Song of the Week
Years & Years, "Sanctify"
The way Olly Alexander uses his voice and the way he navigates melody would make him fit in well with a boy band. But with "Sanctify," the first song off their upcoming second album, the boy-band comparisons end at the vocals. The driving percussion and slinky synths create a pulsating, moody and engrossing atmosphere. Coupled with a fantastic chorus and engaging imagery, this track is one of the catchiest, most anthemic pop tracks of the year.
Anderson .Paak, "Til It's Over"
The soul/R&B/hip-hop/pop singer returns with his first solo single since 2016, and somehow it fits all those categories at once. With his instantly recognizable croon, Paak details a night out (and in) with a special someone. Multiple percussion changes give the song an excellent sense of progression as the story unfolds, and the melodies are warm and inviting.
Logic, "Wassup" ft. Big Sean
Logic and Big Sean are both similar in that they aren't always on top of their game, but when they are, they really are. "Wassup" finds both rappers feeding off each others' energy, and the Don brings his absolute A-game. His flow is off-kilter and rhythmically complex, and his vocal range is surprisingly fantastic.
Young Fathers, "In My View"
While this isn't a brand-new track, its inclusion on the Scottish rap trio's latest album makes it worth bringing up again. With stunning, droning synths and spirited vocal performances, "In My View" disregards typical genre conventions to create a unique and insular soundscape. The members trade sung and rapped verses with ease, and its lyrics "I wanna be king, until I am") are simple and potent.
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ZHU, "My Life" ft. Tame Impala
Here, an electronic producer taps highly acclaimed Aussie singer-songwriter Kevin Parker to infuse a new track with his patented psych-pop melodies. While it doesn't revolutionize the genre in any sense, it's a satisfying dance tune given an interesting psychedelic spin.
Beach House, "Dive"
Beach House is the rare exception of the rule that music artists should, generally, always be evolving. They have created a gorgeous, hypnotic sonic universe in which they have resided for years, churning out consistently excellent music. "Dive," the second single from their upcoming seventh LP, continues their trancelike beauty, beginning with pretty synths and building into a soaring dream-pop ballad.
Vince Staples, "Get the F**k Off My D*ck"
When you make music that mashes up two genres, voice singular opinions and stick to your guns, some people aren't going to like you. Vince Staples does both quite often, and has racked up a large amount of trolls. As a clever response to people asking for his music career to end, Staples set up a GoFundMe in which he promised to never make music again if his haters paid him $2 million; this is also the inspiration for his blunt new track. Musically, it's not the most impressive, but you should hear Staples tear the trolls a new one.
Sting & Shaggy, "Morning is Coming"
Yes, you read that right. The lead singer of The Police is teaming up with the singer behind "It Wasn't Me" for a collaborative album. This resulting single is lifeless reggae -- the kind you'd hear playing in some themed restaurant or from the car of a Jimmy Buffet stan. This is a team-up that nobody would've thought existed. It's unclear whether anybody's glad that it does.
KYLE, "To the Moon"
Even though he managed to nab a spot on last year's XXL Freshman List and a smash hit with "iSpy," KYLE has never been the most trailblazing name in the game. His latest single combines a bland trap beat and, most upsettingly, a humming chorus that could've been snatched from a Kid Cudi song. That the track references a "Moon" makes it seem even more like a rip-off of the Man on the Moon himself.
Marshmello, "Fly" ft. Leah Culver
After "Closer," do we really need another electronic producer pairing up with a female singer in the hopes of nabbing a huge hit? Much like the Chainsmokers, Marshmello employs formulaic breaks and droning synths. However, he ditches their dreary dance sounds in favor of music so sugar-sweet, I became diabetic halfway through the song.