered by youthful rage, the song focuses on the complexity and duality of womanhood. The lyrics read as a description of social norms, such as “And I am built like a mother and a total machine” and “I got class and integrity / Just like a goddamn Kennedy, I swear.” Yet, Rodrigo’s delivery, specifically in the chorus and bridge, juxtaposes that concept exactly. She unleashes raw emotion as she sings “Forgive, and I forget / I know my age, and I act like it.” The song is deceptively timid and wonderfully tenacious, cementing “all-american bitch” as an album standout.

— Lauren Chiou