Songs of the Week: Pet Shop Boys, Justin Bieber and More
Here's everything you need to hear from the week of 12/30.
It was a relatively quiet week for new music releases as we bid adieu to 2019 and ushered in a new decade, but there were still a fair amount of new songs to ring in the new year with, from vaguely New Year’s-themed offerings from Lauv and Lil Tjay to the return of Justin Bieber. As always, we’ve compiled it all for you in a handy playlist below, so you can kick off 2020 the right way — with some new tunes.
Bombay Bicycle Club, “I Can Hardly Speak”
The latest single from Bombay Bicycle Club’s forthcoming fifth album, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (out Jan. 17), is — as you might have guessed from the title — about the struggle to express oneself verbally. “A picture on the wall/Looking back at me/And I can’t even talk/Floating in a dream,” frontman Jack Steadman sings.
Pet Shop Boys, “Monkey Business”
2020 is shaping up to be a big year for this beloved UK duo. Their new album, Hotspot, comes out Jan. 24, and when promoting new single “Monkey Business” on BBC Radio 2 this week, singer Neil Tennant hinted that a possible Glastonbury performance could be in the works.
Justin Bieber, “Yummy”
The Biebs is back. After a tumultuous few years, the pop star is poised for a comeback in 2020, promising a new album, a YouTube docuseries and a tour. Our first taste comes in the form of “Yummy,” an ode to his wife Hailey Baldwin.
Hailee Steinfeld, “Wrong Direction”
Hailee Steinfeld has yet to confirm that “Wrong Direction” — released at midnight on Jan. 1 to ring in the new year — is about her ex, One Direction’s Niall Horan, but with its title and lyrics like ““Looking back I probably should have known / But I just wanted to believe that you were out sleeping alone,” that seems like a pretty safe guess.
His 21-track debut album ~how i’m feeling~ isn’t out until March 6, but Lauv’s single “Changes” feels especially timely as we all try to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. “I wrote ‘Changes’ about being at a point in my life where it just wasn’t working for me anymore,” the singer explains in a statement. “I wasn’t happy with myself, with the way I was living, and I felt like I needed to grow and evolve. It’s one of my most personal songs, and a massive favorite from the album.”
Oh Wonder, “Happy”
“Happy” is our latest glimpse of this pop duo’s upcoming third album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown (out Feb. 7). It’s all about wishing an ex the best and actually meaning it — just the kind of positive vibes worth carrying into 2020.
Lil Tjay, “20/20”
Lil Tjay kicked off the new decade with some self-reflection, grappling with fame on “20/20.” “Living in the moment but I want this shit for years,” he raps after a lengthy piano intro. “They like, ‘Tjay, bro, you made it,’ I still feel like I ain’t there.”
Jan St. Werner, “VS Cancelled”
“VS Cancelled,” from Jan St. Werner’s forthcoming Molocular Meditation album (out Feb. 21), features vocal contributions from The Fall’s Mark E. Smith recorded before his death in early 2018. Smith reads an email from Domino Records cutting ties with his and Werner’s band Von Sudenfed on the track.
Mick Jenkins, “Carefree”
Though it was just announced this week, fans don’t have long to wait for Mick Jenkins’ latest project: the seven-song Circus will be out Jan. 10. Our first taste comes in the form of the warm, jazzy “Carefree.”
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