The best (and worst) new singles: Angel Olsen, Princess Nokia and more
02.10.2019

The best (and worst) new singles: Angel Olsen, Princess Nokia and more

Words by Augustus Welby

Perfume Genius and Jack Ladder also feature.

Angel Olsen – ‘Lark’

‘Lark’, the second taste of Angel Olsen’s most layered and sonically elaborate album to date, is a constantly evolving epic poem. Over a bed of swelling orchestral dissonance, Olsen comes to grips with the idea that everything we go through stays with us – the more we open ourselves up to intense intimacy, the greater the risk of being followed by ghosts after the spark goes out.

Label: Jagjaguwar

Princess Nokia – ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’

After last year’s emo-era tribute, A Girl Cried Red, Princess Nokia reengages with hip hop to demonstrably trample her haters. “All the time you been hatin’, you could’ve turned into something,” the Nuyorican MC advises with pity more than disdain. She uses the second verse to point out that instead of picking fights with other women, she’s out there throwing soup on racist men and retributively punching domestic abusers.

Label: S.H.I.T. / Princess Nokia Inc.

Perfume Genius – ‘Eye in the Wall’

Having delivered everything you could’ve wanted from him on 2017’s No Shape – fortified pop melody, maximalist elegance, beautifully carved lyricism – Mike Hadreas returns, honouring a presumed commitment to keep pushing boundaries. ‘Eye in the Wall’ comes from The Sun Still Burns Here, a collaboration with the YC dance company. Over the course of nine minutes, it develops into a physical, lusty and empowering dance song. “I’m full of nothing but love,” sings Hadreas, mirroring the thoughts of his fanbase.

Label: Matador Records

Jack Ladder – ‘Shades’

‘Shades’ isn’t one of Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s best known co-writes, but it’s one of the most touching. Recognising this, Jack Ladder renders it a richly emotive power ballad. The original melody is preserved, giving the song a deceptively simple air – it’s just about being gifted some sick sunnies, right? The lyrical beauty gradually reveals itself, however, with Ladder crescendo-ing through the hook: “I like this pain, I like this mirror, I like these shades.”

Label: Barely Dressed Records