Every week, Spotify refreshes its influential “New Music Friday” playlist. Home to most major releases from across most genres, the playlist is a pivotal music discovery vehicle for millions of fans.
As we wave goodbye to the week of October 18-24, Headline Planet is happy to spotlight two standouts from this week’s playlist.
beabadoobee – Space Cadet
Proven by strong release after strong release, beabadoobee is one of music’s most promising acts. “Space Cadet,” the title track from her new EP, provides a perfect introduction to her prowess.
The artist makes no mistake to hide her influences on the song, which (like other tracks on the EP) is a strong nod to ’90s alternative acts like Pavement, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and Nada Surf. She does not, however, hide behind these influences.
Whereas some artists use throwback sounds as a hollow gimmick, beabadoobee uses it for authentic self-expression. It is a platform for beabadoobee to tell her story, share her feelings, and make a meaningful connection with her listeners. The vintage elements may help make for an enjoyable listen, but they are not the reason to listen. Beabadoobee is.
From start-to-finish, she oscillates between quirky, frank and poignant lyrics to achieve the ultimate songwriting goal: communicating her brand while immersing the world in her emotional state. Elevated by gorgeous vocal delivery that is all-at-once restrained, airy, vulnerable and resonant, the song lets the world know who she is and how she feels.
Proving the earlier point about beabadoobee’s authentic use of vintage elements, the inviting production with nuanced instrumentation enhances the experimental vibe.
“Space Cadet” was not the first song to put beabadoobee on the radar. It is, however, the type of superb record that could make her position on said radar more prominent — and more permanent.
Au/Ra & Alan Walker – Ghost
Beginning with her international hit “Panic Room,” Au/Ra has been establishing herself as one of the most compelling artists — with one of the most captivating voices — in all of pop music.
Her vocal tone can superficially call-to-mind superstars like Dua Lipa and Katy Perry, but it possesses a completely distinct vibe. Simultaneously rich with youthful energy and gritty emotion, Au/Ra’s voice is as immersive as they come. It grabs listeners and doesn’t let go, making every song feel like an experience.
“Ghost,” her collaboration with star producer Alan Walker, powerfully showcases this capability. Catchy enough to resonate with mainstream pop fans but haunting enough to capture Au/Ra’s true aura, it stands out even in a week of very strong pop releases.
Not every individual lyric is perfect (I’m looking at you, “I feel like a missed call on a phone”), but the songwriting is definitely engaging on the whole. It offers an honest window into Au/Ra’s sentiment, proving that she is not simply a great singer. She is a storyteller.
“Ghost” is technically a promotional song for the game “Death Stranding: Timefall,” but it proves equally effective in confirming Alan Walker’s skill as a producer, and Au/Ra’s promise as an emerging pop star.