Justice, Justin Bieber
Justice, Justin Bieber Def Jam

This music round-up was originally published on our sister site, The Portland Mercury.

Folks, the pandemic’s end is finally in sight but there’s still much to fret about—our planet is still in danger, as is our AAPI community which continues to experience threats of violence from racists and domestic terrorists. Speaking of which, click here to donate to the GoFundMe for John Chen’s grandma, who is Chinese and suffered two black eyes and numerous other injuries after defending herself when a racist attacked her. And if you need a break from being overstimulated by traumatically bad news, take a break from your timeline and refresh your brain with this refreshing playlist of new music releases.

Justice, Justin Bieber

Being that the singer’s name literally means “justice,” the album title is also appropriate since there are samples of Martin Luther King Jr.’s epic speeches spliced in. Other than that though, Justice isn’t really about justice—it’s about love and faith. While I’m not sure I love this album as much as his last two more R&B-focused full-lengths (Changes and Purpose), Justice is very Pop-forward and still a super solid project, with Bieber’s controlled vocals sounding their best yet. Stand-out tracks include the lead single “Holy (feat. Chance the Rapper),” and new happy-go-lucky single “Peaches (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon),” which also has a simple, yet very enjoyable and adorable music video that you can watch below:

“Whatsamansupposed2do,” TYuS

Portland-raised R&B singer Tyus Strickland, AKA TYuS (who now lives in California) has dropped yet another new single for our listening enjoyment. While he’s no longer signed to the Warner label, that hasn’t slowed TYuS down much in terms of his release schedule. He’s been dropping singles very consistently over the last few months, and the latest in that string of releases is “Whatsamansupposed2do.” Unlike his usual sex jams, this new single is about being dumped. At the end of the first verse he sings, “I don't know what's love anymore/Oh, it's like I don't know where to find it anymore/And all those things that you used to do to me/Now you don't do for me/I never thought you'd leave.”

BTA World 64, Bryson the Alien

Bryson the Alien, AKA my other half in this Portland music scene power couple (can I refer to myself as a power couple?), has a new full-length project out called BTA World 64. While I might be a little biased, this album is the arguably best thing boo has released since his debut full-length Hail Mary. Highlights include “China Town” and the appropriately titled “Game Over” track, which sounds just like a "game over" screen from an old Sega gaming system.

“Secrets,” Siren and the Sea

Singer-songwriter Cristina Cano's (AKA Siren and the Sea) music can aptly be dubbed “swimwave,” a term Cano coined a few years ago to describe her water-infused sound. Born in Hawaii, Cano has also lived in Bogota, Colombia, and Miami, and for the last decade was living and making music in Portland until moving to California last year. On March 19 Cano released the second single (the follow-up to “Fountain of Youth”) from her forthcoming full-length project For Bathing. This new track is called “Secrets,” and has a similar vibe to her previous single, with keys and synth by Cano, organ by Ayal Alves, guitar by Erik Clampitt, drums by Mark Musselman, and auxiliary percussion by Justin Longerbeam. “We can’t be alone without speaking of what went wrong/And maybe I should sew my mouth up until no words come out at all,” she sings in the chorus.