Love songs tend to take center stage during February because of Valentine’s Day, and while there were some exceptional traditionally romantic tracks, different styles joined the battle for publicity this month. Ranging from soft rock to EDM, political to dreamy, here are the top five best new releases to add to your playlists.
5) “How Would You Feel (Paean)” – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran’s “How Would You Feel (Paean),” released Feb. 17 to coincide with his birthday, is the third single from his upcoming album Divide. It’s the most traditional love song on this list, but Sheeran told “ “I’d finished the album and I was going through notes, and I [asked] my girlfriend [Cherry Seaborn], ‘What’s your favorite song on the album?’” Sheeran said. “She said ‘You’ve forgotten it existed and I’ve got it in my email ‘cause I’m the only one you sent it to.’ So she picked it out from like, a year and half ago, and then I ended up recording it.” The soft pop paean, an ode that praises and honors its subject, is about Seaborn, and features Sheeran’s sweet, warm vocals, paired with his impassioned raspy voice over acoustic guitar.
4) “Believer” – Imagine Dragons
Technically released Jan. 31, Imagine Dragon’s “Believer” is an alternative rock track backed with pop rock vocals about embracing and accepting pain and utilizing it to grow as a person. “I had a visual in my mind of what ‘Believer’ represented for me…. You see this guy wandering the darkness of space… and he’s arriving at a place of color and brilliance,” co-composer Dan Reynolds said via Radio.com about the song’s cover art, created by Beeple. “Believer” marks the end of Imagine Dragon’s self-imposed 2016 hiatus.
3) “Something Just Like This” – The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
The Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s first collaboration “Something Just Like This” is from The Chainsmokers’ debut album Memories… Do Not Open, which is scheduled to release April 2017. The pop EDM track offers a new dreamy, nostalgic sound from The Chainsmokers. The song is about a relationship that knows it doesn’t need to be superhumanly perfect. The Chainsmokers and Coldplay debuted the song with a surprise performance at the 2017 BRIT Awards on Feb. 22.
2) “Chained To The Rhythm” – Katy Perry with Skip Marley
Katy Perry’s Feb. 10 release “Chained To The Rhythm” is her first release since her 2013 album, Prism. The track features Skip Marley, grandson of Bob Marley, and is scathingly about the uniformity in the music industry. It’s lyrics are charged with incredibly strong political implications and is self-described by Katy Perry as “purposeful pop” on her twitter. The track was led by a marketing effort in which disco balls with headphone jacks were placed in cities around the world, where fans could listen to the track before its release. It was debuted live at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
Skip Marley also released his first solo single, “Lions,” on Feb. 2, a reggae pop track proclaiming that we will stand strong in the face of injustice.
1) “Stay” – Zedd and Alessia Cara
“Stay” is an EDM Pop track by producer Zedd with vocals from Alessia Cara. The song premiered Feb. 23, and it is the first time the two artists have collaborated. The beat is frantic and sporadic in parts, reflecting the emotion of the lyrics. Throughout the song, Cara is asking her partner to stay with her and continue fostering their young and energetic love. The surreal cover art and imagery in the lyric video for the song give it a dreamlike sound, contrasting with the styles typical of either Zedd or Cara, giving a breath of fresh air from both artists.
All tracks are available on YouTube and Spotify.