Singles Roundup: Week of Oct. 26

Story posted October 26, 2020 in

Ariana Grande – “positions”

After dropping a few highly successful collaborations with artists like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande finally returns with new lead single “positions” from her highly anticipated sixth studio album of the same name.

The music video for the song was also released on the same day.

“positions” continues Grande’s signature pop/R&B sound with trap elements. The song’s beat quickly hooks the audience, and the transition into the chorus is very smooth.

Lyrically, the song challenges the gender roles of a woman. The music video sees Grande balance presidential tasks and cooking in the kitchen.

Grande’s voice is as strong as ever. However, the song is a little underwhelming as a lead single, especially since Grande has created huge pop culture moments with previous singles such as “thank you, next” and “7 Rings.”  —Jimmy Lu

Wallows – “Coastlines”

Wallows released “Coastlines” Friday, singing about the hardships of having a long-distance relationship.

“Coastlines” starts out with lead singer Dylan Minnette asking if you can hear the knocking at your door, referring to the nervous thoughts that come with maintaining a long-distance relationship.

Minnette brings up how he could go blind looking at photos of his partner, showing the struggle of not being able to be with them.

Minnette then moves into the chorus, saying that he doesn’t want to think about those thoughts when he is not even on the same side of the country as his partner.

The second verse moves into the darker side of those thoughts, as Minnette admits to crying, ending the verse by saying that he hopes he’s not just being overdramatic.

The song ends with Minnette singing about how he doesn’t want to think about it anymore, and he apologizes for being dramatic.

“Coastlines” has an unusual trippy beat to it with a nice blend of piano, drums and guitar that gradually build up to the end of the song with a climactic guitar solo.  —Nicholas Mancuso

H.E.R. – “Damage”

H.E.R.’s new single “Damage” was released Friday. H.E.R. sings “Damage” with elegance and a stunning voice while telling a story like usual, but unfortunately, “Damage” is nothing special compared to her previous hits.

H.E.R. produces songs that her fans vibe and resonate with, especially women, due to the lyrics that typically regard relationships with men. Despite this history, “Damage” sounds repetitive and doesn’t have much substance to it.

“Damage” starts with the vibe of an old track and a soft tone in H.E.R.’s signature voice that fans love. However, it seems as if there is less natural singing and more autotune, making for a dishonest listening experience.

There is a slow and sentimental instrumental towards the end that provides a smooth transition out and ends the song on a unique note. However, it lasts too long and will likely lead her listeners to skip to the next song on their playlist instead of listening through the full single.

While “Damage” may have not been the best single to release, it could be a sign of good things to come, if H.E.R. is indeed hinting at a new album to come.  —Savannah Scarborough

Drax Project – “Firefly”

Drax Project, a four-member New Zealand band, released “Firefly” featuring Fetty Wap and AACACIA on Saturday.

“Firefly” is Drax Project’s first new release since the COVID-19 pandemic and their debut album last fall.

The band stated that they were wrapping up one night when Ben O’Leary, one of the members, started freestyling on the guitar. His band members then chimed in on the piano and the mic with the lyrics “hey, little firefly.” That’s how “Firefly” was born.

The beginning of “Firefly” is infused with techno-pop and classy jazz, reminding listeners of the upbeat ‘90s “Sex and the City” introduction.

This catchy tune is fueled by the enriched vocals and classic interjections by Fetty Wap. All backing instrumentals pull the vocals together for a full-circle masterpiece. It has that Ed Sheeran feel with a hip twist.

“Firefly” is definitely the perfect song to drive to with all the windows down or in the background while studying. Either way, music fans should take the time to listen to this song.  —Courtney McGinley

Major Lazer feat. Alessia Cara – “Hell and High Water”

“Hell and High Water” is the newest single from Major Lazer’s latest album “Music Is the Weapon.” This song marks the first collaboration between Major Lazer and Alessia Cara, and it is a pretty spectacular song.

Alessia Cara sounds phenomenal on this track, reminiscent of her work in the song “Stay” by Zedd. Her voice is very powerful and soulful, and her sensational harmonies are so smooth.

The track is very catchy, and the beat fits the vibe perfectly. The beat drop isn’t too long, and it fits Cara’s verses. For a song produced by three spectacular DJs, the beat isn’t super showy. It is pretty reserved, which enhances the chill vibes created in the beginning of the song.

This is a super short track that is totally worth checking out. It truly showcases how marvelous Major Lazer’s production is and how incredible Cara’s voice is.  —Jack Freiser

FINNEAS – “Can’t Wait to Be Dead”

Finneas O’Connell is known for writing and producing music, especially for his sister Billie Eilish. But he has also proven himself as the solo artist FINNEAS, a multi-faceted and insanely talented individual with his several singles, EPs and one album “Blood Harmony.”

FINNEAS’ new single “Can’t Wait to Be Dead” is captivating and gives off ironically feel-good vibes. These vibes highly contrast with the dark lyrics and overall meaning of the song.

The song starts off with a stripped-back acoustic guitar that slowly builds intensity over time as the lyrics become increasingly emotional. The iconic vocal alteration in Eilish’s song “Bad Guy” makes a small appearance in this single as well.

The song’s title, “Can’t Wait to Be Dead,” is already an indicator of the deeper, darker meaning of the song. FINNEAS’ lyrics express his hatred of the internet during these tense political times in the United States.

Anyone who is equally tired of the media and the uncertainty within the world right now should listen to this song. Listeners will find ways to relate to FINNEAS’ message and will also find it easy to jam out to the melody of this new single.  —Courtney Benedetto


Courtney Benedetto is a freshman majoring in print/digital journalism. To contact her, email at

Jack Freiser is a freshman majoring in either media studies or telecommunications. To contact him, email

Savannah Scarborough is a freshman majoring in digital media and journalism. To contact her, email

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email

Courtney McGinley is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email

Nicholas Mancuso is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu's photo

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu

Senior / Telecommunications

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu is a senior from Taiwan majoring in telecommunications at Penn State. He is a contributing writer for the CommRadio arts & entertainment department. If you’d like to contact him, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Nicholas Mancuso's photo

Nicholas Mancuso

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Nicholas Mancuso is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism.

Courtney McGinley's photo

Courtney McGinley

Sophomore /

Courtney McGinley is a Sophomore from Pittsburgh, PA, and is majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Business. She serves as a News Reporter for CommRadio. In addition to CommRadio, she is a Field Reporter for PSNtv and an Entertainment Reporter for the Nittany Lion Red Carpet Network. Her twitter handle is @court_mcginley.

Savannah Scarborough's photo

Savannah Scarborough

Freshman / Digital Media and Journalism

Courtney Benedetto's photo

Courtney Benedetto

Freshman / Print/Digital Journalism

Courtney Benedetto is from Dover, Delaware. She is a freshman pursuing a print/digital journalism major and a creative writing minor. Courtney is a member of the arts & entertainment department of CommRadio as well as a lifestyle candidate for the Daily Collegian. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jack Freiser's photo

Jack Freiser

Third-Year / Telecommunications

Jack Freiser is a third-year student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University studying telecommunications. He is very passionate about both music and film. He aspires to impact the music business as a successful A+R by signing artists who will be culturally relevant and will leave an impact on the world, and through keeping a strong relationship with the artist and their team. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).