Gotta say that with the world as crazy as it is, it’s a relief to have an excuse on Friday mornings to dig into the towering virtual pile of songs that have been released over the past week and just focus on music for a little while — it’s like a walk in the park for the soul.
DJ Khaled and Drake “Popstar” Ahead of Drake’s long-promised next album comes a pair of songs that are technically DJ Khaled songs, but after a few seconds of his trademark yelling he steps back behind the board and it’s Drizzy’s show. “Popstar” is the banger but the more chill “Greece” presents a nice counterpoint — the pair have struck gold together six times now, and this pair, to be featured on Khaled’s next album, called, naturally enough, “Khaled Khaled,” is a fine addition to the case.
Tinashe “Rascal (Superstar)” This song’s slinky groove, smoldering melody and the ace opera-singer sample were what first snared our attention, but Tinashe’s also brought the stuck-at-home-in-quarantine video to a whole new level: Directed by Jasper Soloff, the clip finds her dancing, twerking, posing and clowning in at least three different outfits in an elaborately decorated apartment — and the only other character that appears in the clip is a little pink drone.
Anne-Marie ft. Doja Cat “To Be Young” “We’re all a mess, but I guess this is what it feels like to be young,” sings the British vocalist on this new single, but she’s speaking for a lot more than young people. This track, from her forthcoming second album, features familiar descending chords on the verses, a soaring chorus and a nice feature from Doja Cat, and was a collaboration between the two with Billy Walsh (Post Malone, The Weeknd), Delacey (Halsey, Demi Lovato) and Louis Bell (Camila Cabello, Selena Gomez, Lorde). The Hannah Lux Davis-helmed video is another adventure in how-to-make-an-interesting-video-from-home, which is probably going to be a theme for awhile…
Julia Stone “Break” This Australian singer-songwriter was best known as a folk artist, but for her first solo release in eight years she’s teamed up with St. Vincent for something completely different: While the music, with its horn-riff hook and shambolic beat, is very Vincent-esque, Stone is indisputably the dominant personality in the song, which also features contributions from coproducer Thomas Bartlett, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint and Bryce Dessner from the National.
Cults “Trials” The second single from this long-running duo’s forthcoming fourth album “Hosts” has a vaguely ‘60s French-pop feel to it, with lots of echo, a haunting vibe on the chorus and loads of compression on Madeline Follin’s voice in the verses — it’s a remarkably atmospheric song in a small box. As for how they got a similarly evocative feel for the video, director Jeff Strikers says, “Cults asked me back in April if I had any ideas for a music video we could make while quarantined across the country. Via Zoom, we shot Madeline’s performance against a green tablecloth from a party store. I started experimenting with an old optical illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost”, projecting Madeline’s image onto a sheet of glass to create a ghostly, hologram effect. They use this technique on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.”