Listen Out music reviews

Leland – Middle of a Heartbreak

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Brett Leland McLaughlin, known professionally as Leland, has just dropped an infectiously good post-breakup song.

Leland, who is openly gay, has popped up in numerous projects lately, such as RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Netflix film Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (he did the score) in addition to working with artists such as Troye Sivan and Selena Gomez.

But it’s on this delightful new track that Leland’s talent shines as a solo artist. It’s a foot-tapping slice of morose electropop in which Leland laments his inability to socialize, go out dancing, and basically just get on with his life because, as he sings, "everything I do and see reminds me about you.”

Even still, he’s aware he needs new friends in his life and new things to do to move on, and the listener is left with the sense that he will indeed.

Never has the death of love sounded so sublime.

Tanerélle - Love From NGC 7318

Atlanta singer-songwriter Tanerélle drops a smoky, galactic new single, in which she manages to casually namecheck Stephan’s Quintet while her velveteen voice blisters over a sublimely sensual beat and lachrymose piano. “I’ve never met a girl like you / Never met a girl like you...” the refrain haunts. 

The title is a reference to NGC 7318, a pair of colliding galaxies roughly 300 million light-years from Earth that are part of the Stephan’s above’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies in the constellation Pegasus.  

The song traces the artist’s longing for a mysterious unnamed woman, as the lyrics retell details of their intimate moments together and Tanerélle’s own inability to express her feelings for this woman adequately. In the end, the song’s scant 2:48 running time feels woefully short, as this could have easily been a grand, sweeping opus. Nonetheless, LFNGC7318 is a triumph for the artist and a gift for the listener. 

VINCINTMine 

Philly-born pop newcomer Vincint Cannady, aka VINCINT, came to attention as a finalist last year on Fox’s The Four. On his exquisite new single, he pines for a would-be lover who is attached to someone else, declaring, “You should be mine, I should be the one you come home to every night.” 

The song is a gorgeous homage to 80s danceable pop, with VINCINT’s falsetto gliding smoothly over the synths and punchy beat. Paper Magazine went so far as to suggest he could be the greatest singer of his generation. I won’t deign to affirm such a lofty claim, but he does have the pipes to be a great success in this field, with the right artistic choices and material.  

While undeniably catchy and accessible, the song is light years ahead of the commercial pablum produced for The Four, and musically, it’s a direction in which VINCINT should head forthright. 

Dorian Electra – Man to Man 

Genderfluid Houston artist Dorian Electra opens the song with, “You know I ain’t straight, but I’mma say it straight to you.”  Long a critic of our society’s collective conversation on gender, Electra tackles the enduring specter of toxic masculinity on their latest single.  

Electra directly confronts the notion of “manliness” by asking the proverbial listener if they are truly as tough as they might claim to be: “Are you bad enough to soften up? Are you tough enough to open up?” and “So you want to play rough in the parking lot / See you acting tough, but I know you're not.” 

Electra warbles and croons over a rather minimal electro track. The tinny percussion and fat synths keep the song bubbling along, as deceptively sweet as it is inherently political. The song is somewhat less commercially accessible than previous bops like Career Boy” or “VIP” but maintains a tongue-in-cheek charm.

Copyright The Gayly. 2/24/2019 @ 7:28 p.m. CST.