Don’t press skip: October music highlights you might have missed

cover art for music you may have missed this month (october 2021)

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As the season changes, so do our playlists. Moving on from iced drinks and hot-girl-summer hype tracks, you’ve likely picked up Lana Del Rey’s Blue Banisters while sipping compulsively on PSLs (aka pumpkin spice lattes, for those who haven’t yet gotten into the groove of Christian girl autumn). After storing away those short sleeves, you’re blasting Adele’s “Easy on Me” while brainstorming your much anticipated Halloween look (somehow all while sobbing). This seasonal depression in your music taste is natural, and it’s only right to validate yourself with a hauntingly grim October soundtrack. Although this month may not have seen as much hype in the industry as September, have no worries! Music beat reporters Nurcan Sumbul and Ian Fredrickson are here to catch you up on the smaller releases you might have missed.

High Dragon and Universe, Alice Longyu Gao

Over the past three years, hyperpop princess Alice Longyu Gao has been releasing escapist, often humorous dance singles for her listeners to become lost within. Two years after dropping her smash hit “Rich Bitch Juice” with many infectious singles in between Longyu Gao shared her debut EP High Dragon and Universe on Oct. 14.

On the track “100 Boyfriends,” grand production from 100 Gecs’ Dylan Brady is paired with Longyu Gao’s classically sassy lyricism. Singing “Life is too short to not be kissеd/ That’s why I keep hot boys on my wrist/ Everybody jealous of my 100 boyfriends,” the song is incredibly danceable and bound to make listeners crack a smile.

The EP’s closer “DTM” is similarly catchy. A song all about the feat of electronic production, Longyu Gao scatters jokes bound to make producers smirk throughout the track. With lyrics such as, “I don’t have Ableton 11 (that’s OK)/ I hate to do dumb sessions (reschedule)/ Put me in with Charlie Puth/ Advance so big I gotta recoup (woo woo),” the track is lighthearted, upbeat and exceptionally entertaining.

Filled with immensely captivating tunes and unquestionably impressive production, Longyu Gao’s first EP is definitively promising, making for a short but nonetheless fun listen.

— Ian Fredrickson

“Charmander,” Aminé

Exaggerated eyeballs, hyperbolic lyrics and a Tarantino-level music video; Aminé has stepped up his game yet again with “Charmander,” his first single since the success of last year’s album Limbo. In his lyrics about seclusion and solitude, the Portland-based artist reveals he is more comfortable than ever running in his own league of rap counter-narrative. While “Charmander” maintains the silly, rebellious nature of his catalog, it also features Aminé dipping his toes further into the world of hyper-production. The high-pitched statement “I’ve been livin’ on an island too” is chopped and layered over fast-paced 808s, adding a fierce intensity behind his otherwise gleeful tone.

— Nurcan Sumbul

“Cleo,” Shygirl

After the incredible success of her sophomore EP Alias and the more recent TikTok virality of her song “UCKERS,” Shygirl is back at it again with “Cleo,” the first single off her upcoming debut LP. Never failing to impress, the provocative London-based rapper’s track is captivating, cerebral and most importantly, fun.

Backed only by strings in the song’s incredibly beautiful orchestral intro, Shygirl sings, “You got me feeling like a movie star/ All eyes on me/ You got me feeling like a movie star/ I can be your fantasy.” While the song progresses, however, the production builds as a house-inspired beat, and bouncy synths take over the once-minimal instrumentation to sound much more like a typical Shygirl track.

Paired with the single’s release is an eye-catching, high-budget music video. Featuring Shygirl looking glamorous as ever, donning beautiful gowns while surrounded by shimmering crystals, masked dancers and hypnotic lighting, the production only adds to the spectacle around the entrancing song.

Expectations toward all of Shygirl’s releases are undoubtedly high, yet she has once again not only met but exceeded such presuppositions. If “Cleo” is representative of what is to come from the musician’s highly anticipated debut record, Shygirl fans are bound to be pleased.

— Ian Fredrickson

“Blame It on the Edit,” RuPaul

This month, RuPaul chose violence. She also chose some better songwriters. The legendary drag queen recording artist and face of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” released “Blame It on the Edit” as the first single for her upcoming project MAMARU — which, if it bears any resemblance to this first glimpse of its theme, is bound to be stacked with brutal, ultra-catchy diss tracks to be eaten up by fans.

The track blatantly targets the many alumni of the reality program who claim to be victims to a “villain edit” by the show. The “Drag Race” fandom is already divisive over allegiances to RuPaul in general, so the confrontational lyrics of “Blame It on the Edit” only add fuel to the fires that some have lit about the queen’s reputation. However, the severity that some fans are attributing to the track seems out of place when remembering that it comes from the same person who sang “Peanut, Peanut, Peanut, Peanut, Pe-Pe-Peanut, Peanut, Peanut” with just as much conviction just a few albums ago.

The song itself derails from RuPaul’s usual house sound with its feelsy, R&B groove. The sensual bass backing RuPaul’s aggressively specific vocalisms provides an amusing listening experience — listeners will laugh out loud at the bluntness of “Only f— with bitches ‘All Star’ material,” asking themselves how drag queen music could possibly get any better.

— Nurcan Sumbul

Other notable releases: “Fancy Like,” Walker Hayes feat. Kesha; to hell with it, PinkPantheress

Nurcan Sumbul and Ian Fredrickson cover music. Contact Nurcan at [email protected]. Contact Ian at [email protected].