From Jorja Smith to Lolo Zouaï to Missy Elliott: all the songs you need for the late summer heatwave.
Missy Elliot – “Throw It Back”
Misdemeanor’s (back) in the house. For the first time in fourteen years, Missy Elliott has blessed us with a collection of new music, this time in the form of an EP, Iconology.
The video for the EP’s opening track “Throw It Back” begins with Teyana Taylor (who you might recognise from Kanye’s Fade video) educating a little girl about the icon that is Missy Elliott, before the queen herself takes over the screen, appearing in a multitude of different noughties-style outfits. Announcing the surprise EP and video drop to her fans on Twitter last night, the game-changing rapper wrote “let’s #ThrowItBack to a time when music just felt good and made us want to dance!” Amen to that.
Jorja Smith – “Be Honest” (feat. Burna Boy)
Hot Girl Summer ain’t over yet. Jorja Smith’s new self-assured track “Be Honest” is full of the spirit of summer (and preempts the blazing heat coming this weekend).
With a guest verse from Burna Boy, “Be Honest” blends Smith’s soulful vocals with dancehall beats as the Drake protege seemingly sings to a crush. The vibrant video features Smith and friends attempting to cool down in a London heatwave by floating in a pool, riding a motorbike and dancing around various locations in Peckham. We’ll be channelling the same energy this weekend in the Bank Holiday sun, minus the motorbike maybe…
OTHERLiiNE – “Chimes”
When a song boasts creative direction from Alexander Brown, known for his work with Maribou State and James Blake, you know you can expect dreamy beats and sophisticated production, but this track from new partnership OTHERLiiNE has exceeded our expectations. “Chimes” is a perfect introduction to the partnership of two esteemed producers, George FitzGerald and TJ “Lil Silva” Carter – the latter having worked with Adele and Mark Ronson. Think Jamie XX meets Kaytranada with a bit of Four Tet mixed in.
WSTRN – “Night & Day”
WSTRN are back, continuing their blend of Afroswing, hip-hop and reggae with silky-smooth vocals on their latest track, “Night & Day”. The video sees the British duo across the pond in New York, while their experimental sound shines through in the song, providing the perfect late-summer anthem that feels simultaneously refreshing and timeless. While their award-winning songs have racked up over 400 million streams so far, it looks like the pair aren’t planning on slowing down any time soon.
Lolo Zouaï – “Caffeine”
French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouaï is only getting bigger and better, releasing another video from April’s debut album High High to Low Lows, following collaborations with Blood Orange and HER. “Caffeine” sees Zouaï drinking cans of pop with her name on in the neon-tinged visuals, singing “Pull up, I don’t wanna cuddle” in her sugar-sweet voice. The electro-pop banger is undeniably addictive, plus the merging of candy-cane and fluorescent aesthetics in the video are a moodboard for life.
Liz Lawrence – “USP”
Offering solace to anyone struggling with self-confidence and those inevitable feelings of insecurity, Liz Lawrence blesses us with a mantra for Gen Z, gleefully singing “they say you can’t, but you can” in this indie-pop anthem. “USP”, from Lawrence’s upcoming and entirely self-produced album Pity Party, is as personal as it is universal. “I think almost every generation is scared that their generation is going to be the last one”, the British singer (who has toured with Bombay Bicycle Club) explains. “…but it’s quite hard to deny that it feels as if we’re hurtling towards disaster”.
Freddie Long – “Caused By Grace”
“Caused By Grace” is Freddie Long’s “most personal release to date”, and it’s clear – Long’s brooding lyrics are perfectly accompanied by the song’s beautifully intimate (self-directed) visuals, which depict acclaimed dancer Grace Jabbari in the middle of a sunset beach storm. The singer gives us an insight into his experiences and reflects on his past, with Grace serving as the “metaphorical object of his misguided attentions”.