A walk-around-with-headphones track that rummages through a drawer of twenty-year-old chord progressions and flourishes and somehow comes up with exactly what it needs.
A song that you can enjoy aesthetically or for its cheery thesis: That music is a subset of advertising.
Jessie Ware has a new album out today. This track, with Robin Hannibal or Rhye, is, for some reason, not on it.
If you told me that this song was by Stars I would say, oh yeah, obviously, that voice, yeah, I hear it. But if you didn't, I would hesitate to assume. If you told me it wasn't, I would absolutely believe you. Anyway: This is not a new song by some new band from LA or Berlin or The Playa. This is a new song by Stars.
The first EP from SALES comes out this week, but most of its songs—save for the one above—have been filtering through the internet for months ("Toto" for about a year; the most popular, "Chinese New Year," since January). You wouldn't know the band hadn't released an album if this one didn't exist to remind you. They're very… what is a band supposed to be now? Present? Anyway: You can stream the EP here, and buy it here. It is excellent.
As everything becomes progressively more terrible and the pace of the progression accelerates at a clip that, each time I notice it, seems even more aggressive and unlikely when compared with the speed at which the previous increase in awfulness occurred, it seems that the few new things in which I find comfort are those which reduce or eschew altogether the use of words. Words are terrible. Our only hope is in everyone shutting up. The future is wordless sound. Listen to this. [Via]
A narrative video for one of the more accessible tracks on the excellent Lese Majesty, which I've been coming back to again and again over the last couple months (see previously: #CAKE).
"I just, kind of always wanted to see what it would be like to, you know, sing for money on the streets. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to find a good place." Erykah Badu busks in Times Square.
Here is New Zealand's Yumi Zouma with a genuinely relaxing track. It's a build-and-release song structure, except muted: It doesn't work you up—it gets your attention and then calms you down.
An unexpectedly devastating video for the producer's first collaboration with Kendrick Lamar. Up and away. (See also.)
Lost in the slightly tense but mostly tepid feud between songwriter Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) and Sky Ferreira over artistic ownership of "Everything Is Embarrassing" is the document itself. Ferreira's version, the enormous hit, is slick and perfect and instantly imprints itself on your brain, where it is stored as just one or two repeating stanzas. Hynes's version, a functional and unpolished demo, feels small and tentative—it sounds embarrassed.
Prince is releasing two full albums before 2015, both of which will be granted, by default, rigorous consideration by people who have at any point prior cared about Prince. But what on Earth does a teenager make of this? Will the youngest listeners hear this song and think, oh, Prince, dad, whatever? Or will they wonder, who is Prince, I've heard of him somewhere, and then maybe Google him? Does he just get to reappear, no questions asked, his legacy venerated unquestionably, his singles made hits in whatever order planned? Or does Prince have to plead a new case? Anyway: a pretty fun song.
2014 has been, for a broad swath of music, the year of the obligatory synth: Countless artists, new and old, have converged on the same neon moan, if only for a few bars on a few tracks. It makes it a little harder to tell when artists really mean it—to know which ones are just having a little fun with the past and which ones are wholly dedicated to performing it. Dutch Uncles? I don't know. But the song works!
In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.
One album has managed to sell over a million copies so far this year, but it’s a soundtrack. The ever-popular Frozen soundtrack may slowly be working its way down the charts, but it is by far the best selling collection this year. Though it doesn’t have any marquee names on it—those that are usually expected to sell the best—the soundtrack has managed to move 3.2 million copies so far, and with winter coming, that number is sure to rise.
The most popular album of 2014 that was actually released [...]
Most of the songs on Ex Hex's Rips aren't quite as short as "Waterfall"—the twelve tracks on the album, which has appeared on most of the streaming sites by now, clock at thirty-five minutes. But it's a certainly a concise album, and in the best way: quick, full, never dense or rushed. It's an album you can play a few times in a row before noticing that you've started over.
From Here And Nowhere Else, which came out in April, a video for the album's most energetic track—one of the few that might have fit in on the very fun and very catchy self-titled album, from 2011, which has apparently been reassessed as the product of an "introductory phase" that should now be "eradicated." RUDE.