1.”Fkn Around” – Phony Ppl & Megan Thee Stallion
Rap Queen Megan Thee Stallion and Neo-Soul Collective Phony Ppl team up to deliver sheer swanky goodness on this stylish new single. It’s got beats to make you move, rhythm to make you groove and lyrics your partner won’t approve. The track is textured with lively electronic loops, funkadelic basslines and arousing announcements about ‘messing around.’ The lyrics are pumped with sexual bravado as Megan Thee Stallion confidently affirms her position as a proud player. While the thought of ‘fkn around’ may be viewed as wrong, the composition of this track is just so right.
2. “Edie” – James Righton
Accomplished singer/songwriter James Righton has come out with a cheery ode to his first-born daughter “Edie” that is worth every listen. Righton addresses his baby girl directly in relation to the ‘big and scary world’ that she’s come into. The message is not to be scared or brought down by the weight of the world – to hold nothing back and live without fear. This alt-rock single has a soothing melody, up-beat tempo and ear-jamming chorus. It’s a song to listen to while driving without a destination.
3. “Breathe, Be Happy” – Tep No
Tep No’s latest single is a hypnotic journey into a ‘good vibes only’ state of mind. It features uplifting electronic melodies that heighten the senses and groovy guitar riffs that smooth over any negative energy. “Breathe and be happy,” while simple in sentiment, is a good reminder for everyone to really slow down and soak up the positive things in life. This is the perfect track to accompany your next outdoor adventure, liberating dance session, or simply to release the tension of everyday life.
4. “Young Americans” – Durand Jones & The Indications
A bluesy rendition of David Bowie’s “Young Americans?” Sign me right up! Durand Jones & The Indications will set your soul on fire with their latest release that covers a classic record with their signature rootsy R&B sound. The track takes on a slower feel than the original with a comparatively lackadaisical approach presented in bluegrass style. Jones’ raw performance is backed by a hefty gospel choir that invigorates the record with inspiriting energy. With an already sold out show in Toronto this month, Durand Jones & The Indications have earned their title as a band to keep on your radar.
5. “Letter To Nipsey” – Meek Mill & Roddy Rich
Meek Mill’s latest track “Letter To Nipsey” is an emotionally raw and harrowing tribute to the late rapper Nipsey Hustle who was only 33 years-old when shot and killed last March outside of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. It was an unexpected death that shook the Hip-Hop/Rap sphere to its core, as Nipsey was known as a role model and charitable family man. The letter portrays Meek’s anguish and suffering at the prospect of losing a friend and Nipsey’s family losing a husband/father. He reminisces about the times they had together, wishing it could all come back. At the end of the track, he asks why this had to happen, but asserts that only God knows why. The track cuts deep into the sadness of losing a friend, but also works to keep those happy memories alive.
6. “Momentary Bliss (Feat. slowthai & Slaves)” – Gorillaz
Earlier last week, Gorillaz announced their new “Song Machine” project: a series of “episodes” where the animated band is joined by a new selection of artist(s) per each iteration to collaborate on a new single. The first song in the series, which was released Friday, is a heavy hitting Hip-Hop and Punk song accented by Damon Albarn’s trademark warbled and psychedelic synths. The track features fast paced, frantic guitar work by Laurence “Laurie” Vincent of the Punk outfit Slaves and the soft vocals of Slaves drummer Isaac Holmes. This is all mixed with bars spat by rapper slowthai that go straight for your jugular. The song is about musicians breaking the vicious cycle of allowing record companies to be in control of an artist’s fate, and offering them “momentary bliss” as a reward before they move on to the next relevant figure. It even includes a line from Radiohead’s “Creep”, another rock song dealing with inflated egos. This track is a ferocious and engaging start to the Song Machine project. If the Song Machine was a meat grinder, the UK genres of Grime Rap and Garage Punk were thrown in and melded together through it with Damon Albarn turning the crank and adding his special blend of seasoning before our consumption. If Psychedelic Alternative Rock is more your taste, Tame Impala have been hinted by the band to be the next collaborators. We’ll be here to review it, with perhaps a more vegan friendly analogy. (Michael’s Pick)
Check out all of this week’s Top Picks plus more single releases!