The Avalanches have returned, someone has uttered the words “Diarrhea Planet” on NPR, and…Pusha T wrote that McDonald’s jingle? This week has been a bit bizarre, for a few reasons, but we’ve made it to the end, and we’re stlll alive, so that’s reason enough to celebrate with five of the best songs we heard this week.
Some new visuals dropped for The Strokes’ resurrection project, house-y bros Classixx recruit an indie pop darling, Rihanna jumps on a Mike Will beat, and MIA is still talkin’ shit (what else is new). But first, lets hear the new trapped-out jam from Beck, who’s on his third or fourth reinvention (depending on who’s counting):
Beck – “Wow”
There are a few faces to Beck, the engimatic Scientologist whose debut smash Odelay turns 20 this year. His latest mixes his own pre-Autotune sing-rap style with an OG Maco sample, smooth synths, and trap snares. He’ll certainly have us saying “wow” if the rest of his followup to Album of the Year-winning Morning Phase sounds anything like this. The as-of-yet untitled LP is due out October 21 on Captiol Records.
The Strokes – “Drag Queen”
The Strokes took an interesting approach to an EP rollout, with a steady trickle of single track releases throughout the week leading up to the release of Future Present Past. Ahead of their headlining set on the first night of NYC festival Governors Ball, they’ve also opened a Kanye/Justin Beiber-style pop-up shop on the Bowery, slanging their downtown NYC fashionz to the youth of today. They also just dropped a lyric video for “Drag Queen,” a Future Present Past track sporting trademark Strokes scratchy vocals and restrained energy.
Classixx – “Safe Inside (ft. Passion Pit)
Like a lot of dance-oriented producers and DJs, the bros in Classixx don’t actually sing. So while their dancefloor-ready beats are infectious and repeat-worthy, they rely on guest vocalists to make their songs really sing. Luckily, they’ve got plenty of famous singer friends to make it work; one of our favorite Classixx tracks features LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang, and they recently dropped a single featuring Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost (and Frankel’s Deli). This joint, featuring Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos, has a pulsing beat and bouncy keys, but takes on a more flowery quality with Angelakos’ sugary sweet vocals. Great for a good mood.
Mike Will Made-It – “Nothing is Promised (ft. Rihanna)”
Since she extricated herself from the brutal schedule of the corporate music machine that produced seven albums in eight years, we’ve been pretty high on Rihanna’s music. Free to explore and collaborate at her own pace, she’s starting to define her real voice an aesthetic, and it’s dope AF. This latest track is ostensibly a Mike Will Made-It single featuring Rihanna, but it very easily could have been at home on a Rihanna album. “Nothing Promised” sees Rih-Rih slip in and out of a casual rapping style over top a rolling drum beat and a synthetic vibraphone — we’d love to see her try her hand at spitting bars more often; even if she needed a ghostwriter, her style and attitude could make for some compelling verses.
MIA – “POC That Still a Ryda”
We’re not sure what it is, but no matter what foolish thing she might say or do, we find ourselves consistently drawn to MIA — her swagger feels genuine, and she’s always been a loud and unapologetic voice for those who are often exploited or underrepresented in pop culture. Her video for “POC That Still a Ryda” isn’t as powerful or poignant as “Borders,” but you can be sure there isn’t any other pop star that would make a video with a gang of brown people stuntin’ in the desert on horses and SUVs. She also makes a point to clarify that she is indeed down with Black Lives Matter, no matter what she said about that Beyoncé video last year.