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Recap: Best music releases in October

Pop singer Adele's track "Easy On Me" was one of many highlights from the month of October. – Photo by Adele / Twitter

When you think of music in October, your brain might automatically shift to whatever Halloween playlist you put on for everything from pumpkin carving to the Halloweekend pregame — but music releases this past month were just as eclectic and just as high quality as any other release month.

These songs, both the ones that hit the charts to the ones that flew under the radar, should definitely play you through the rest of the year — or at least until your Discover Weekly updates on Spotify.

Here are the best pop tracks of October to get you through this month:

“Calling Card” by ella jane

One of my favorite new artists of the 2020 to 2021 span, ella jane’s newest single after her EP release earlier this year, “Calling Card,” is indie-pop perfection. The allusions to death and killers make this certainly apt for an October release and a belated Halloween jam, but the fact that it’s all metaphor and not actually an ode to murder makes it available for year-round play.

“Halfway” by Mimi Webb

Another pop hit from an artist who will be topping the charts soon if there’s any justice in the world, Webb’s song that functions as a “light at the end of the tunnel” about the anxiety of exiting a relationship, good or bad, is exactly the kind of uplifting tune you need to keep you warm as we journey into the colder months.

“Present” by Khalid 

Anyone who's a fan of Khalid is familiar with his easy-going pop tunes. With rhythm and vocals always on point in his rhythm-and-blues influenced pop tracks, “Present” is no exception to being worthy of the love people gave him for his work on his debut album, “American Teen,” or his collab with Billie Eilish, as another hit on the books.

“Easy On Me” by Adele

There isn’t a hitmaker out there like Adele, and this immediate chart-topper is Adele at her most, well, Adele. Her iconic, distinctive vocals and melodic piano perfectly capture the love and the pain that she always captures so well in everything from her biggest hits to her deepest cuts, and “Easy on Me” is no exception. At the very least, it makes her album much more anticipated than it already was.

“Teenage Dirtbag” by Cavetown and chloe moriondo

This cover of the hit Wheatus-original song is more of a grower than it is a favorite on the first listen — it’s so different from the original song that it can be difficult at first, but once you appreciate it for what it is, the floaty, bedroom-pop adjacent cover comes into its own.

Morindo’s vocals blend well with Cavetown’s, and ultimately, the cover does what it’s supposed to do and makes the song something that can stand on its own two legs instead of being a cheap imitation.

“Telepath” by Conan Gray

Gray’s singles are almost always earworms, and “Telepath” is no exception. While it doesn’t have quite the shine that former hits might, it more than certainly maintains Gray’s style and showcases his talent well as one of the best releases in pop this month. The lyrics centering on a revolving-door relationship might not exactly be the best premonition for cuffing season, but it’s still certainly a hit.

“Oxygen” by Beach Bunny

Beach Bunny makes some of the best indie, alt-pop today. “Oxygen,” the latest single from the band, is a foray into more optimistic music than some of their other songs, which have had, despite their upbeat music, some depressing lyrical choices. “Oxygen” plays a love song straight, with the playful and joyful vibes of love coming through in the song’s lyrics and tone.


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