Tracks that you need to hear and the artistes who are making the headlines: Lana Del Rey, James Blake and R. Kelly

Tracks that you need to hear and the artistes who are making the headlines: Lana Del Rey, James Blake and R. Kelly

Summertime sadness

Text: Aravin Sandran

Lana Del Rey releases a new track, "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have  but I have it". 

Eternally melancholic American beauty Lana Del Rey has dropped a new single off her forthcoming record Norman F**king Rockwell. Evoking the stripped-down sadness of "Video Games" back in 2012, she croons with the fragility of an angel on her tongue, "Don't ask if I'm happy, you know that I'm not / But at best, I can say I'm not sad / 'Cause hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have" with just a slow piano accompaniment. In the song, Del Rey name-drops American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath who tragically committed suicide at the age of 30 in 1963. Plath lived a troubled life, suffering from severe episodes of depression until her untimely death, but became the first poet to be recognised posthumously with a Pulitzer Prize for her dark anthology Collected Poems. Del Rey herself has stated that she wrote a book of poetry last year and has plans to release it sometime later this year. The lengthily titled "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have  but I have it" is the third single off her sixth studio album, produced by Jack Antonoff. Del Rey previously dropped "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch" in late 2018. Depression has never sounded this good.

James Blake announces new album, Assume Form.

Grammy Award-nominated musician James Blake took to Instagram to announce that he'll be dropping his fourth album, Assume Form on 18 January. The new album features Kylie Jenner's baby daddy Travis Scott, rapid-fire rapper André 3000, Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalia, American producer Metro Boomin and neo-jazz musician Moses Sumney. The shy 30-year-old Brit grabbed headlines last year when he spoke out about his struggle with depression and "suicidal thoughts" after a relentless year on the road. His new body of work is decidedly optimistic though. Gone is the "sad boy music" of his early heydays. In its place, a lovey-dovey upbeat ode to his partner, Jameela Jamil of The Good Place. Bet you'll be hearing more of this one at music fests throughout the world this year.


Musicians Chance the Rapper and Lady Gaga apologise for working with R. Kelly following the release of Surviving R. Kelly docu-series.

R. Kelly has been a polarising figure in music, until this month. While his nineties hit "I Believe I Can Fly" gave us wings faster than chugging a can of Red Bull could, horrific allegations that range from paedophilia to physical abuse have ignited controversy around the hip-hop star for a number of years now. His accusers including his ex-wife finally had the airtime they deserved with the release of the Surviving R. Kelly docu-series on Lifetime. While entertainers have been skittish about addressing their relationship with Kelly in the past, the docu-series put an end to all that deflecting. John Legend was the only high-profile performer to appear in the series. He reiterated his decision, later tweeting: "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a f**k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision." Lady Gaga quickly followed suit, apologising then dropping her collaborative track with Kelly "Do What U Want" from all streaming platforms before adding that the track marked a "dark time" in her life. Chance the Rapper apologised to the survivors for taking this long to speak out, as well as for his 2015 track with Kelly and Jeremih, "Somewhere In Paradise". With sexual assault hotlines ringing off the hook since the docu-series premiered on 3 January, the only silver lining to this story is that more women have been empowered to speak their truth and come forth with their stories of abuse. R. Kelly continues to deny all allegations.