“she’s all i wanna be” by Tate McRae
“she’s all i wanna be” by Tate McRae, released on February 4, is a melancholic ode to McRae’s experiences and struggles as a teenage girl, specifically in dealing with society and peer pressure. The highlight of the song is McRae’s expressive performance and musical composition. With lyrics about dressing to impress, dealing with boy problems, and wanting to be like “her”—an ambiguous character in the song representative of the expectations and demands that McRae strives to meet—the song exhibits a sense of vulnerability that allows people to resonate with her music. Beyond the touching lyrics, the fusion of a rock and pop further convey her complex emotions of dejection, enhancing a connection with her audience. Overall, this song gets a personal rating of 5/5.
“Do We Have A Problem?” by Nicki Minaj ft. Lil Baby
Released on February 4, “Do We Have A Problem?” by Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Baby brings back her distinctive style and serves as a reaffirmation of her strength, talent, and success. While the song is a showcase of Minaj’s talent as a rapper and a singer, what is more impressive is how she incorporates a sense of empowerment. Minaj addresses her own experience with slander and shuts down accusations discrediting her talents. Despite the song’s catchy beat and clever lyrics, it incorporates slightly offensive content and does not particularly stand out as much compared to the rest of her skillful discography; as a person who prefers more soft and calm music, I rate this song 3/5.
“MAMIII” by Becky G and KAROL G
Topping the Youtube Trending Music charts as of February 13, “MAMIII” by Becky G and KAROL G, released on February 10, is an upbeat, Reggaetón-style anthem of female empowerment—an impressive accomplishment even with their status as global sensations. The two artists have unique vocal attributes that play off each other to enhance the quality of the song: Becky G’s clean and higher vocals blend well with Karol G’s uniquely smooth yet powerful voice to establish a cohesive style throughout the song. The song’s Reggaetón influences and distinct rhythms establish unique melodies, making this song a great hit overall. Based on abandoning toxic relationships and the harmful sides of love, Becky and Karol’s strong rapping and singing skills enhance the message of confidence and female solidarity that this song hopes to promote. This song can be enjoyed by not only Spanish-speaking audiences, but also for a variety of others who enjoy a mix of Latin and pop music. I give this song a rating of 4/5.
“The Joker and The Queen (ft. Taylor Swift)” by Ed Sheeran ft. Taylor Swift
A special remix of a previous release, “The Joker and The Queen (ft. Taylor Swift)” is a slow ballad honoring an unconditional love with soothing harmonies and instrumentals. Ed Sheeran’s solo rendition of the song was released on October 29, 2021 but the song’s remix with Taylor Swift came out on February 11. From a lyrical perspective, this song uses clever metaphors and imagery to bring out Sheeran’s appreciation for a simplistic yet beautifully touching romance. Even though this was a remix of the original “The Joker and The Queen,” this version implements a two-sided perspective on love, especially in building off the narrative established in one of the pair’s first collaborative works, “Everything Has Changed (ft. Ed Sheeran).” Adaora Mbanefo ’24 gave her opinions for the new release. “I really enjoy the lullaby love song vibes the song gives… I just find it funny that in real life, Ed Sheeran is sort of like a joker because everybody makes fun of him and Taylor Swift is the queen everybody adores,” said Mbanefo. Despite the song’s creativity and meaning, it still sounds rather generic; for that, this song gets a 3/5.
“Stay Alive” by Jungkook of BTS (prod. Suga)
Released on February 11, “Stay Alive”, performed and produced by Jungkook and Suga of BTS, is a promotion video for “7Fates: Chakho” by HYBE, an upcoming Webtoon based on an urban fantasy story set in South Korea. The lyrics connect with the darker themes of the Webtoon, straying away from the group’s recent pattern of releasing high-energy and optimistic dance tunes. The instrumentals for this song are dangerously catchy and give a tone of suspense. Leilani Glace ’25 shared her opinions on the piece, commenting on how the song stands out amongst the rest of BTS’s discography. “Unlike some of their recent hits, such as ‘Butter’ and ‘Dynamite,’ Jungkook and Suga’s solo debut ‘Stay Alive,’ conveys sorrow and longing to ‘stay alive’ within the reality of the [story of “7Fates: Chakho”]. The strained humming and the airy voice that starts off the song paints a picture of despair, that is only furthered by the chorus, and sudden crescendo in the middle of the song,” wrote Glace in an email to The Phillipian. Looking at both complexity in the song’s composition and the unique context for its release, I give this song a rating of 5/5.