Best New Music of the Week: BTS, Ava Max, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber, and more
Loud and clear
Life Goes On by BTS
2020 has been a bad year for most, but the BTS ARMYs might be the only ones able to refute that claim. Coming in hot on the heels of Dynamite, this latest release stands as the title track of their much-awaited comeback album, serving as a total switch away from the happy disco pop single. Like the rest of the album, the song is meant to provide a sense of comfort and hope in these tumultuous times, and that "even in the face of this new normality, our life goes on", to quote the BTS members themselves.
Life Goes On features an alternative hip-hop sound blended with a sentimental acoustic guitar in the background that reminisces a nostalgic past, yet maintains promise for the future. The music video is one of their most intimate videos yet — as it is not only directed by BTS' Jung Kook himself, but showcases them living out their new reality in their homes and empty stadiums. Their first live performance is said to happen at the American Music Awards on 22 November, but for now, we can already tell that the ARMYs will be replaying it non-stop (and emptying out tissue boxes at the same time).
Monster by Shawn Mendes & Justin Bieber
It's definitely heartthrob season. This is the first collaboration between the famed Canadian singers, and it features as the second single in Mendes' latest studio album Wonder. Titled Monster, the poignant new track takes a slower, sultry dive into the realities of pop stardom that both singers are undoubtedly privy to. The lyrics are raw, hinting at their respective difficulties in dealing with the highs and lows of the entertainment industry. The music video revels in the darker vibe of the song, with a heavy mist that hangs over the night scene, as the two singers simply sing their hearts out honestly about their lived and felt experiences. Through this collaboration, the younger Mendes also revealed how iconic Bieber was to him as he was growing up, making this song all the more special for him. Whatever it is, who's going to deny two brooding, now more mature men singing about their emotional turmoil?
Prisoner by Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa
As part of her soon-to-be-released album Plastic Hearts, pop queen Miley Cyrus has collaborated with the other queen in town, Dua Lipa, to release Prisoner, the second single in the tracklist. The new track sits in between the neo-disco pop that usually defines Dua Lipa's sound and the 80's rock vibes of Cyrus' latest releases, as the two belt out their current mood of angst over a pulsating bass track. And the music video is one full of classic references and visual eye candy to beat. From Rocky Horror retro vibes to the ultimate shade comment thrown in the direction of Cyrus' exes at the end, the highly sensual shots are evocative of not just a less socially-distanced past, but also announces Cyrus' powerful move towards her own liberating future. You go, girl.
My Head & My Heart by Ava Max
Adding on to her previously released Heaven & Hell, this thumping dance track serves as the lead single for the deluxe version of the American singer's latest album. Keeping in line to her trappy electronic dance sound, this track interweaves the famed melody of ATC's Around the World (La La La La La), the hit track back in 2000. The tempo gradually grows more upbeat as the energetic track enunciates the high emotions that sit at the core of choosing between a toxic relationship and knowing what's best for yourself. The popular Sweet but Psycho singer first teased the deluxe album track on November 17th through her Twitter account, sharing with her fans the excitement she's been feeling about releasing My Head & My Heart. Post-release, and the fans are definitely feeling all sorts of served.
i'm fine, no by Shye
Homegrown talent Shye is only growing in popularity it seems, and for all the right reasons. The alternative young pop singer fills her latest single with heavy, pulsating beats and juxtaposes it against a lighter groove melody that is mostly captured through her hypnotizing voice. The lyrics venture into a darker realm of attempting to figure out her own identity and sense of belonging in modern society, and questions the typified facade when people say "I'm fine" as a suppression of their genuine feelings instead of the truth. This single, i'm fine, no, serves as a lead up to her upcoming debut album days to morning glory set to be released on 11 December. In the meantime, this track alone is addictive enough for us to be adding it to our playlists.