Ever since my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to match people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Get everything I've recommended this year on Spotify, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and leave a comment below telling me what you're listening to this week.
It is new music Friday but it's also Valentine's Day and there is seemingly no escaping songs about love, longing, and heartbreak — mostly because no one writes songs about love's true enemy, apathy. As much as I'd like to remove myself from this narrative, it's not going to happen. So let's start with a surprising entry from Kaitlyn "Yes, The Star Of Booksmart" & Mady Dever. This gorgeous little gem of a wistful folk pop song will make you feel like the perfect mattress topper: you didn't know your bed could feel so soft and you will never want to get up again. All breakups aren't bad, the lyrics posit; sometimes you learn something from them and sometimes they even leave you in decent shape.
Ambar Lucid "Story To Tell"
Dominican/Mexican-American singer Lucid drops in this week with a true earworm of a song. If an empowering breakup anthem that slaps is what you were looking for to get you through this holiday (and maybe a few weeks past it), stop here and press repeat. Continue until you've danced off your love hangover.
Arlo Parks "Eugene"
Parks applies her magical voice to singing about that ambiguous relationship, the one that isn't quite a friendship and isn't quite love. Her voice is loaded with the weariness of someone who is too tired to carry their feelings around anymore, but the energy of the track behind it keeps things moving forward. Don't you hate it when people play other people your records? So does Parks and the jealousy comes through in her lyrics.
Fany de la Chica "Do You Still Love Me?"
Go ahead and plan to make de la Chica your new obsession; this Harlem-based Spanish singer is loaded down with talent. She is a successful filmmaker who dipped into singing to help her — you guessed it — get over a breakup. Her music is phenomenal, tapping into so many genres that it's hard to even identify all of them listening to the track. But what sold me is how she lets her voice go, almost like scatting or into an untrained vocal wail that's so emotional that I can feel it all the way down to my toes. This is the catharsis we need in the world.
Luna Li "Trying"
Let's say goodbye to Valentine's Day with a lullaby from a classically-trained performer who has made a name for herself in indie rock. The lyric, "I wake up and feel okay / I could ignore the warnings," is my entire playbook in relationships and, wow, do we both need to cut that out. Let this song wash over you because it's an experience to live in, loaded with lush instrumentation and truly raw lyrics about trying to make a relationship work. This is what a real heartbreak hotel sounds like.