There is one important detail I must address before going into this week’s picks: last week I selected Kim Petras’ pop bop “Heart to Break” without considering to research the production team behind the jam. After publishing the letter, it was brought to my attention that she is a frequent collaborator with none other than Dr. Luke. Yes, that Dr. Luke. It’s a bit upsetting to discover the art you enjoy is associated with a vile reputation. While in pop music, a bop is a bop. Many argue to separate the art from the artist, but as consumers we have a socially conscious obligation to think about the origins of things we consume. I applaud Kim for smashing through the pop music landscape and paving the way for the transgender community, I must say I’m a little hurt to discover “Heart to Break” was produced by Dr. Luke. It is hardly a surprise considering Dr. Luke has produced some of the biggest Top 40 hits in the last decade. I hope Kim is able to eventually navigate through the pop landscape without him in the long run.
Now that I’ve laid that out, let’s swing into this new week! I try my hardest to pick artists across different genres in hopes there is something for everyone, and this week I think I may have succeeded. Hopefully these five tunes inspire you to check out more music by these artists, or lead to introducing you to another artist you’ve never heard before!
Remember: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about these artists and share the love.
P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!
“Cigarette” - RAYE feat. Mabel, Stefflon Don | When this song popped up on my radar, I figured the song would be good before I even pressed play. My expectations were upstaged from the drop of the first note. The song dives straight into the hook, an earworm over syncopated electronic steel drums. While the lyrics are mad corny (they laud about being as addictive as a cigarette), it’s Rihanna-level corny. You know what I’m talking about – song is still so damn good that the lyrics don’t matter and you’re bopping a third of the way through. “Cigarette” is the best tune I’ve heard all damn month. Listen here
“Karma” - Thutmose feat. Alex Mali | I stumbled upon this track via a different Alex Mali song I was forwarded last month. Thuthmose is a Nigerian-born rapper from Brooklyn who gained some attention last year for a freestyle over Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” beat. While Alex Mali is a skilled rapper herself, rapping takes the backseat for “Karma” and instead she contributes to the sweet, melodic verse. This track is chill as hell. Listen here
“Gentle Frame” - Thunderpussy | Thunderpussy truly are a diamond in the muff (pun courtesy of their Spotify biography). Hailing from my adopted city of Seattle (that I miss so dearly), these ladies are tearing up music venues from coast to coast. Having landed a major label deal late last year, the foursome have dropped their new EP Greatest Tits (truly impeccable pun-mensip) today, and “Gentle Frame” is oozing with confidence and sex appeal. 12/10 recommend headbanging your way through this chorus. Listen here
“The Times I’m Not There” - NE-HI feat. Jamila Woods | What happens when the coziest garage band on the block teams up with a flawless neo-Soul singer? You get the compelling union of “The Times I’m Not There” by Chicago’s very own NE-HI and Jamila Woods. When separating the body of work produced by both acts, the collaboration sounds like it wouldn’t work. Between NE-HI’s fuzzy, low-fi guitar plucks cascading under Jamila’s velvety harmonies, the tune sounds like pure sunshine (despite lyrically not being a happy song). Listen here
“Word of Mouth” - Metroplane feat. Bree Runway | This last one is an insane wildcard. It’s a chaotic gay club dancefloor filler, woven with motorized barbershop quartet “bops” looming in the background like a demon possessed an episode of Glee. If you haven’t pressed play on this song just yet, and are a bit scared to even consider listening to it, I cannot stress to you how fucking fun this song is to dance to. The power vocals served by Bree Runway which she calls out her ex for being caught cheating and flawlessly cuts the bullshit. Truly inspiring. Listen here
New Music Friday Selects
JANELLE MONÁE!!! If you can only stomach one piece of New Music Friday News today, it’s the fact that Janelle has dropped not one, but TWO songs with music videos today. For those who have listened to her single “Make Me Feel,” all can agree she received Prince’s blessings for this masterpiece. This is the tune that’s got everyone hyped up. Not to mention J serves some serious, blinged out,1980s neon bisexual visuals Watch here
I did not forget to link you the second Janelle video for “Django Jane” Watch here
If you thought I’d go another week without mentioning a K-Pop artist: you were wrong. Queen BoA, one of THE biggest solo artists in the Asian music market, has dropped a new mini album One Shot, Two Shot, and it’s fucking fantastic start to finish. Highly recommended for my pop music purists out there. Standout track for me is “Everybody Knows.” Listen here
Oh, and BoA goes full on Rihanna (luring men to their demise) in her new music video for “One Shot, Two Shot” Watch here
Este Haim of HAIM was embarrassingly drunk at the BRIT awards this week and made headlines after being caught on live TV acting really foolish while Cheryl (Cole) was being interviewed. In the aftermath, Este called Chez to apologize via voicemail and it’s HILARIOUS Watch here
So far: women are f*cking killing it this week
A$AP Rocky and ten million people have linked up for the new single “Cocky” with Gucci Mane on the hook Listen here
Twin Shadow has released a collaboration with the HAIM sisters for a jam fit for a John Hughes film titled “Saturdays” Listen here
Puerto Rican legends Ricky Martin, Wisin, and Yandel have released their new single “Fiebre” Listen here
Troye Sivan has released an acoustic version of “My My My!” and it still somehow goes off Listen here
5 Seconds of Summer have released their comeback single “Want You Back” and it’s generic, but still listenable. I think if I spin it a few more times it’ll grow on me. I know they have a lot more in them, but I’m happy they’re making music again. Listen here
For those craving left-of-center pop, highly recommend listening to the new Kero Kero Bonito EP TOTEP Listen here
And for those craving lighter, more folksy rock tunes, Vance Joy’s new album Nation of Two is out Listen here
As I mentioned above, a(lmost a)ll of the tracks I have shared in this week’s letter are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here.
Subscribe to that playlist, share it with friends, or take some inspiration from the ever growing list to compile some of your own.
New month, new playlist! If you’re interested in listening to what I’m rinsing this month, you can follow my February 2018 playlist here. There I will dump a hodgepodge of new and old songs that fit my mood and the trends of the month. Having a personal monthly playlist makes a year in review so easy. Share your playlists with me!
See you next week!