Frank Ocean returns and Doja Cat conquers on our weekly music playlist.

Frank Ocean – “DHL”

The man. The voice of a generation. The enigma. Frank Ocean is back (with a club night named PrEP+) and his first original song since 2017, and don’t think for a second that social media didn’t go into meltdown mode. The laidback, trickling tempo morphs throughout the meandering song, picking up a distorted, hazy quality with quiet, melting synths chugging “DHL” along. All the while Ocean’s leisurely stream of consciousness touches upon everything from a “cyst on his wrist” to getting “[ridden] like an Uber”. Jheeeeze!

GRAE – “Fade To Black”

If anything is going to make you pick up the phone and give your family a call, it’s the nostalgic home video-style visuals from Toronto-born singer-songwriter GRAE. But delve a little deeper into the track, which is bolstered by GRAE’s uniquely piercing vocals, and it’s actually a poignant meditation on her own childhood experiences of a parent’s alcohol dependancy.

“I hope ‘Fade To Black’ can help those in similar situations feel less alone,” explains GRAE. “When I was a child I felt like no one understood the things I was going through, but I want anyone who is going through it, to know that I understand.”

Doja Cat – “Rules”

Our jaws are still very much embedded in the ground from her visuals for “Juicy”, but we have now officially reached peak stan as we gaze in wonder at Doja Cat’s fierce af new music video for “Rules”. The staccato spit of the LA-hailed rapper, or should we say feline, or should we say big boss of a cat mafia, flows over the tracs as she picks up a briefcase of $$$ and saunters through the desert, later writing on a podium with a python in tow. Why tf not.

Dan Lyons – “Biarritz”

Straight away, from the very opening bars of “Biarritz”, the influences are clear. Leonard Cohen. Serge Gainsbourg. The haunting, jaunty melody gives way to visualisations of sitting anonymously in a smoky café, cigarette dangling from your fingers, contemplating a life gone wrong (just us?). Former Fat White Family drummer Lyons has conjured an image not entirely dissimilar to his own experience in Paris, where he penned the song while first embarking on his solo career. But he wants us to know the song is a state of mind, not a place.

“In the context of the song, ‘Biarritz’ can be anything, or anywhere,” explains Lyons. “It’s an escape, a fleeting romance. The town itself is a seaside resort, not dissimilar to where I am now, in Margate.”

Selena Gomez – “Lose You To Love Me”

We’re never ones to ride the speculation train, but if this ain’t a non-subtle par to Justin Bieber’s newfound happiness… (it clearly is). I mean: “In two months, you replaced us /
Like it was easy.” Whew, Hailey Bieber look away.

The break-up ballad itself is meaty pop goodness, pulling on the heartstrings with a simple composition: all sombre piano accompaniment and Gomez’s fluttering soprano vocals. And the visuals are stripped-back high-drama with Gomez pleading to the camera in black-and-white. Of course.

Nadia Vaeh – “1000 Cuts”

Just in time for Halloween, something truly wicked this way comes. Aka the latest track from the Atlanta-hailed singer-songwriter, who has been making waves for a while now with her hypnotic brand of southern soul/pop.

And “1000 Cuts”, just like the title might betray, is a propulsive, brooding track with churning percussion and layered composition – spurred on by Vaeh’s breathy, decisive vocals.

Rhys Lewis – “Be Your Man”

If the colder seasons spell a hibernation stint in the ol’ duvet, then look no further than the soothing airwaves of Oxford-born singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis. And his brand new song “Be Your Man”, is a wistful accusation of a current lover who is still entangled with their ex. Sigh. “I’m in his shadow all the time / Because he still creeps up in your mind”. Starting slow and tender with minimal tinkling piano keys and Lewis’ near-whisper vocals, the track eventually builds to a triumphant crescendo – and we are so here for it (crying through it).

Maybelle Morgan