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Sound Bite: Gryffin, Maggie Rogers and Judah & the Lion

Take a listen to our top five new songs from this week

New music can reinvigorate your sense of self. A great new song can invoke a feeling you’ve been missing or simply forgot about. Music has the ability to not only connect you with specific emotions but it can also open yourself up to understanding other people and their emotions. Someone once told me that music can make people more empathetic. Is that true? I don’t know. But, a lot of music lately has been leading me to believe it.

Superstar pop darling Ariana Grande continues on her release spree with a new track that shows her longing for more. It’s becoming a lot easier to empathize with this pocket-sized pop star after the rollercoaster of a year she’s had.

Indie-folk-rock-pop-country-banjo-playing band Judah & the Lion are finally back with new music and they have not lost their spirited vibe, tinged with a dark glimmer. The band’s new lyrics really demonstrate that no matter who you are, you might need help from time to time. Other new music includes new songs from producer Gryffin, crooner Matt Maeson and a masterful cover of Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” by Maggie Rogers, who is currently on tour supporting Mumford & Sons.

See below for all five of our favorite songs this week.

1. “Quarter-Life Crisis” by Judah & the Lion

We haven’t had new music from this band since their 2016 Folk Hop N’ Roll album but it appears as though we’ve just received the first of many new songs. Judah & the Lion have always maintained a bright, bold and vibrant personality, aiding in them quickly becoming festival favorites. On “Quarter-Life Crisis,” the band shows off their youthful energy with an anthemic chorus. According to the band’s Twitter, the release marks the first of six from December through May. Perhaps we’ll see a new album from these rockers.

2. “Imagine” by Ariana Grande

Ari is releasing music as fast as she’s gone through boys in the past. Following her record-breaking single “Thank U, Next,” she’s surprised fans with yet another track, dripping in reflective nuances. The recently dubbed Billboard 2018 Woman of the Year took to Instagram to help her fans decipher the lyrics: “But for those of you asking about ‘Imagine’: I would say if ‘Thank U, Next’ = acceptance … ‘Imagine’ = denial. Hope that makes sense.” Whether or not the song is about Grande’s ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, it’s clear that the singer will continue exploring new musical avenues into 2019.

3. “Tim McGraw” by Maggie Rogers

Singer, songwriter, perpetual twirler and a bit of Stevie Nicks reincarnated, Maggie Rogers is a multi-talented artist with a soulful sound that is punctuated by her poetic lyrics. For this track, she took a note from powerhouse Taylor Swift and covered one of Swift’s very first hits. Rogers put her ethereal twist on the song, never losing sight of herself as an artist. And honestly, it reminded me of how much I loved this song years ago.

4. “You Remind Me” by Gryffin ft. Stanaj

Los Angeles-based producer Gryffin has released his first full body of work called Gravity Pt. 1, featuring his newest single “You Remind Me.” With a pulsating beat and hypnotic hook, the song is elevated by vocals from singer Stanaj. Gryffin is gearing up for his largest North American headlining tour and fans can rest assured the shows will offer a true musical escape, evidence from “You Remind Me.”

5. “The Mask” by Matt Maeson

The poignant point of view from singer Matt Maeson comes straight from the tidal wave of life experiences he’s endured. The young singer belts out his vulnerable stories while the songs build to an emotional crescendo. “The Mask” captivates listeners with poetic lyrics such as, “I settled my grievance by crafting mask. And I never looked, I will never grow.” The video shows Maeson performing in Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn, New York. The singer is surrounded by vast space and filled with his own voice and the sound of his footsteps, creating a haunting and captivating visual.