Singles Roundup: Week of Feb. 15
Taylor Swift – “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)”
Fans slipped back into Taylor Swift's “Fearless” era this Friday with a re-recorded version of her hit single “Love Story.”
Swift lost ownership of her first six albums when record executive and investor Scooter Braun acquired her original record label, Big Machine Records, allowing him to profit from Swift’s sales against her will.
“Love Story,” once known for its hopeless romance, has now transformed into a symbol of Swift regaining ownership and power over her music.
The sound of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is nearly indistinguishable from the original.
Looking to revive her 18-year-old self, Swift keeps the same lyrics, banjo introduction, instrumentals and song length at 3:55.
But there are noticeable differences between the two versions, most notably Swift’s exquisite vocals, which reflect her vocal growth since her 2008 debut. She sings with a more sophisticated and confident technique, perhaps defying the music industry’s control over her work. It’s clear that her voice has gone through much growth since “Fearless,” shifting from a soft pop feel to a much deeper, clearer tone.
Even 13 years later, enthusiastic fans dance around their rooms to “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” and experience the rush of sentimental memories from the “Fearless” era. —Emmy Vitali
slowthai & Skepta – “CANCELLED”
Two of Britain’s biggest rappers, slowthai and Skepta, have teamed up to “cancel” cancel-culture in one of the best songs of the year so far. The single—aptly titled “CANCELLED”—was released a few days before slowthai’s sophomore album “Tyron” dropped.
“CANCELLED” is really more of a Skepta song with him rapping the chorus and two verses; slowthai has just one. But both rappers have the ability to completely transform a song once they hop on it, and they do so here. From elaborate rhyme schemes to insane energy and delivery in their flows, “CANCELLED” will surely be a hit live in person and on the aux.
The beat is made up of haunting flutes and synths that are somehow both beautiful and scary at the same time. It sounds like nothing else out there right now, and it’s beyond refreshing to hear something so unique.
Between “CANCELLED” and “MAZZA,” slowthai’s previous single featuring A$AP Rocky, fans should love everything he’s been putting out recently. With this consistency, there would be no surprise if slowthai becomes bigger than he already is. —Caelan Chevrier
Dua Lipa – “We’re Good”
Dua Lipa has returned for her latest single from the deluxe edition of her album “Future Nostalgia.” “We’re Good” sticks with the retro vibes present throughout the original album and ends up being a very engaging pop song.
Lipa sounds fantastic on this ‘80s beat; it’s a very groovy song that perfectly emulates the decade. Her raspy voice is very unique and booms throughout the chorus.
The song is also very derivative—in a good way—sampling from many iconic pop songs from the past. These samples add a twinge of nostalgia, and they work really well together.
One of the best parts of “We’re Good” is its memorable rhythm. The funky beat pulses through the ears of the audience, and the different changes it undergoes work really well without sounding clunky. The transitions are smooth as well.
Overall, “We’re Good” is a very solid pop song. Dua Lipa succeeds yet again in creating a song filled with nostalgia and retro vibes. This song proves why Lipa is one of the best pop stars out there right now. Fans of “Future Nostalgia” should be sure to check this song out. —Jack Freiser
Buffalobang – “Rock Museum”
On Valentine’s Day, Sweden’s own Buffalobang released the long-awaited EP “A Beautiful Feeling”—in essence, a collection of emotional songs displayed in the most uncommon of ways.
The project is a focal point of Buffalo’s career, as he unexpectedly interlaces fragments from his alter ego “bigdog30k.” He also claims the songs to be “experimental,” which is exactly what fans want to hear from a self-produced artist.
“Rock Museum,” which features Sg Lily, is the standout track from the release, as it chronologically unveils a sea of sounds and exotic instrumentals rarely utilized in modern underground hip-hop.
The melody consists of two sweet guitar chords, a distorted two-note synth and a sturdy drumbeat hovering around the 250 BPM mark. However, as the song progresses, listeners get to hear the drumbeat peek at varying stages, hints of bass, more distorted synths and a crash cymbal ever so often.
The vocal performance is designed to resemble the instrumental and guide segments of the track into the unexpected. Both Sg and Buffalo use heavy autotune that, when properly tuned, hug the melody in an addicting fashion.
The lyrics are nearly unworkable, but overall, “Rock Museum” is alternative music in its purest form. —Juan Mendez
Emmy Vitali is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caelan Chevrier is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Jack Freiser is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juan Mendez is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Second-year / Journalism
Juan S. Mendez is a second-year student from Sogamoso, Colombia majoring in journalism at Penn State University. He is a frequent CommRadio contributor through play-by-play and production for Penn State sports, primarily soccer. As a writer and podcast member, he also contributes in covering the NFL, NBA, international soccer, college sports, and occasional music reviews. Bilingual, and with a substantially dispersed knowledge, Juan intends to work covering multiple sports internationally in English and Spanish at a professional level.
Second Year / Journalism
Freshman / Telecommunications
Sophomore / Telecommunications