Bring back the beat: Music you missed this January

Design featuring different artists who came out with music in January 2021.

From album drops to unexpected chart-toppers and hit singles, January brought fresh talent and radiant melodies. Alyssa Shao| Daily Trojan.

It’s 2021. After almost an entire year of isolation and zero festivities, music brings solace to the mind and soul. An elegant melody accompanied by elaborate lyrics, occasionally adding energetic choreography and a colorful music video, music dominates the world. 

It’s time to forget about the physical isolation and discomfort. In the first month of a new year, why not allow yourself to fully immerse in music, be taken captive in the unlimited possibilities of lyrical wonders and heavenly harmonies?

January resonated as a fresh start for all. Let’s pick up the highlights of this month.

“Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo (Jan. 8, 2021)

Ready for some heartbreaking love feuds? In a time of cold isolation, we definitely need a fiery spirit of passionate love stories — or breakup stories. Ranking No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Global 200, “Driver’s License” marked Olivia Rodrigo’s extraordinary debut unlike any other. Listen to this Gen Z gently recite her broken heart as she drives past the suburbs, without the guy she thought was the one.

“Skin” by Sabrina Carpenter (Jan. 22, 2021)

Could this be her response to the “blonde girl” remark in “Drivers License?” Beginning softly, Sabrina Carpenter doubts the “gravity in the words [they] write.” But she soon launches into her blinding spotlight of a life, flaunting her long career in the music industry, slashing back at haters and softly responding to the newly-licensed-teenage-driver. While graceful lyrics discreetly tackle the injustices Carpenter faced, her strong yet majestically faltering vocal cords convey a sense of pride and utmost confidence that no one can “get under [her] skin.”

“Lie Lie Lie” by Joshua Bassett (Jan. 14, 2021)

Listen to this sharp farewell to an ex-best friend from the Disney+ star of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Despite much speculation from fans and the coincidentally corresponding release dates, Joshua Bassett sings about a betrayal from a long time friend, utterly irrelevant to the love triangle. Frequently revealing snippets of this song while working on it this past year, his dedication to the lyrics and music notes appear evident in the upbeat melody of the newly released “Lie Lie Lie.”

“De Una Vez” by Selena Gomez (Jan. 14, 2021)

Selena Gomez sings from her jeweled heart about her emotional growth through intricately weaved Spanish lyrics, poetically reciting self-empowerment. Proudly establishing her Latin American heritage, she immerses heartbroken listeners with precise words of healing encouragement, enticing a sense of empathic unity and compelling independence. After all: “Soy mas fuerte sola,” she asserts, “I am stronger on my own.”

“Nobody Is Listening” by Zayn (Jan. 15, 2021)

It looks like the coronavirus blues penetrated the musical blues by Zayn. His sad voice weakens into mumbles in his latest album, “Nobody Is Listening.” Unfortunately, Zayn’s intuition from naming his album stands uncorrected. The dismally isolated nature of his tracklist slowly rolled off the iTunes Top 100 into “Calamity” before barely balancing on the “Tightrope” at No. 22. Perhaps it was the overlapping dismay of the times that shrouded listeners from the potentially profound intent of creating personal music. Indeed, Zayn appears proud and accomplished to release music based on his creative journey as a solo artist for the first time. Despite the harsh chart records, it is never too late to appreciate the artistic value of Zayn’s intimate storytelling that resonates with purpose. 

“The Good Times and the Bad Ones” by Why Don’t We (Jan. 15, 2021)

True musicians, singers, instrumentalists — tune into this new album consisting of heartfelt songs personally written and composed by the band members of Why Don’t We during their tour and through coronavirus outbreaks. For an honest account of the good times and the bad ones, listen to the optimistic vibes of their new playlist.

“What I Said” by VICTON (Jan. 11, 2021)

Voice To New World (VICTON), these former romanticists are back with piercing vocals to celebrate their fourth anniversary. Adopting a unique Latin pop sound, these K-pop idols mix in brass instruments to create a dynamic dance hit. In the music video, VICTON fills the stage with powerful choreography, proudly claiming that “the future is now.” All seven members worked on this perfectly potent album, reflecting their accomplishments as artists and potential as future leaders of K-pop. 

“Anyone” by Justin Bieber (Jan. 1, 2021)

What about another sweet song for a golden 2021? The striking melody contrasts with soft lyrics dedicating his love for his wife, insisting that “if it’s not you, it’s not anyone.” Needless to say, the admirably pleasant nature of the lyrics address a heartfelt companion. Justin Bieber goes even further to don silk boxing shorts to fight for his love in this new music video.

“Life Rolls On” (Audio) by Florida Georgia Line (Jan. 15, 2021)

Is there a more wonderful way to address the times? To those anticipating the obvious, life proved unsettling after the sudden coronavirus pandemic. But as these country singers declare, the best alternative is acceptance of the “highs and the lows” and the “yes and the no’s.” After all, life rolls on.