45s of the week: Meg Elsier, Megan Thee Stallion, Empress Of and more!

The tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Hollie Geraghty



Even as one of rap’s biggest and boldest personalities, Houston superstar, Megan Thee Stallion, dug deep for the bars to hit back at the haters with her swaggering new single. Directly addressing her rivals, a spoken word disclaimer opens the song in case the message isn’t clear (“I just wanna kick this shit off by sayin’ fuck y’all / I ain’t gotta clear my name on a motherfuckin’ thing”). It’s a blistering hype track that reclaims her name and narrative, hitting especially hard after a highly publicised trial against Tory Lanez last year, who was found guilty of shooting the rapper in the feet.


Opening with existential revelations that trickle down like a stream of intrusive thoughts, backed by the strum of a tinny guitar riff, this sneaky slow burner unfurls to reveal a tight indie rock sesh that sounds totally timeless. A racket of thrashing drums and zinging electric guitars tumble seamlessly into place, as Elsier breathlessly unleashes her internal monologue, an anthemic track that feels like you’re listening in to a basement band practice.


On her first new single in two years, Americana darling Jade Bird couldn’t have imagined just how prescient her words would be. Written before breaking up with her ex-fiancé and band member, who she met just aged 19, the UK-born, LA-based artist’s light and breezy new direction explores the “emotions before the rage”, a fragile acceptance that stings and winces at the heartache that lies ahead (“I swear I’m watching you fade away / Into another time and place”).



Taken from her fourth album ‘For Your Consideration’ (out March 22), who better to team up with for a ruminative love song than the greatest band in the world? “If a love can’t make you, break you, shape you / Then what’s love,” they ask on the tender track, backed by fluttering synths and skittering snares. “I didn’t want to have someone that I need,” confesses MUNA’s Katie Gavin, a slow and reluctant acceptance of what falling hard looks like.


The alt-pop star’s new single is an ode to the most important lesson in love. “So no strings, no strеss, no jealousy / No heartache and no fantasy,” she sings about the greatest relationship of all – the one you have for yourself. “​​The best chemistry and butterflies are with yourself when you learn to love you,” she said of the new song, which thumps, crackles and snaps with radio-ready pop beats and earworm hooks.

Listen to these and more of the week’s best new releases on our BRAND NEW playlist