New music singles made up of much-anticipated comebacks: Avril, Lana, and more

Houlton McGuinn

By Houlton McGuinn

After an uneventful summer, the music charts are ramping back up. Avril Lavigne, Lana del Rey, The 1975, and The Black Eyed Peas all released new singles in September. I’m excited for the weather to get colder and for new, wintery tunes to come out.

Five-years after releasing “Here’s to Never Growing Up,” a teenage rebellion anthem, Avril Lavigne returns with her new single “Head Above Water,” which is more personal. Lavigne took a hiatus from music while she fought Lyme disease and draws heavily on her experience doing so in this Christian-rock-esque ballad. It opens with, “I’ve gotta keep the calm before the storm / I don’t want less and I don’t want more” and builds gradually into the chorus. This song’s emotionally powerful lyrics remind me of her 2004 album Under my Skin, especially “My Happy Ending.” The old Avril is BACK and I am all for it.

High-energy, radio-friendly singles are typically released to drum up hype for an album. Lana Del Rey’s “Venice B****” is none of these things. “Venice B****” is nine minutes and 36 seconds of brilliant vocals and laid-back electric guitar. The moody, atmospheric track draws me in right from the get-go with its chorus: “You write, I tour, we make it work / You’re beautiful and I’m insane / We’re American made.” Written with and produced by Jack Antonoff, “Venice B****” follows up Lana’s “Mariners Apartment Complex.” This is already one of my favorite Lana songs.

The 1975’s fourth single for their upcoming album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships talks about how it is easier to be anything than who we are. “Sincerity Is Scary”  recognizes that in today’s culture we have forgotten how to express ourselves. The saxophone in the intro smooths into the first verse: “And irony is ok, I suppose, culture is to blame / You try and mask your pain in the most postmodern way.” Matthew Healy sings the chorus: “Why can’t we be friends, when we are lovers? / Cause it always ends with us hating each other.” While The 1975 fans will certainly appreciate it, the track to me is not particularly memorable.

Eight years removed from their last album, The Black Eyed Peas return sans Fergie., Taboo and each take a verse with opening the track: “A day in the life of a kid in America / Everyone’s a critic, watch them criticize your character / Everybody watching ya / People love to stare at ya.” He goes on to criticize the political leadership of the country: Our leaders are embarrassing / I think they need some parenting.” On “Big Love” The Black Eyed Peas do a great job of combining three hip-hop verses with a pop, radio-friendly chorus. I expect this to be a big hit.