If this week’s best new songs are any indication, the month of May is going to be a proper lit-uation. And though he may not be in the good graces of the majority of humanity, we kind of have to thank Kanye West for that; not only did he deliver a star-turn on Travis Scott’s phenomenal new track “Watch”, but he executive-produced the new single from Christina Aguilera, which is perhaps the oddest, most unexpected delight of the year in pop thus far.
Of course, there were a plethora of other sonic treats to choose from this week. A B-side from Playboi Carti (also featuring Travis) served up some mellowness, while Rico Nasty dropped a remix of her track “Smack a Bitch” with CupcakKe that provided the polar opposite of all things mellow. Falling somewhere in the middle we have another lush taster from SSION’s return album, an acerbic take on gender roles from rising British MC slowthai and a surprisingly eerie cut from Rae Sremmurd’s just-released triple album.
All those and more can be found in this edition of Best Tracks of the Week:
Right, so clearly Beach House’s album 7, finally out next week, is going to be stupendous. Consistently the same across their flawless career and yet continually mining new inspiration, their seventh (duh) full-length is going to be the mysterious music to turn to for all your bong-laced summer nights this year – “Black Car” in particular seems designed for melancholic walks home; the stars twinkling cloyingly at you all the way.
It’s safe to say that a new Xtina track was not something any of us anticipated from 2018, let alone one featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz and produced by Kanye West. But here we are. Sure, it sounds like five songs crushed into one and sure, it’s a bit of a sensory overload. But hot damn, just try and deny that this isn’t among the most immersive, unbelievably pleasurable pop experiences you’ve had in the past year.
Love hurts, surprise. It’s far from an enlightening philosophy in over half a century of pop music that proves that point well enough, but Playboi Carti certainly introduces a element of ‘angrily faded’ to the proceedings that feels, if not wholly unique, pointedly passionate. With synths that cut like a laser gun (particularly the blaring, fog horn-like buzz that surrounds the whole endeavor) and a Travis Scott feature that aches with yearning, you’d be hard-pressed to find fault in this entry to the genre.
If you ever wondered what a trap-version of the Halloween soundtrack produced by Rae Sremmurd and Future sounded like, search no further. A surprisingly eerie, extremely unsettling cut from the Sremm’s freshly-released triple album, it adds a distinct flavor of terror that is worlds away from the breezy cuts we’ve heard thus far like “Powerglide”, “Perplexing Pegasus”, and “CLOSE”. But like, a kind of terror that makes you flex while faded.
There are literally no words that can describe the unbelievably hard levels of ‘do-not-fuck-with-me’ that course through this track. Combining the two most fierce femmes we have in hip-hop has produced the sonic equivalent of a bubblegum shit storm; as if Beastie Boys’ iconic “Sabotage” featured way more acrylic nails. CupcakKe’s kiss-off that “bitches be hiding like pregnant Kylie” is straight up Shakespearean in its levels of genius, while Rico uttering “bitch you a fucking bum” is enough to make even the most jacked frat boy take a damn seat. Ladies and gentleman, this is sugar trap.
After the holy chorale of lead single “bless ur heart”, serpentwithfeet’s follow-up is a shock to the system; the pawing of the demons cast out from the serenity previously promised. It’s downright spooky, a feeling highlighted by the layers of vocals in multiple octaves uttering strange lamentations of a love lost. Debut album soil is now just a month away, and in case it wasn’t clear, serpentwithfeet is gonna take us all to church.
slowthai’s latest is all about the ladies, or at least, it’s a frank admission of the complex feelings men usually have about them. “This one’s for the ladies / ‘Cus they have our babies / and they drive us crazy / but they made us men” he spits on the chorus as lullaby chimes plink delicately beneath him. It’s another win for the rising British MC, displaying his natural proclivity to tackle bracing subjects with nuanced analysis – delivered via acrobatic bars, naturally.
The offerings we’ve heard so far from SSION’s big return album have covered a lot of bases; lead single “Comeback” was a Queen-like tour through the history of 20th century pop-rock, while collab with Ariel Pink “At Least the Sky Is Blue” went go-for-broke indie-glam balladry. “Heaven Is My Thing Again” is significantly more turnt than its predecessors, offering up a murky, irresistibly groovy slice of darkwave synth-pop. Suffice to say, we are here. for. it.
The long-promised, glorious land of AstroWorld is finally coming into focus. Sounding every bit like the neon carnival of molly-laced nightmares we’ve been expecting, Travis Scott’s A-list collab seriously delivers. Lil Uzi nearly steals the whole show for himself, though Kanye’s admission of falling into the sunken place while La Flare out-adlibs his own high standard of adlibbing makes this a truly harmonious collab. Album now, plz.
When Troye Sivan dropped “My My My!” at the top of this year, we had a feeling that a serious pop star was on the rise. “Bloom”, the second single from whatever project this wunderkind is cooking up, could not be titled better; we now know that he is destined for international pop stardom. Taking cues from the ecstatic percussion of ’80s pop from his Aussie-countrymen INXS, Sivan’s latest is not just sugary-sweet but finger lickin’ good.
Be sure to check out last week’s edition of Best Tracks of the Week right here.