What’s Going On: Metallica, Lauren Spencer Smith, Ice Spice, Lili-Ann De Francesco, Priscilla Block

In this week’s instalment of What’s Going On, we’re talking about the new Metallica album 72 Seasons. The metal gods just dropped their 11th studio album and we’ll dive into what you can expect. Plus, we’ve also got the latest tunes from Lauren Spencer Smith, Ice Spice, Lili-Ann De Francesco, and Priscilla Block. As always, if you dig what you hear, be sure to stream and follow the artists.

Metallica72 Seasons is Metallica’s eleventh studio album, coming nearly seven years after their sprawling double album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. The title is a reference to the first 18 years of one’s life, the crucial period where people develop their core beliefs, sense of self and are also easily susceptible to being moulded by those around them. That theme runs through the album, with tracks such as “Lux Æterna” and the titular song feeling like a nod to the relentless anthems of their past. Songs like “Sleepwalk My Life Away,” “Crown Of Barbed Wire,” and the sprawling 11-minute long closer “Inamorata” show that the band are still taking chances and aren’t just on a nostalgia trip. A cursory glance at social media reveals that the band’s loyal yet extremely fickle fanbase seems to largely enjoy 72 Seasons and for good reason. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is how great James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Rob Trujillo, and Kirk Hammet sound. If you’ve listened to the two preceding albums, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct and Death Magnetic, that shouldn’t be surprising, but it does bear repeating. James Hetfield delivers some of his best vocals and most introspective lyrics. These songs will absolutely destroy live but Toronto-based fans will have to do some traveling to find out. The band’s upcoming M72 World Tour only has Canadian stops in Montreal and Edmonton. 

Listen to Metallica’s new single, the title track from the album 72 Seasons below.

Lauren Spencer Smith – Canadian pop phenom Lauren Spencer Smith is serving up major girl power vibes with “Fantasy,” her new single featuring GAYLE and Em Beihold. On the soaring pop anthem, the Vancouver Island native sings about overcoming a bad relationship. Em Beihold and GAYLE join in, each bringing their own unique vocal stylings and adding a vibe of female camaraderie. Explaining how “Fantasy” came to be, Lauren Spencer Smith says: “When writing “Fantasy,” I wanted to capture how hard toxic relationships are and that coming out of those relationships can be so powerful. GAYLE and Em instantly connected with the topic and their verses helped take the song to another level.”  

Listen to Lauren Spencer Smith’s new single “Fantasy” featuring GAYLE and Em Beihold below.

Ice Spice – In the hood, Ice Spice is “like Princess Diana.” It only made sense for one of hip-hop’s hottest rising stars to hook up with a Queen for a new version of “Princess Diana,” a standout track from Ice Spice’s recent EP Like..? Fans on social media had their minds blown when the Bronx rapper and Nicki Minaj dropped the surprise collaboration. Reactions ranged from elation by members of the “Spice Cabinet” (the name of her most ardent fans) to skepticism and outrage over the decision to work with the veteran rapper. Regardless of what side you fall on, the reimagined version of “Princess Diana” with a new verse from Nicki Minaj works. Perhaps more importantly, the fact that this collaboration has sparked so much debate and conversation is proof of Ice Spice’s burgeoning star power and place in the cultural zeitgeist. 

Listen to Ice Spice’s “Princess Diana” with Nicki Minaj below.

Lili-Ann De Francesco – French Canadian singer-songwriter Lili-Ann De Francesco is out now with “Tout Recommencer,” her new French single. Produced by Milano and written alongside Eric Charland and reigning Queen of Canadian dance-pop Rêve, “Tout Recommencer” has a subtle ‘90s vibe that feels like a nod to Alanis Morrisette. Speaking about the writing process of “Tout Recommencer,” Lili-Ann De Francesco says: “Writing ‘Tout Recommencer’ with my friends, was surreal. I felt so lucky to share what I had gone through with them. They helped me put words on how I was feeling at that moment. It’s really a privilege for me to be working with such beautiful talents.” There’s more music to come, so we’ll keep you updated on what’s next for Lili-Ann De Francesco.

Listen to Lili-Ann De Francesco’s new French-language single “Tout Recommencer” below.

Priscilla Block – Rising country singer-songwriter Priscilla Block is tapping into the dance market thanks to her new collaboration with DJ-producer duo VAVO. Spring Break ’23 Remixes is a 4-track collection of some of Block’s best hits reworked with an electronic dance feel just in time for the warmer weather and pool party season. Priscilla Block’s fun-loving songs already invoke good times, so they take to the well to the VAVO treatment. Speaking on their experience with Priscilla Block, VAVO states: “This YEEDM movement has been crazy! We always like to push the boundaries of our work and for us to be collaborating with such an amazing artist like Priscilla on a project like this is very exciting. Can’t wait for these remixes to take over this spring and summer in the bars and on the boats!”

Listen to the VAVO remix of Priscilla Block’s “My Bar” below.

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