NME Radio Roundup 13 September 2021: Little Simz, Charli XCX, MUNA and more

Earlier this month, Little Simz released her stunning fourth studio album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’. Given the full five-star treatment here at NME, we hailed it as “a near-perfect album that will exist as a marker for future generations to try and attain”. Though the record is stacked with stellar cuts, it’s the Smokey Robinson-sampling ‘Two Worlds Apart’ that we’ve selected for the NME Radio A List this week.

Also new to the NME Radio playlist we’ve got a track from Rico Nasty’s surprise released SoundCloud playlist, a pure-pop belter from Charli XCX and a tune from genre-pushing newcomer Priya Ragu’s excellent new mixtape ‘damnshestamil’. Dive in.

Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:

On the A List

Little Simz

‘Two Worlds Apart’

Sampling the King of Motown Smokey Robinson’s 1975 hit ‘The Agony and The Ecstasy’, ‘Two Worlds Apart’ sees Little Simz celebrating her successes – as she raps: “London-born estate girl to international sensation / Basking in this feeling, I must say it’s amazing, I’m amazing.” And she’s not wrong – her critically acclaimed fourth album, ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, is amazing. – Qistina Bumidin

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List

Charli XCX

‘Good Ones’

Charli XCX’s latest, the brilliantly bombastic ‘Good Ones’, is the first new solo music that we’ve heard from the artist since her lockdown album ‘How I’m Feeling Now’, and the hypnotic single is a smasher. The song, she’s said, “laments my inability to keep hold of healthy relationships, instead being endlessly drawn back to the dysfunctional and toxic”. Along with the gothic visuals of the accompanying music video, ‘Good Ones’ is an exciting entry into a new chapter of Charli’s eclectic career.  – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘Silk Chiffon’ ft. Phoebe Bridgers

Synth-pop trio MUNA have teamed up with indie hero Phoebe Bridgers for ‘Silk Chiffon’, a buoyant nugget of sugary pop that producer and MUNA guitarist Naomi McPherson describes as “a song for kids to have their first gay kiss to”. Their first release after signing to Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records, this effervescent track comes with a satirical music video that pays tribute to 1999 queer cult classic But I’m A Cheerleader. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Anderson .Paak

‘Fire In The Sky’

If you stayed till the end credits of Marvel’s new film Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings, you’ll already be familiar with Anderson .Paak’s dreamy track, ‘Fire In The Sky’. The song displays a twinge of the ’70s soul sounds of Silk Sonic, his collaboration with Bruno Mars, who, incidentally, is also one of the credited songwriters on ‘Fire In The Sky’. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Soot Sprite

‘Alone Not Lonely’

Exeter trio Soot Sprite’s first single from their brand-new EP ‘Poltergeists’ embraces putting oneself first by cutting out toxic relationships. It’s an ethereal combination of Elise Cook’s vocals, punchy, distorted guitar riffs and thunderous percussion, culminating in a propulsive, empowering anthem of self-love: “Don’t need someone else to feel whole / I can’t be yours ’cause I love being alone”.- QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘Race My Mind’

Taken from the newly-released ‘Certified Lover Boy’, Drake’s ‘Race My Mind’ samples funk music pioneer Rick James and the Notorious B.I.G.. The accompanying harp strums add on just the right amount of intimacy to this brooding cut. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List

Priya Ragu


We’ve all experienced loneliness amid the pandemic, but only Priya Ragu could turn that universal emotion into a song so singular. ‘Lockdown’, off her stellar debut mixtape ‘damnshetamil’, is a fluid blend of south Indian melodies, soulful R&B vocals and infectious electronic dance influences – and it’s brilliant. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Holly Humberstone


Holly Humberstone confronts the emotional turmoil of toxic relationships in her soaring, synth-pop single ‘Scarlett’. Using her best friend as her muse (and the song’s namesake), the British musician has described the track as a “fuck you” to a dickhead ex: “Scarlett was all in and had pretty much planned their future and it was pretty clear to me that he was stringing her along, until he broke up with her in a really insensitive and heartless way”, she explains in a statement.

On this fourth single off her upcoming EP, ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’, Humberstone delivers bracing lyrics over melancholic yet upbeat synths: “’Cause I cried all the summer away / Ooh, you left me waiting on a heartbreak / I just cried all the summer away / Now, I’m drunk and screaming your name”. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Rico Nasty

‘How Ya Feel’

Rico Nasty dropped a surprise playlist on SoundCloud last week, titled ‘Rico Archives’. It consists of five songs, but it’s the poppy ‘How Ya Feel’ we’ve chosen for the NME Radio playlist this week. Delivering an earworm hook against rhythmic synths and pulsing bass, it’s a feel-good track to get you grooving. – QB

Listen: Soundcloud

Francis of Delirium

‘Come Out And Play’

Luxembourg-based duo Francis of Delirium’s new single ‘Come Out And Play’ was inspired by Italian surrealist films, and accordingly takes listeners on a mesmerising yet terrifying journey. The thrumming basslines, haunting vocal belts, and eerie guitar distortion effects culminate in a maudlin and melodramatic experience. – QB

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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