In this weekly feature, we make a playlist of some of the best and most important new songs from the week before. Each track is supplemented with a short commentary, giving a sense of why you should check them out.
Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”
After breaking into the scene with her studio debut The ArchAndroid, Monáe continues her Metropolis concept series with her newest work The Electric Lady. A little more focused on pop sensibilities this time around, “Dance Apocalyptic” is a combination of her catchy hooks and soulful attitude.
Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”
These British indie rockers have been on the radar for a while now, but their latest album AM is their most impressive work to date. The new sound they’ve crafted by combining classic guitar riffs with thumping hip-hop beats begs you to bob your head while listening. Read The Daily Texan’s review of the album here. (Bonus: a video of Arctic Monkeys covering Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home”)
Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”
To release the title track from their upcoming album Reflektor, indie gods Arcade Fire didn’t just put it up online. Instead, they created an elaborate viral art project that garnered buzz. Once “Reflektor” finally dropped as an interactive music video, fans relished in the return of one of the most important bands of the past decade.
2 Chainz – “Feds Watching”
It’s difficult to know just how seriously to take 2 Chainz, but on his sequel album B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME, it’s obvious that he is still having a great time. The Pharrell-produced “Feds Watching” has a hard beat and lines like “I’m so fly I jumped out the air wearing Gucci.” It's exactly what we would expect from the gaudy rapper. (Bonus: he and Grimes unknowingly wore matching Versace pants at the VMAs.)
Willis Earl Beal – “Coming Through”
The story of Willis Earl Beal is just as important to his music as the lyrics. Discharged from the US Army in 2007, the introverted Beal spent the next few years homeless, working odd jobs, and making art. He never played any live shows, and “released” his music via leaving CD-Rs in Albuquerque coffee shops, accompanied with original artwork. He now has two officially released albums. His newest, the cleanly produced Nobody Knows, shows Beal coming in to his own as an experimental soul artist.
London Grammar – “Nightcall”
If You Wait is a solid debut from English trio London Grammar, but perhaps the most impressive track from it is their stripped down cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” (familiar to fans of the film "Drive"). Replacing the original’s club beats are a somber piano and Florence Welch-like belting.
Factory Floor – “Turn it Up”
Ending this week’s playlist is the opening track from post-industrial dance project Factory Floor’s eponymous debut album. So get busy dancing.
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