Five writers, five new songs you need to know.
Lil Wayne “I Feel Good”
Lil Wayne has plenty of reasons to not feel good. Tha Carter V sits in legal purgatory and he was forced to release FWA (which stands for Free Weezy Album) via Tidal, Jay-Z’s destined-to-fail music service. Yet despite all that, track three on FWA samples a classic James Brown horn line, throws it over the kind of relatively old school beat that Wayne thrives on, and lets Weezy remind us that all things considered, he’s doing okay.
It may be stuck on a haphazard full-length that will forever be destined to live in the shadow of Tha Carter V, but this kind of song makes me feel good about Wayne’s future.
Lana Del Ray “Honeymoon”
I spend a lot time thinking about Lana Del Ray, often in the context of Taylor Swift. Both Swift and Del Ray are shadowed by speculation and discussion of their brand, image and authenticity. The difference being that Taylor is riding wave of adoration for her thoughtfully executed image, whereas Lana still gets a lot of critical flak.
So it would seem she is speaking directly to us in the opening lines of her new single, “Honeymoon” where she bemoans: “We both know its not fashionable to love me.” What follows is a sparse and haunting ballad, maintaining all the familiar elements in the myth of Lana Del Ray: doomed love, sensuality, gratuitous devotion. The simplicity of the track accentuates Lana’s vocal performance. Its wistful, mesmerizing and undeniably gorgeous. This could be a strategic first single off her upcoming album, reminding us that behind the mega-hit remixes, pseudonym and plump lips, Lana Del Rey is an artist with transporting, heartbreaking songs and the most spellbinding voice in pop music. -Lindsay Hogan
Jill Scott “Closure”
Who doesn’t love Jill Scott? Especially when she’s singing about the morning after breakup sex and how he better not be expecting any waffles from her. Or pepper jack grits. This song is about a relationship that has run its course, whether or not her ex cares to admit that’s the truth. At the end of the song, after she kicks her man out for the last time, he tries to knock on the door like, “Oh, the closure starts today?” The song seems to approach the idea of closure as this kind of mythical human narrative that is actually bullshit. I don’t know if that’s intentional. Having sex with your ex and then refusing them breakfast is not how you achieve closure, but that’s how Jill Scott does it because whatever, she’s Jill Scott. It’s funny. It’s got personality. It’s got a good horn section. It’s off her next album Woman, due out the 24th. -Melissa Groth
Ezra Furman “Lousy Connection”
One time last week, while I was doing my best to survive my hour-long red line commute to Silver Spring, I listened to Ezra Furman’s “Lousy Connection”, the single off of last week’s “Perpetual Motion People”, for 45 minutes straight. Holy shit this song puts me in some type of fantastic mood. It’s Bob Dylan does doo-wop in 2015 and when the chorus comes I look around to see if I’m unconsciously dancing. 3 out of 5 times I am. By the end of said chorus, Furman totally loses composure but regains it just in time to start the next verse, filled with self-depricating jokes over a retro backdrop, and when it’s over it’s nearly impossible not to go back and start it again. -Tam Sackman
The Chemical Brothers “Go”
July 24th finds 20-plus year dance veterans The Chemical Brothers returning with Born In The Echoes, the tandem’s first artist album in five years. We’ve heard four singles from the album so far, and from the 80’s post-disco funk of Q-Tip collaboration “Go” to the 303-adoring feels of “EML Ritual” and more, there’s a sense that we’re on the verge of a much less hyped redux of Daft Punk hysteria.
The “echoes” that The Chemical Brothers are alluding to on the release are those of feet actually getting down on dancefloors worldwide. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories started a movement towards getting back on the floor that somewhere in its languid disco-rock feel was likely allowed to grind to a literal standstill. However, The Chemical Brothers have found something in resurrecting a style that owes much to the duo’s roots in partying at legendary Madchester-era UK club Hacienda that feels more dangerous frenetic acid rave than Daft Punk’s idyllic groove. Less “Lose Yourself to Dance” and more “force yourself to rage,” this album might slide under some mainstream radars, but it ABSOLUTELY shouldn’t. -Marcus Dowling