10 Big Things That Happened in Music the Week of October 8, 2021
It's officially starting to feel like fall, and we don't know about you, but that gets us very much in the mood to put on something cozy, make a hot drink and spend the weekend listening to our favorite tunes.
And this week, the music world really delivered on the goods. It seems the music is changing with the seasons too, with chill, thoughtful and nostalgic new music from Why Don't We, Phoebe Bridgers, James Blake and more—not to mention sizzling new tracks from the likes of Jesy Nelson and Nicki Minaj, too. This week made it even harder than most to narrow things down to our 10 favorites. Want to know what we're listening to this weekend? Just keep scrolling to check out our 10 favorite things that happened in music this week.
1. Tolliver Realizes His Full Potential With 'Nervous'
R&B artist Tolliver is new to us, but now we're wondering where he's been all our lives. His funky, soulful new song "Nervous" has an irresistible beat and a message we can get behind. In a press release, Tolliver revealed the song "is about confidence, about feeling anxious cause you might just already be the things you dreamt of being. It's about owning every part of your pimply little body and deciding you don't need permission to be great!" It's an angle we've never considered before, and the track is as empowering as it is impossible to get out of your head.
2. Baby Queen Analyzes the Origins of Her Self-Obsession in 'Narcissist'
South African-born singer-songwriter Baby Queen has always impressed us with her witty and self-aware tracks, but her latest, "Narcissist," has to be our favorite. We love the rapped verses, which flow into a chorus that has hooked its way right into our brains. In the song, she doesn't deny that she's self-obsessed, but asks us all to look at the appearance-focused world we all live in before making any judgments. In a press release, Baby Queen called the song, "an admission of my own narcissistic tendencies, but also me trying to make sense of where those tendencies came from in the first place. I think women are told from the moment they are born until they can form their own opinions that beauty and vanity are the key to their success, and then they are berated when they are older for being self-obsessed or apathetic."
3. Marc E. Bassy Drops Stunning New Album Little Men
Marc E. Bassy is a pop-R&B singer-songwriter who absolutely needs to be on your radar, and his new album, Little Men, is all you need to become totally entranced with the musical powerhouse. Released under his own indie record label, New Gold Medal, this album also features incredible collabs with with Cory Henry and Syd. Just listen to his most recent single, "Bowie," for a taste of the majesty that is this album.
4. Kim Petras Puts on a Dance Party at the End of the World in 'The Future Starts Now'
Need the ultimate dance track to get your weekend started? German singer-songwriter Kim Petras has you covered with "The Future Starts Now," a powerful track about closing one chapter in order to make room for something new and exciting to take its place. "It's a metaphor for life: things are going to change whether you want them to or not and you can either roll with it and make the best out of it or let it drown you," Kim explained in a press release. "The pandemic changed the world in bad ways but good ways too. It's about not letting life sink you and to have fun and celebrate the world—whatever it becomes."
5. Kelis Makes a Triumphant Comeback With 'Midnight Snacks'
We've always adored Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Kelis, and the fact she's back with her first solo single since her 2014 album Food has us more excited than we can say. The track is sultry, soulful and fun, and we can't get enough. Kelis came up with the idea for it after someone told her that she always seems to be singing about food in her songs, she decided to fully lean into it, and the result is perfection. "It isn't intentional, but the idea is just that food is a very carnal thing," she explained in a press release. "Everyone can relate to it. It's very human, it's sensual, it's something that you crave. And it's sexy." And did we mention Kelis is also a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef? That theming is totally on point.
6. Noah Gundersen Drops the Epic New Album Pillar of Salt
Indie folk singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen is well known for his songwriting chops and ability to tell intimate, profound narratives within his tracks. His fifth studio album, Pillar of Salt, is out today, featuring 11 tracks that are sure to take your breath away. Our favorite has to be "Atlantis," featuring Phoebe Bridgers. "I've been a Noah Gundersen fan since I was a teenager," Phoebe revealed in a press release. "He changed the way I write music, made me more comfortable with being honest in my songs. Getting to sing with him was like getting pulled onstage by your favorite band during a show."
7. Brooklyn Queen Gets Us Moving With 'Poke It Out'
We've been huge fans of Brooklyn Queen since she was just 13, and her fun new single "Poke It Out" shows just how much she's grown as a talent in the hip-hop world. The new track seems destined to become a sensation on TikTok, and we seriously can't wait to see all of the incredible dances that it inspires. "I made 'Poke It Out' for everybody who likes to turn up," Brooklyn explained in a press release. "The song is just a really fun song to get lit and dance with your friends. I also created a dance challenge for it and I look forward to seeing everyone do the #pokeitoutchallenge on social media!"
8. Why Don't We Make Their Big Comeback With 'Love Back'
It's hard to believe that boy band Why Don't We hadn't released new music since their album The Good Times and the Bad Ones in January, but their big return is everything we hoped it would be. Their new single is called "Love Back," and with its bouncy sound and romantic lyrics, it's got all the makings of an instant classic. "We are so thankful to be able to release new music for our fans after they have been such an incredible support system for us throughout the past five years as a band," the band said in a press release. "'LoveBack' is the start of our most authentic chapter yet, and we can't wait for what's next." If this is any indication of what is to come, this may be the best era of Why Don't We yet.
9. James Blake Releases Impressive New Album, Friends That Break Your Heart
There's a good reason English singer-songwriter and producer James Blake is a Grammy-winner. With his soulful songwriting abilities and angelic voice, he makes music that's impossible to ignore—and his first full-length album in three years, Friends That Break Your Hurt, shows him at his strongest. The album has 12 incredible tracks, including ones featuring artists including SZA, JID, SwaVay and Monica Martin, and it's a must-listen. "This album is my favorite so far," James revealed in a press release. "I know that's what you'd expect me to say because I made it, and all artists think their new album is their best album… But it actually is, so…"
10. Jesy Nelson Goes Solo With a Little Help From Nicki Minaj in 'Boyz'
Ever since Jesy Nelson departed from Little Mix, we've been wondering what she'd sound like as an artist on her own. This week, we finally have the answer thanks to the release of her new single, "Boyz," which samples Diddy's "Bad Boys for Life" (he also appears in the music video) as well as featuring raps by Nicki Minaj. "'Why do I like bad boys, what is wrong with me? Why am I attracted to anyone that looks naughty?'" Jesy would ask herself, according to a recent press release. "So I messaged [production duo Loose Change] and was like 'you'll think I'm a nutter but I really want to write a song about why most women like bad boys and I want to use the Diddy song' and they were like 'let's do it.'" It's the collaboration we never knew we needed, and we can't wait to see what else Jesy has in store for us in the future.
Missed our favorite tracks of last week? Click HERE to check out our top 10 releases the week of Oct. 1, 2021.