Janelle Monáe // Q.U.E.E.N. (feat. Erykah Badu)
Janelle Monáe is bringing the groove back with this new cut from the long awaited next installment of her Metropolis series.
The Electric Lady teams up with Neo-Soul queen Erykah Badu to deliver an empowering uptempo that will no doubt get you up on off-ah that chair and moving just about everywhere. You know those places you never thought you’d be moving? Yep, even there.
Starting with a deep guitar riff which procedes some glitzy 80s synths and a nice orchestral arrangement, Janelle has managed to do what she does best by providing a great track with various layers. It has that vintage vibe she does so well, but with a crisp modernity to remind us that she’s on the cutting edge of basically everything. Okay, some things.
Add an excellent outro from Erykah Badu and I gotta say is that the booty don’t lie. Shakira told us that 7 years ago, true; but the message is still just as powerful to this very day.
Disclosure // You & Me [feat. Eliza Doolittle]
After the success of ‘Latch’ and ‘White Noise’, Disclosure take it back to basics with new single ‘You & Me’, released April 28.
In an unlikely collaboration with Eliza Doolittle, the duo embrace the garage sounds that made us fall in love with their earlier material. While it may not be quite as immediate as the aforementioned singles, it only takes a couple of plays for the fast paced chorus to sink in and do its magic. Combined with a slinky beat that sounds like it could have come straight out of 2001, and Disclosure have hit that sweet spot yet once again.
Drake // Started From The Bottom
I don’t know what to think about the new Drake single. The sparse, repetitive instrumental gives the track a nice atmosphere, but the fact that it really is repetitive is a bit of a problem as well.
Don’t even get me started on the lyrics. I mean, really? We knew you were going to cover the same ‘rose from ashes, now I’m in gold glasses’ ish on this track, but you could have at least invested in a thesaurus to make things a little interesting Drizzy.
This isn’t bad, just incredibly disappointing. Even if Drake does tell us this was all a joke and what we’re all just hearing is a half finished snippet, it still has nothing on his previous lead singles, let’s face it.
Disclosure // White Noise [feat. AlunaGeorge]
Following up ‘Latch’ was always going to be difficult. I mean, it was that song. So what better to do than hook up with one of the most hyped bands of 2012?
Well, it could have been awful. Disclosure could have been teaming up with some bland band that were hyped up by some bland magazine as pioneers of some indie/post-indie/post-future-rock/turtlewave revolution. Thankfully that’s not the case though. They’ve team up with AlunaGeorge, so without even hearing the song we pretty much know it’s amazing. Plus it’s Disclosure, enough said.
With two of my favourite acts of 2012 teaming up this could have been one of those massively disappointing hyped collaborations. It’s not. ‘White Noise’ is everything it should have and could have been - and more. Even on top of a massive 80s techno influenced instrumental Aluna’s vocals are unmistakeable. The production is precise without sounding calculated, with the euphoria of the pre-chorus with it’s looped vocals and hollow core being my favourite part of the track. That’s all before the massive chorus comes in, resulting in something close enough to perfection.
Rainy Milo // Don’t Regret Me [Gif Video]
Rainy Milo’s ‘Limey’ mixtape is one of those song collections where they’re all so good that it’s difficult to pick standouts. Despite that, ‘Don’t Regret Me’ is an obvious single choice to launch the London singer to a broader audience.
With laidback strums of guitar, oceanic electronica and a steady urban drum beat, ‘Don’t Regret Me’ sounds like a collision between William Orbit and the Neptunes circa 2000, with a little Sugababes 1.0 thrown in there for good measure. Rainy’s delivery is chilled yet unrestrained, which combined with her accent add a certain sweetness to the track.
Make sure you grab Rainy’s ‘Limey’ mixtape over at her soundcloud and follow her on here too. You’d be a fool of you didn’t considering all of the songs all good and it’s free. I can’t wait to hear more from Rainy, but in the meanwhile I’ll enjoy this cute plant infested gif video.
