Many artists with releases on this week’s New Music Friday playlist are experimenting with new sounds as they grapple with situations that make them feel out of control.
Country star Maren Morris exhibits a bolder-than-usual side that I was pleasantly surprised to hear on her new single “Nervous.” Morris interweaves grungy electric guitar riffs with sultry lyrics such as “I try to hide my desire beneath the surface / You make me wonder / How this part of me hasn’t been discovered.” Morris sings about how these startling emotions make her feel out of control and exposed. “Nervous” is part of Morris’ upcoming album “Humble Quest,” which will be released on March 25.
Pop rock band Imagine Dragons have released their new single ‘Bones’ as part of their upcoming album ‘Mercury – Act 2′. The rock track sounds similar to some of the band’s previous releases, but deals with the grim realities of death and mortality. Spooky synthesizer sounds complement lead singer Dan Reynolds’ revelations of the fragility of life in lyrics such as “Waiting ’til the reaper take my life / Never gonna get me out alive” and the chorus “My patience is waning, is this entertaining?”
The spooky vibe culminates with a catchy percussive rhythm drop set above Reynolds’ lyrics about feeling like he’s losing all control. The sudden percussion feels almost like a celebration, as Reynolds has accepted that death is something beyond his control and that he wants to live his life while he still can.
When I think of James Arthur, I think of soulful ballads such as “SOS”, “September” and “Empty Space”. His song “Losing You” centers around similar themes of love and heartbreak, but seems to be a bit more fast-paced, edgy, and textured. The lyrics that stuck with me the most were “You know you were looking for a way out / My heart beats without asking questions / My body hurts, my mind is a weapon.” Arthur takes listeners through the feeling of dreading that a love is about to dissolve and being unable to do anything about it, though I thought that heavy emotion was partially negated by the heavy punchy texture and faster tempo .
British-Australian singer Ruel has released his acoustic single ‘Let The Grass Grow’, which explores the place he feels he has in the world. In a post shared on instagram On March 1, Ruel said he and PJ Harding, with whom he co-wrote the song, talked about where they thought the world was heading and how to fit such a complex topic into a song. For Ruel, the song is about not trying to force fate and letting things happen naturally, he said.
I was very impressed with the care with which Harding and Ruel crafted the lyrics to the song, and Ruel’s smooth voice pairs perfectly with the acoustic guitar and creates a serene, reflective mood for the listener. Some of my favorite lyrics include “Break a promise so I can go / Burn a forest so I can sleep / Lay my tombstone, let the grass grow on me.”
Whether it’s mortality, heartbreak, or other deep-seated topics, this weekend’s New Music Friday releases remind listeners that it’s okay to accept that some things are beyond our control. control, and we’re all just managing life as best we know how.