Aura III, ELHAE Motown Records 2021

Every time spring rolls around and yanks me from the jowls of my seasonal affective disorder, I feel like a whole new woman: an optimistic woman who enjoys iced caffeinated beverages, crop tops, patio happy hours, and hikes with Mother Nature. And this year, spring will also see us rise from the ashes of COVID-19, and slowly return to our regular scheduled programming of weddings, parties, and outdoor concerts—just in time for summer! There's more than enough to be hopeful about, but these four new releases provide a happy escape if you're still in need of a pick-me-up.


The new 11-track project from exceptional singer-songwriter ELHAE dropped on April 9, and Aura III is thoroughly enjoyable alternative R&B. The third installment in his series for Motown follows Aura II, which came out back in 2017, and last year's Trouble In Paradise. Kicking off with the Rick Ross-assisted "Fun Fact," highlights include “My City (feat. Masego),” “Separated,” and “Sick of Playing (feat. Xavier Omar).” Expectedly, the R&B project tackles the rollercoaster of love and relationships. It's solid all the way through (no skips!), and is over before you know it; time flies when you're having fun, and the moody vibes here in Aura III are good.

“Trip Sitter,” Jeffrey Silverstein

On March 19, Portland-based country-folk artist Jeffrey Silverstein revealed “Trip Sitter,” another track from his EP Torii Gates, set to release this Friday on Arrowhawk Records. “Trip Sitter” is a cinematic instrumental that is—ahem—perfect for a playlist to accompany writing, reading, sleeping, enjoying the sunshine, or driving into the desert. If you’re into the scenic sounds of Khruangbin, “Trip Sitter” is sure to satisfy your need for lyricless tunes that help you relax, and simply focus on whatever it is you’re doing.

“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat, SZA

Just the general idea of a SZA and Doja Cat collab sounds sexy. “Kiss Me More” is in a similar (poppy) vein to Doja Cat’s “Say So,” and hears the two getting exceedingly sultry. Doja Cat’s chorus goes “Can you kiss me more?/We're so young, boy, we ain't got nothin' to lose, uh-oh/It's just principle/Baby, hold me 'cause I like the way we move, uh-oh” And then the most repeatable post-chorus line is “All on my tongue, I want it!” SZA makes the song even more enjoyable with her verse at the end: “You ain't even half man, lying' on your—, you know that
Got me a bag full of brick, you know that/Control, don't slow the pace if I throw back/All this ass for real (Ah)/Drama make you feel (Ah)/Fantasy and whip appeal is all I can give you.”
Watching the “Kiss Me More” music video to instill some seriously gorgeous space-aged visuals in your brain for you to mentally revisit whenever you press play—and the video also features actor Nico Kim, who plays a hot/gay resident doctor on Grey’s Anatomy.