Beyoncé Sings the National Anthem at the 2013 Inauguration of Barack Obama
That moment when she yanks the earpiece out from under her hair. Perfect.
Aaliyah // Quit Hatin’
Despite Drake acting like an idiot by putting a Chris Brown diss in a posthumous release, ‘Enough Said’ was one of my favourite tracks of 2012. Aaliyah’s “came too far to give up, gotta try” riff helped to remind me what I love so much about her music, easily meriting the release of some new material. Her effortless, haunting vocals sounded sublime on top of a sparse instrumental and left me begging for more unreleased material.
‘Quit Hatin’ isn’t technically new as there’s been a low quality version of the Knotch & Dre Sinatra track floating about the net for years; but bar some slight tagging we’ve now got it in all of it’s high quality glory. You can hear the yearning in Aaliyah’s voice now, as she pleads with her friends to quit hating on her man, whom she loves despite the fact that she knows he’s nothing but bad for her.
Cascading snares form the basis of the instrumental, which sounds tense thanks to an off-kilter piano riff and some unnerving sirens in the background. Combined with slow, aching synths, this is another atmospheric Aaliyah track which reminds us just how much she’s missed in today’s music industry.
Jessie Ware // If You’re Never Gonna Move (Two Inch Punch Remix)
Can we all just forget that whole Big Pun legal drama thing ever happened? Despite what his estate may want, this track will always be known as ‘110%’. Forever. That’s just how it is.
For now we’re going to have to call it ‘If You’re Never Gonna Move’ though. Sure, it may not have the same mystique about it, but that’s what Jessie’s new American EP is called, so call it that we will.
‘110%’, with it’s pulsating beats zig-zagging all over the place, fits in perfectly somewhere in that space between Björk’s ‘Hyperballad’ and Kelis and André 3000’s ‘Millionaire’. Basically it’s brilliant. The Two Inch Punch remix turns the track a sexy electronic slow jam, complete with heavy bass and cascading snares. It’s a complete transformation, but everything just sounds so effortless as if it were meant to be. Brilliant.
Justin Timberlake // Suit & Tie [feat. Jay-Z]
Futuresex / Lovesounds. 2006. An impressive record. 7 years. It was always going to be a tough one to follow up. After a while it seemed like we’d all just accepted that the third album would never happen. Then Justin appeared with this ‘I’m Ready’ video and we all got very excited. Well, at least I did.
With such a build-up there were always going to be high expectations. Pressing play on the new Justin Timberlake single was always going to be a big moment. So I found a youtube clip, clicked on the red triangle, and this sound erupted from my laptop speakers. I was horrified. It sounded dated and lacked any sort of melody whatsoever. There were tears. It was a very emotional moment.
Then all of a sudden the beat changed and turned the whole track on its head . I suddenly had this revolutionary idea to ditch the crappy laptop speakers and give my headphones a try. It was at that moment that I finally found true happiness.
‘Suit & Tie’ might not come close to the singles off ‘Futuresex / Lovesounds’, but that was 2006 when mainstream music was generally in a much better place. This is still a good song. The intro starts off deep. The bass pounds against your ears. Underwhelming, maybe; but still nice. Then this groovy drum pattern enters and it gets very good. Justin’s quick paced vocals sound perfect against 70s horns, creating an atmosphere not to dissimilar to that in Snoop Dogg collaboration ‘Signs’. Refreshing to say the least.
The chorus is a typical Timbaland affair, but it’s his best work in forever so I won’t go ape on him for that. In fact, Timbaland did a pretty good job on the production. Sure, it may not have been as forward-thinking as I’d hoped, but I love the way it all slows down and the beat drops out during Jay-Z’s verse. Plus the outro is killer. Justin didn’t given us the revolutionary material we’d hoped for - in facr ‘Suit & Tie’ could well end up among his weakest singles in retrospect. However it’s a good song, and for that, I’m happy.
xxyyxx // Backroom #8
New track from the Florida producer sounds just about right at 6am. For a moment I thought it sampled Chaka Khan, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Still, impressive. Download the song from soundcloud because, well, it’s free.