The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Nicki Minaj, The Knocks, Merchandise

It is August 8th and there are three late-season contenders for Song of the Summer included here. I’d say “stop the madness,” but the tunes are too good.

Nicki Minaj — “Anaconda” 

Look, I’m not sure what’s not to like here. A “Baby Got Back” reimagination (including Minaj imitating the intro’s Valley Girls)? Check. A chant of “fuck those skinny bitches”? Done. Nicki laughing like she’s either drunk on herself or Fast Times levels of baked? Yup. Her comparing her pussy to NyQuil? Oh yeah. (I have many, many more thoughts.)

The Knocks  — “Classic” feat. Powers

If you call a song “Classic,” it better deliver. This does. “Classic” is a self-fulfilling prophecy for the track’s hit potential, and a late contender for the Song of the Summer. The hook at the core of this song feels like it became lodged in my brain many summers ago — likely in the late 1990s — and it has remained dormant until this very moment. I am certain it may never leave now.

Merchandise — “Green Lady”

When Merchandise announced their excellent new album After the End (out August 26), the Florida punks promised to “re-make [themselves] as a pop band, but it’ll still be a twisted reality.” On the album’s second single, “Green Lady,” it turns out that twisted reality is the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie. Drum machines, pleading synths, swooning guitars, and a hint of Breakfast Club Bender’s devilishness. Don’t you forget about me, indeed.

Tkay Maidza — “U-Huh”

We got another “Paper Planes” on our hands, not from M.I.A. but this Aussie rapper with an interest in experimenting with electronic racket.

Tweedy — “High as Hello”

Easy like Sunday morning, and not in the muzak way that some of Wilco recent albums have been. Jeff Tweedy and son recruit soul singers as back-up, and it’s just the thing to elevate their Neil Young vibes.