SOPHIE, Cosha and Rebecca Black with the electrifying pop hits you need: your Press Play-list for the week of Feb. 1

Bart Carmody, Arts Editor

Pop music undoubtedly lost an icon this past weekend, one who will inspire and influence generations of popstars to come. Sophie Xeon, also known by her stage name, SOPHIE, died from a tragic accident on Jan. 30. She was a monumental figure in the recently-popular genre of PC music, as well as in the trans community. In honor of her otherworldly, unlike-any-other hyperpop and glitchcore sound, we’ve curated six fresh tracks from experimental artists and up-and-coming popstars to celebrate SOPHIE’s discography, including a new whimsically warped single from SOPHIE herself. Here’s your Press Play-list for the week of Feb. 1.

Rebecca Black – “Girlfriend”

When many hear the name Rebecca Black, the first thing that comes to mind is that one fateful day of the week. However, for the past year, Black has been reinventing and rebranding herself, securing a spot as one of the newest glitchpop queens in the mainstream. An entire decade after the release of her internet hit “Friday,” Black has released her new single “Girlfriend,” a fun, synth-filled banger that tells the bittersweet story about Black getting back together with her girlfriend. While the song is not as glitchy or as experimental as Black has gotten thus far (see: Dorian Electra’s “Edgelord”), it’s an extremely enjoyable track, with a perfect portrayal of how far Black has come in terms of vocals and melodies. And if you’re anticipating more experimental Black, keep an eye out for a “Friday” 10-year-anniversary glitchpop remix –Black just teased the possibility on her Twitter this past week…

Brent Faiyaz & DJ Dahi – “Gravity” (feat. Tyler, The Creator)

In an unexpected but welcome super-collab, Brent Faiyaz, Tyler, The Creator, DJ Dahi and Steve Lacy just dropped a new single, “Gravity.” With verses from Faiyaz & Tyler, and production from Dahi & Lacy, the song is immaculately crisp, with every star shining in their respective role. Faiyaz delivers an infectious and harmonizing hook over a beat that sounds like something straight off Tyler’s “IGOR,” and, appropriately, Tyler of course delivers a verse to match, with classically clever lines such as “I’m a star, look at me from afar / Hard to be down to Earth, when you nestin’ on Mars / You comet on how I move, too much space to assume.” Listen to the four link up for an indie-rap posse cut on “Gravity.”

Arlo Parks – “Black Dog”

UK poet-turned-songwriter Arlo Parks has been silently waiting for her time to shine. With her debut album, appropriately titled “Collapsed in Sunbeams,” it’s clear that that time has come. One of the standout tracks, “Black Dog,” feels like a sunbeam sonically, complete with pleasant guitar strums and gorgeous vocals from Parks. Lyrically, however, the track holds a far more serious undertone, touching upon subjects such as depression and isolation. “This song is about a friend of mine,” Parks told Apple Music, “but also explores that the universal idea of being stuck inside, feeling depressed, isolated and alone, and being ashamed of feeling that way, too.” The phrase “black dog” is common slang for depression, and Parks is well-aware that many can be feeling this looming feeling in these times of unprecedented isolation. She wants to pull the listener close, and remind them that despite immense feelings of loneliness, they are not truly alone. The rest of “Collapsed in Sunbeams” touches upon these subjects and subjects similar as well, and from the harshly candid lyricism of “Black Dog,” to the optimistic and comforting track “Hope,” Parks has made her debut album the perfect soundtrack for the isolated generation.


JPEGMAFIA seems like an artist who gets no sleep. After releasing a series of singles and remixes all last year, leading up to his “EP!” project in late 2020, some expected him to take a well-deserved break. But the Baltimore rapper has proven us wrong yet again. The consistent artist’s new track “FIX URSELF!” is the leading single off his upcoming 2021 EP. The song, in typical Peggy fashion, starts off with some warped production, wonky horn samples and over-autotuned melodies before the song’s first buttery-smooth verse is delivered. With some hilariously cunning bars in which he ridicules his haters for having “no clue, no plan and no mask,” and expresses his love for his partner by saying “I love my baby like Trump loves Putin, in the deepest way,” we’re happy that JPEGMAFIA is continuing his non-stop streak of projects that constantly push the envelope of experimentation in hip-hop.

Cosha & Shygirl – “Lapdance from Asia”

Irish singer and producer Cosha and UK singer/rapper Shygirl have recently teamed up for the seductive new low-key banger, “Lapdance from Asia.” Cosha smoothly sings lyrics that were written after a night out in a strip club while on tour, where she got a lapdance from a dancer named – you guessed it – Asia. She described the experience as liberating and carefree, and wanted to make “Lapdance from Asia” to savor the moment. Cosha’s suggestive lyrics are met with an equally-suggestive verse from Shygirl, all placed over a beat that sounds like something you’d hear at the end of a night in a dancehall club. The two harmonize Shygirl’s verse at the end, providing a melodious conclusion to the track, and we’re excited to see if the two collaborate any further.


“UNISIL” was the last single released from SOPHIE before her untimely and tragic death. The song, according to fans, was an unreleased piece that had existed in some form in any space except on streaming services since the release of her “PRODUCT” project in 2015. And SOPHIE fans – despite the devastating recent news – were happy to finally see the song come to light. In almost a bittersweet way, the eccentric, in-your-face track perfectly encapsulates everything that SOPHIE was able to do with her sound. The song’s zany, alien-like production bounces off the listener’s ears in an enticingly aggressive way, the trap-esque drums and claps echo brick-hard underneath, and the strange, distorted synths that come in during the last minute of the track are sure to blow minds. The fact that this track sounds as hard as it does today despite being technically released five years ago just goes to show how truly ahead of her time SOPHIE was, and how devastating it is that we won’t be able to experience where she wanted to take us next. SOPHIE truly built a world within her music, influenced generations of music makers to come and was a beacon of inspiration in the trans community. For those reasons and so many more, she will go down as a trailblazer in modern-day pop, and as one of the most influential artists of all time.