Last Friday was a stacked day for new album releases. Over in the indie world, Sharon Van Etten and James Blake put out fantastic new albums, and pop column staple Maggie Rogers finally released her highly anticipated debut album Heard It In A Past Life. But we’ve also got some excellent singles, too. Ariana Grande samples The Sound Of Music (and maybe references Soulja Boy) in “7 Rings,” and Maren Morris kicked off her new album cycle with the self-love anthem “Girl.” Becky G is back with her first English-language solo single in a while (as expected, it’s catchy as hell), and I’m counting down the days until Norwegian pop princess Sigrid’s debut album finally arrives. Every week, Uproxx will round out the best new pop releases. We’ve got “7 Rings” and seven other great new tracks.
Maren Morris, “Girl”
Country queen Maren Morris‘ first single since her massive, pop-career-making “The Middle” stays true to her roots. “Girl,” the first track off her upcoming sophomore studio album, is more of the down-to-earth country that she perfected on 2016’s Hero, but with a glossy finish befitting her pop icon status. A warm, gentle ode to self-love, Morris sings to a friend (or herself, or all of us listening), a voice of comfort on a tough day. An unflattering selfie or rude comment can be enough to tank a whole week’s worth of self-esteem, and it’s easy to get locked in a self-hate spiral when you’re constantly pressured to compare yourself to others. But Morris assures that it’s brighter on the other side. When she says that “everything’s gonna be okay,” you can’t help but believe her.
Maggie Rogers, “Burning”
Maggie Rogers‘ Heard It In A Past Life is fantastic as a whole, and as hard as it is picking just one song to include here, I have to go with “Burning.” A cathartic, passionate song about love and life, “Burning” has been a favorite of mine since I first heard her perform it live last fall. Rogers sings about a feeling so intense that it’s like being pulled awake, running, snapping, being out of breath. The song captures that passion with incredible acuity, an instant jolt of energy and joy. The whole album is just as great front to back, so if you haven’t yet, just give the whole thing a listen and thank me later.
Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”
Ariana Grande‘s third single off Thank U Next, a trap-pop banger about how much wealth and capital the young singer has accumulated, has gotten some backlash for nearly every single one of those descriptors. Obviously, everyone is entitled to form their own opinions about someone’s music and celebrity image, and to be sensitive about whatever might hurt them. Listening to music is s very personal experience!
When “7 Rings” came out Friday morning, I was clocking out of my second eight-hour shift of the day. On the bus ride back home, I listened to the song on repeat about a dozen times, hypnotized by her confidence. For me, more than the rap cadence and display of mind-boggling wealth, I immediately noticed how proud she was to be providing for herself and making it work. Grande is proud of what she creates, and spends her money taking care of herself and her friends, chasing happiness according to her own definition and no one else’s. To my ears, at its heart “7 Rings” is a song about autonomy and confidence. It’s also a little too energizing — don’t listen to it after midnight unless you want to stay up until 4 AM plotting the prompt spending of every dime of your disposable income.