CommRadio Singles Round Up: Feb 14
Singles Round Up – The Arts and Entertainment Department takes a look at some of the recently released singles from the past week.
“mona lisa” - mxmtoon
Indie artist mxmtoon dropped a new single that is slated to be featured on her upcoming album.
Titled “mona lisa,” the song harnesses a daydream through its ukulele based instrumental and mxmtoon’s airy vocals, but also features tempo changes that give it more of a pop sound.
Listing various artists in her lyrics, such as Frida Kahlo and Shakespeare, she expresses the exhaustion of constantly being a creator, but never the muse. She employs a catchy yet intense pre-chorus that showcases the building frustration the topic brings her.
To further her commitment to the role, mxmtoon poses as Leonardo da Vinci's “Mona Lisa” in the cover art.
Though not the happiest topic, mxmtoon sandwiches the many emotions of “mona lisa” between whimsical vocalizations in both the intro and outro, channeling its fairytale aesthetic to the very end. - Megan Kelby
“The Joker and The Queen (feat. Taylor Swift) - Ed Sheeran
Last Friday, singer-songwriters Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran released their fourth collaboration, “The Joker and The Queen”.
The pair have been close friends since 2012, after Sheeran’s meeting with Swift’s manager, which led to their initial meeting and the start of a dream duo.
Since then the pair have released phenomenal hits – Everything Has Changed (2012), End Game (2017) and Run (2021) – with their relationship being a true embodiment of friendship goals.
The versatility and musical chemistry of the pair is truly remarkable, as they have yet to disappoint.
For this collaboration, the pair decided to circle back to their roots and continue the narrative created in “Everything Has Changed.” In the music video, they went as far as recasting the original child actors – Ava Ames and Jack Lewis – who appear to be in high school.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, no spoilers here, but keep in mind the title, “The Joker and The Queen,” and be sure to grab the tissues. - Abby Chachoute
“Background Music” - Maren Morris
On Friday, Maren Morris released her second single off of her upcoming third album, Humble Quest.
The song begins with the simple strumming of the guitar and grows into a powerful ballad reflecting on mortality, the inevitability of endings and Morris’ relationship with her husband, fellow singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd.
At the beginning of the song, Morris nods to her and Hurd’s shared profession with the lyrics “who really knows how many songs we got left in us.” This acknowledges the uncertainty of their careers and how long their fame will last. Morris goes on to tie in the inevitability of endings with the line, “we call it forever but we know that there’s an end to it.”
Morris is a natural lyricist and eloquently uses her words to take listeners on a journey, in this case tying together her relationship with her own mortality. Instead of using cliches like “I will love you forever,” she acknowledges that there will be an end to their love, but she will love her significant other until they fade into just background music, rather than the popular up-and-coming artists that they currently are.
At the end of the song, Morris’ vocals fade out and the track itself changes from powerful and moving to quiet background music, signifying the change that Morris has been singing about. - Rachel Newnam
“City of Gods”- Fivio Foreign, Kanye West and Alicia Keys
Fivio Foreign collaborated with Kanye West to create a sound reminiscent of the Chicago-born rapper’s classic style prior to the release of “Jesus Is King” in 2019.
“City of Gods” is a hip-hop tribute to New York. The chorus samples The Chainsmokers “New York City” featuring Alicia Keys.
The beat is paced by an up-tempo electric drum that carries the flow of the song. Along with the beat, the verses are accompanied by adlibs from rapper Playboi Carti. Foreign keeps up with the bat with a fast-paced rap about his journey from the streets of New York to the music industry.
Kanye West comes in for the third verse and delivers one of his most impressive features of the past decade. Kanye fills his lines with bars referencing his career and features wordplay more in-depth than was seen in his most recent album “DONDA.”
“City of Gods” is a masterful tribute to New York and a must-listen for any fans of Kanye West or Fivio Foreign. - Evan Smith
“Stay Alive (Prod. SUGA of BTS)” - Jung Kook
After a brief hiatus, BTS’ Jung Kook has released a single titled, “Stay Alive (Prod. SUGA of BTS)”, as part of the soundtrack for the NAVER webtoon, ‘7Fates: CHAKHO.’ The ethereal and fantastical instrumentals, which are coupled with heart wrenching lyrics, make this dramatic single truly unforgettable.
The instrumentals in the single start slowly, but gradually increase in speed and volume, in order to accompany the powerful lyrics in the song. BTS’ Jung Kook is well-known for his gentle and melodic voice that pairs well with slow ballads, so there are moments in which the instrumentals overpower his voice.
“You are my fate… no words can express it enough / Salvation that saved a wearied me is that easier to grasp,” Jung Kook croons in the chorus of the single. While these lyrics are beautiful, it is hard to imagine that this single would ever be performed live at one of the band’s concerts.
Unlike many of the band’s other songs, “Stay Alive” has a chorus that is technically difficult to follow along with. However, it pairs extremely well with a fantasy webtoon novel such as ‘7Fates: CHAKHO.’
“Stay Alive” is a beautifully crafted single that nods at the fact that the members of the South Korean boy band, BTS, are no strangers to working within a wide range of music. - Rene Ahn
Megan Kelby is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Abigail Chachoute is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Newnam is a first-year majoring in Journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rene Ahn is a fourth-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Fourth-Year / Journalism
Rene Ahn is a fourth-year student from Tenafly, New Jersey. She is currently studying Broadcast Journalism and Sociology at Penn State.
First-Year / Broadcast Journalism