Looking for some new music? I’ve got you covered! Introducing “Music Monday,” a new weekly series that tracks my top song recommendations of the moment.
“Wild Thoughts (Bee’s Knees Dance Remix),” DJ Khaled, Bee’s Knees, Rihanna & Bryson Tiller: It’s no secret how much I admire Rihanna — from her carefree sense of autonomy, to the creativity of her insults — so one can guess she’s my favorite part of DJ Khaled’s latest single. At the top of the first verse, RiRi busts out with her signature self-assurance, crooning, “I don’t know if you could take it / Know you wanna see me nakey, nakey, naked.” While the Santana-sampling original holds its own, this dance remix proves to be even more of a banger. It may not sound like reggae at an airport, but it’s still worth a listen.
“Boys,” Charli XCX: First of all, if you haven’t watched the music video for this song yet, then do yourself a favor and watch it now. (Think live-action Teen Beat covers, except if they featured The Fat Jew and Mac Demarco.) Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
Alright, welcome back. Now, aside from its unabashed 180-degree shift of the male gaze, Charli XCX’s track indulges in effervescent pop hooks that make it impossible to ignore. I know that every time I hear that Super Mario Bros. chime in the chorus, I feel the need to level up and sing along.
“Creature Comfort,” Arcade Fire: Despite the flack this group has received in the last few years — mostly due to its somewhat pretentious efforts at performance art — I will argue that Arcade Fire’s latest release, Everything Now, certainly proves to be its strongest venture into dance pop. Sure, the indie band you listened to religiously in college has changed, but I’m sure you would’ve complained if it kept producing the same thing (or maybe you just wouldn’t have cared). Either way, Arcade Fire seems to have found its stride on this new record with heavy bass and sax grooves, tightening up where it faltered on Reflektor. In particular, “Creature Comfort” pairs hypnotic rhythms over feedback loops to punctuate its resonant lyrics: “Born in a diamond mine / It’s all around you but you can’t see it / Born in a diamond mine / It’s all around you but you can’t touch it.”
The entire album feels like a love letter to the late David Bowie, Arcade Fire’s frequent collaborator and biggest fan, with its marriage of jazz, glam rock and dance pop. How could you not give it a shot?
“The Modern Age,” The Strokes: Last week, Albert Hammond Jr. fell victim to a proud dad moment when Albert Hammond Sr. spread a rumor that his son’s band was recording again with Rick Rubin. It took a full day before Jr. crushed hearts everywhere when he confirmed that Comedown Machine will be the most recent Strokes LP for a little while longer. Since that news, I’ve been eerily followed by the song “Last Nite” for days — whether it be on the radio, on TV or just online — and it’s caused me to revisit Is This It (again). Of course, I could just talk about how great “Last Nite” is here, but that would be expected. So, instead, I’m sharing one of the album’s more underrated tracks, “The Modern Age,” for your enjoyment.
“Godspeed,” Frank Ocean: In case you didn’t know, Frank Ocean’s sophomore album, Blond, turns one year old next week (or four, if you count the wait for it). Emerging from his Salinger-esque hiatus, Frank has shaken up the festival circuit with his emotive performances of Blond (just ask notable stan Brad Pitt) and equally moving fashion statements. Swept up in the Frank fever (now and always), I can’t help but listen to his gut-wrenching ballad “Godspeed” on a loop. I’m hooked on how its organ melody cuts off just before the first verse, leading into his steadfast and bleeding declaration: “I will always love you how I do / Let go of a prayer for you / Just a sweet word / The table is prepared for you.” If that first minute doesn’t make you shout to the sky, then are you truly living?
“Supermodel,” SZA: Much like Rihanna, I’m becoming a huge fan of R&B artist SZA and her authentic (read: unapologetic) charm. On her debut album, Ctrl, she coos cutthroat lyrics about heartbreak, self-image and revenge in a way that leaves you rooting in her corner. With her track, “Supermodel,” SZA offers a refreshing bifocal look at a breakup, confronting both her ex and her own insecurities: “I don’t see myself / Why I can’t stay alone just by myself? / Wish I was comfortable just with myself.” If you’re looking to find catharsis in four minutes or less, then you need to check out her album — she’s not messing around.
You can listen to all of the songs on this week’s playlist on Spotify here.
Featured image courtesy of Billboard.