We've already selected our most anticipated projects of 2017, but the year is turning out to be even more satisfying considering these standout tracks stem from the upcoming debut albums of three promising songstresses.
SZA, "Drew Barrymore"
Now that she's finally confirmed—after some label woes—that her debut album is, indeed, coming, SZA has also shared its lead single, "Drew Barrymore." Though she never namedrops the titular actress, SZA did admit during a recent New York City showcase that the song was inspired by her 90s films like Never Been Kissed and Poison Ivy. "I just imagine this being the soundtrack to one of those movies," SZA said. "Cue Freddie Prinze, Jr." Over a dreamy, twangy guitar—apropos considering she once called the song "brown grunge"—SZA flexes her lyricism with imagery ("Somebody get the tacos / Somebody spark the blunt / Let's start the 'Narcos' off at episode one / Bring the gin / Got the juice / Bring the sin / Got that, too") before inviting listeners in to hear her most honest admissions of low self-esteem ("I'm sorry I'm not more attractive / I'm sorry I'm not more ladylike / I'm sorry I don't shave my legs at night"). SZA impressively keeps our attention playing with tempo and tone before the song closes with strings.
Kehlani, "Do U Dirty"
With only two weeks until her debut album drops, Kehlani is keeping the teasers coming. Following "CRZY" and "Distraction," she's now shared album cut "Do U Dirty" and over quick-throbbing synths and percussion that thumps and skitters, she warns a suitor to stay away: "I could f—k you now and years later on / You gon' be stuck, just reminiscing / It's the way I ride you, let you stay inside / Yeah, I'm a f—k you like a vixen / There's something 'bout me / Swear you see the good in me / But that don't beat the hood in me / And I got my intentions and yours / Yours are make-believe."
VÉRITÉ, "Phase Me Out"
Having released an EP every year since 2014, VÉRITÉ is entering the new year with plans for an official debut and is formally introducing herself to the masses with its lead single, "Phase Me Out." Don't let the introduction's ambient chords fool you, this track isn't for the meek, nor is it sung by one. Backed by a reverb-drenched guitar riff, VÉRITÉ builds to a powerful crescendo using first a lower register before casting a spell with her lilting falsetto. And we're not reading her wrong; she told EW, "The tone I'm trying to set is 'I'm not f—ing around." And the lyrics prove that: "Say just what you mean / The love I don't believe in / The days we spend deflating / And passing by the time / Stand up straighter with my back against the wall / Keep me still and wondering just why we falter."