If you are a massive music fan that is always looking for the latest and greatest thing, the first couple of months of 2023 have honestly been somewhat disappointing, especially in the United States. Compared to how it was the last couple of years, it has felt like the music world has been so slow. Honestly, I did sort of expect this kind of lull to start in 2023; so many artists were so prolific over the last 2.5-3 years, as so many artists took advantage of the quarantines/pandemic by working on and releasing a plethora of new music. Now all of these artists can finally tour and play all this new music, causing there not to be as many weekly releases. There are still a ton of big American artists who are slated to release new music later this year, so hopefully, the lull does not last too long. As the American music world has slowed down, foreign artists have been taking advantage. There has been a lot of great music coming out that is by up-and-coming foreign artists(or foreign artists who are massive in their home country but not so big in the U.S.), and I would like to put a spotlight on a few new songs by these great foreign artists that I enjoy a lot. With that being said, below is a list of some new, good music by non-American artists that I think everyone should check out. Please let me know in the comments below how you feel about these tracks, and also leave some suggestions of other new music I should check out.
on the street – j-hope with J. Cole
Ever since I saw the photograph of j-hope(of BTS fame) and J. Cole meeting last summer, I have been looking forward to a potential collaboration between the two j-hope has always been very vocal about his love and admiration for J. Cole as an artist(he even named his debut mixtape HOPE WORLD back in 2018 as an ode to J. Cole’s COLE WORLD), and I imagined j-hope would respect the art of Hip Hop and deliver in a big way if he did get this collaboration. j-hope did exactly that on this new track ‘on the street’ with J. Cole. This song has a sound that reminds me a lot of some of J. Cole’s best music. Particularly, the instrumental makes me think of the top songs from J. Cole’s album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The tune that is provided by the whistling of j-hope is very clean, smooth, and memorable; it is complemented by an old-school drum beat and record scratching that gives the song a 90s Hip Hop element. j-hope holds his own with his rap verse on this track; I enjoy his flow a lot, and his voice contrasts J. Cole’s nicely. Unsurprisingly, J. Cole smashes it with his verse as well, delivering inspiring bars that I am sure will uplift a lot of people. ‘on the street’ by j-hope and J. Cole is a cool and fun track between two titans in their respective worlds; I hope it is not the only time we hear these two on a song together.
Boy’s a liar pt. 2 – PinkPantheress and Ice Spice
If you are present on social media in any way in 2023, I would assume you would have at least heard this ‘Boys a liar pt. 2’ by PinkPantheress and Ice Spice in passing. From Tik Tok to Instagram to Twitter to Youtube, this song has been everywhere for the last couple of months. This track is so popular, in fact, that two different 30-year-old men(who both know about my passion for music) at the factory where I work on third shift asked me in the last week if I like this track because they enjoy it. ‘Boys a liar pt. 2’ UK Garage-Pop track that is just awesome to listen to. Everything about this track is an earworm. The instrumental has a sweet and warm tune that will get stuck in your head as soon as you hear it, and the song has an upbeat Dance beat that will make anyone move their feet when they hear it. PinkPantheress’s vocal performance matches the energy of the instrumental perfectly; her soft and dainty voice could not go better with this melody and beat. Ice Spice was the perfect rapper to pick for this feature, as her quirky and off-kilter flow goes so well with this non-traditional instrumental. ‘Boy’s a liar pt. 2’ is such a great Dance music track from two of the more interesting rising stars in the Western music world.
Moonlight Sunrise – Twice
Twice is a K-Pop titan that has been dominating the industry for many years. Since 2015 they have been dropping hit after hit, breaking many Billboard and Youtube records and causing quite a few viral dance crazes online. They have a new project dropping later this week(on March 10 to be exact if you are reading this after the fact), and ‘Moonlight Sunrise’ is the lead single from this project. Unlike most of their music, ‘Moonlight Sunrise’ is entirely in English, which has helped it organically pop off in the U.S. and UK more so than their music normally would(as most of their music that gets popular here becomes so because of the viral dance crazes). This song has a House music-tinted Synth-Pop sound that is so colorful, bright, and pleasurable to listen to. ‘Moonlight Sunrise’ is a track I have been listening to daily since it came out because it just puts me in a good mood. Everything about it, from the tune to the beat to the vocals, is just so great. My favorite part of the whole track(which is saying a lot), is the brief rap verse from Chaeyoung, as it creates a tough texture and switch-up in the middle of the track that it benefits from. ‘Moonlight Sunrise’ is the latest hit from one of the best K-Pop groups in the world, and it gets me very excited to hear their new album which is about to come out.
Over – Chvrches
Chvrches is a Scottish Indie Synth-Pop band that has been on the cutting edge of Alternative music since the early 2010s. I feel like they have always been years ahead of the curve in comparison to the other artists in their genre. This is why their music has always been so captivating. Chvrches has been excellent at incorporating modern Pop music into the Alternative and Indie music scenes. It has helped them bridge the gap between the Pop and Alternative fan bases and has exposed a lot of people to kinds of music that they normally would not probably listen to. Their newest single, ‘Over,’ follows a similar theme that the music on their last album. ‘Over’ has a sound that is like a modern version of 80s Goth-tinted New Wave music. Specifically, it is like a modern and brighter version of music by artists like the Eurythmics or INXS. Like usual with Chvrches’ music, the thing that stands out the most about this track is Lauren Mayberry’s vocals. Her voice is so clear and crisp and unique, and it gives so much life to an already very lively song. ‘Over’ is the latest example of why Chvrches is one of the most exciting Alternative Pop artists in music right now.
OMG – NewJeans
‘OMG’ new K-Pop sensation NewJeans is another song that I would imagine you have heard if you have a significant presence on social media. This song has been everywhere since being released. It has become a sensation online, with it dominating Tik Tok(and creating a massive dance craze on the app) for the last month or so and very quickly climbing the music charts. ‘OMG’ is a sweet Pop Track with an instrumental that is a Trap and UK Garage music fusion. The beat switches back and forth from Trap to Garage music, keeping it fun and energetic as the instrumental progresses. The melody is so bright and warm, and it gives this song a fresh, cool, and youthful feeling. All of the vocal performances on this song are awesome as well. All five girls in the group complement each other well and their chemistry gives the track so much life. ‘OMG’ is the first of many major hits that will come from NewJeans, because it is easy to see that they are special and I believe they will be very popular for a long time.
Shooting Star – XG
If you know me personally and we ever talk about music, I have probably mentioned XG to you over the last few weeks. Ever since I looked into this group early last month, I have been hooked. Similar to NewJeans, I think this group is the next new thing, as they are so fresh and versatile, and they are bringing something to the table that we have not seen much of before. XG actually has two new songs out right now that I love(the other one is called ‘Left, Right), but I chose to write about ‘SHOOTING STAR’ because it is popping off a little more. ‘SHOOTING STAR’ is a Pop-Trap track with a captivating sound. The instrumental in the verses of the track has a tough and intense Trap feeling to it, and the instrumental on the chorus and bridge have a colorful and atmospheric Pop sound that puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it. As great as the instrumental is, the best thing by far about ‘SHOOTING STAR’ is the various unique vocal performances. Every member of this group stands out a ton, and they all bring something different to the table that adds a great amount to the song. All of the rappers in the group have distinctive and captivating flows and vocal styles, and all of the singers in the group have incredible range and recognizable tones. ‘SHOOTING STAR’ is a banger that I can not get enough of, and it gets me very pumped up to see what XG does next. I am very excited to keep following this group, as I think they are legitimately great. I will be writing a full piece on this group soon where I go into XG a bit more, so stay tuned for that.