Fresh new music to add to your February playlist

Artwork of a person dancing in front of a window.
From Cardi B to Surf Mesa, end February with song before it’s too late. Isabella Melendez | Daily Trojan.

How is February already almost over? Time has seemingly flown by but also has moved at an excruciatingly slow pace. Over the past two months, this country entered a transitional period with a new president and also dramatically increased its distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

Though we shouldn’t remain ignorant of the world’s events, it’s okay to plug in your headphones and tune everything out once in a while. What better way to do that than to discover the new music that blessed us during February?

“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s long-awaited “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is finally here, and it could not have come at a better time. After the 31-year-old artist announced in 2019 that she would be re-recording and releasing her first six studio albums to regain control of her discography from her former record label, this Feb. 12 release is the first sneak peek into her endeavor. “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is reminiscent of 2008, back when Swift first fooled the world into believing that all love was like the love she sings about in her songs. Thirteen years later, her matured vocals continue to bring out everyone’s inner hopeless romantics.

“PINK PLANET” by Pink Sweat$

Pink Sweat$’ first studio album, “PINK PLANET,” was also released Feb. 12. The Philly-born artist debuted in 2018 with platinum-certified “Honesty.” His first two EPs earned him accolades from Billboard, Apple Music and YouTube, as well as a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2019 Soul Train Awards. Expectations were high, but “PINK PLANET” delivered. “PINK PLANET” is pleasant all throughout its extensive tracklist of 18 songs and encapsulates everything Pink Sweat$ does best: making the world swoon over his brilliant, romantic lyricism and buttery vocals.

“Carried Away” by Surf Mesa and Madison Beer 

To finish off the Feb. 12 releases, Surf Mesa and Madison Beer’s first collaboration is this month’s ultimate feel-good love ballad. “Carried Away” reflects all love and no pain, and the song is deserving of just that from fans. The duo captures the feeling of meeting someone and falling in love for the first time. The innocence and youthfulness of the song’s meaning blends perfectly with the light strumming of the guitar and Beer’s soulful tone, bound to carry listeners away to a fairy tale scene and leave butterflies in their stomachs. Expectations are now high for Beer’s debut studio album “Life Support,” which will be released Feb. 26.

“Up” by Cardi B

Cardi B may have another one of her songs trending on TikTok with her latest release. Coming out of the “WAP” high and having charted on Billboard’s Top 100 for four consecutive weeks, Cardi returns to ‘up’ her career with “Up,” released Feb. 5. “Up” is speculated to appear on her sophomore album and is another high-energy track to listen to while working out or mindlessly completing a task. Cardi’s explosive mood booster will leave listeners feeling ‘up’ for the rest of the day.

“40:42” by Vampire Weekend

Early in 2019, Vampire Weekend released their song “2021.” For the band’s “40:42” EP released Feb. 4 of this year, the band recruited jazz saxophonist Sam Gendel and rock band Goose to cover and produce their own versions of “2021,” each lasting exactly 20:21. If it wasn’t already obvious, the EP’s name cleverly results from adding both durations. Gendel’s version remains authentic to his jazz sound, while Goose relies on improvisation of instrumentation and vocal sound effects. Both covers are an abstract listen, but in all its oddity, “40:42” as a whole is enthralling. It also makes for good study music, so for those sick of the same lofi hip-hop beats, give this EP a listen.

“Remote (Deluxe)” by Wallows

Wallows first revealed “Remote” on Oct. 23, but five additional songs were released as part of “Remote (Deluxe)” on Feb. 19. Its cover flaunts a brightly-colored TV static design and the songs’ use of synths and distortion of sounds all create a vintage effect. There’s no question about it, this album belongs in a bowling alley scene in an ’80s coming-of-age movie. “Remote (Deluxe)” flexes smooth transitioning between each song and the cohesiveness of the entire discography. With the vibey blend of retro, pop and indie, “Remote (Deluxe)” is a testament to Wallows’ constant pushing and exploration of their style.

“Way Less Sad” by AJR

“Way Less Sad,” released Feb. 17, is the fourth single off of AJR’s upcoming album “OK ORCHESTRA.” At first, the lyrics seem to lack complexity but a closer analysis reveals the trio’s unique but genius outlook on life and happiness. Singing “I should move ‘cause New York is gettin’ muddy out / there’s L.A. but it’s always kinda sunny out,” AJR introduces how people will always find a way to be unhappy with an alternative option because it’s not perfect. But by setting “my bar real low / I ain’t happy yet, but I’m way less sad.” AJR suggests that happiness comes more naturally when there is not an expectation of perfection and that while happiness is difficult to achieve, feeling less sad is progress nonetheless. Fitting the song’s title and meaning, “Way Less Sad” and its upbeat tone will make listeners way less sad throughout 2021.