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Catch Up on a Month of New Music

ICYMI: A recap of the first month of our new series, Annotated On Rotation

On October 4, 2021

We launched a new series in September, Annotated On Rotation, here to give you context on what we’re spinning each week in our On Rotation playlist — curated by our Head of A&R Alexandra Berenson, no algorithm needed. Each week, we’re annotating each track with some added info to explain why these artists should be on your radar. To catch you up, here's a quick rundown of what you missed in Annotated On Rotation this month:

AOR 9.1.21: Featuring Amber Mark, Helado Negro, Rina Sawayama and more

This week's playlist runs from country crossover superstars (Kacey Musgraves) to Brooklyn DIY bands just out of high school (Geese) to indie-rock favorites (My Morning Jacket). Listen and read through the first edition of Annotated On Rotation to enjoy a truly genreless survey of everything we were spinning in early September.

About the featured artists...

  • Amber Mark has long been a star on the rise. Right before announcing her upcoming debut full-length, she released "Foreign Things." Revisit this glittery, smooth R&B-pop bop.

  • Most people know what it feels like to be on the outside, and Helado Negro took this concept in a different direction: He wrote a warm, loving song about being part of communities of outsiders. A single from his upcoming seventh album, Far In, Helado Negro welcomes us all to join him, "Outside the Outside."

  • The Metallica Blacklist, a covers album celebrating the 30th anniversary of their self-titled record, has drawn in an ecclectic and incredibly talented mix of over 50 artists to cover Metallica songs. The tracklist is a bit overwhelming (it's 12 songs covered by 53 diffferent artists) but Rina Sawayama's "Enter Sandman" is a must-listen. She keeps the energy of the original and magnifies it with the intensity of her vocals.

Read more here.

AOR 9.8.21: Featuring Charli XCX, Little Simz, ROSALÍA and more

After starting off a bit more danceable than your average On Rotation playlist, and including new cumbia-infused club music from Mr Twin Sister, this week covers soft alt-R&B (boylife) before concluding with another Metallica cover, this time by Kamasi Washington.

About the featured artists...

  • Charli XCX is back with her first solo single since How I'm Feeling Now, "Good Ones" has it all: synths, glamour, drama, self-sabotage.

  • Little Simz latest project, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert was somewhat foreshadowed by a quote from our interview with Simz in 2018: "One might call me shy or an introvert, but onstage it feels like I'm able to really let go. It feels almost therapeutic to be honest. It feels like a cleanse."

  • With the help of Dominican rapper Tokischa, ROSALÍA melded flemenco with dembow and created an infectious track that's impossible not to dance to.

Read more here.

AOR 9.15.21: Featuring Ari Lennox, Kacey Musgraves, Syd and more

On Rotation got a little steamy this week, starting off with Aaliyah's "Rock The Boat" before getting into Ari Lennox's guide to foreplay, MUNA's song about skin like "Silk Chiffon" and Moses Sumney seducing us with a... T-Pain cover.

About the featured artists...

  • In line with the tracks she guested on for Jazmine Sullivan's Heaux Tales, Ari Lennox's latest single, "Pressure," is three minutes on sex and foreplay — the reigning queen of Dreamville wants to make sure her lover has a manual for pleasure.

  • Kacey Musgraves is a "breadwinner," and she's not afraid to talk about how that can make men (presumably her ex-husband) insecure. Disguised as just your typical pop song with repetition and synths, it's irresistably catchy while still maintaining authenticity.

  • With "Right Track," Syd perfectly captured the new relationship glow of a fast-tracked romance. It's downright cheerful and keeps a little bit of summer fling energy in the fall.

Read more here.

AOR 9.22.21: Featuring KAINA, Magdalena Bay, Barrie and more

This week especially features remixes and covers, from the addtion of Kali Uchis to Amaarae's "SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY - Official Remix" to Bartees Strange covering Richard Swift to Makaya McCraven reimagining Kenny Burrell.

About the featured artists...

  • A true family affair, KAINA's "Casita" captures the ambiance of home with background vocals feautring her mom, aunt and a dear friend (Nnamdï). Even though the song is about longing for connection, it's still bouyed by KAINA's knack for sunshine.

  • Magdalena Bay made "You Lose!" about feeling like time for success is always running out, but also about the simple, everyday mishaps, too. You can experience the song and lose yourself by playing a video game online on their site.

  • Barrie, in a recent Instagram Live for VMP, said music she’s drawn to is “not overwrought, I have a fear of going too far in that direction.” Her latest track, "Dig," is self-produced, and maintains organic elements that are distinctly not overwrought.

Read more here.

AOR 9.29.21: Featuring Gabriels, Amber Mark, Dua Saleh and more

In the final On Rotation playlist in September, there are a few returning artists (Amber Mark, Geese, Bartees Strange and Andy Shauf) but also plenty of lesser known names added to the mix (Lou Roy, Sassy 009 and Hana Vu) — with a particularly colorful appearance by CupcakKe.

About the featured artists...

  • Gabriels' latest song, "Blame," tackles that subject directly, dealing with fault and shame in a beatiful R&B package. If you need a star endorsement to listen to the LA-based trio, they have gotten a rave review from Elton John, who said their earlier single, "Love and Hate in a Different Time," is "one of [his] favorite records in forever ... probably one of the most seminal records I've heard in the last 10 years."

  • Amber Mark finally announced her highly anticipated debut full-length, in conjunction with the release of her latest single, "What It Is." Listen to it as a preview and teaser for the full album, since Mark said in a statement that it "low key is the title track."

  • Dua Saleh proves that being a Rising artist for VMP doesn't stop with music: They're on their way to being a famous actor, too, after appearing in the most recent season of Netflix's Sex Education. Their latest release, "fitt" is a hypnotic single, especially with the addition of Amaarae's Afropop sensibilities.

Read more here.


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