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.
Paul McCartney – “New”
The only living Beatle still making great music (sorry Ringo), Paul McCartney’s aptly named album New shows that time hasn’t hindered his songwriting ability. “New” is one of the more nostalgic tracks on the record, sounding like a jaunty Beatles tune from the get-go. The lyrics are sprinkled with moments of self-reflection, with McCartney looking back at the impact he has already made on the world — “All my life I never knew what we could be, what I could do, when we were new.”
Cults – “High Road”
Cults gained some flak from the indie community when they immediately signed onto major label Columbia the moment they were noticed, but it’s hard to fault a band for wanting a professional recording treatment. Evident on their newest release, Cults carry on the dreamy shoegaze-pop from their debut with audio clarity to boot. Early standout track “High Road” is easy to get lost in, with an atmosphere that equally relies on both the group’s musicality and solid production values.
Kelela – “Guns & Synths”
This Los Angeles vocalist’s debut record gently pushes the boundaries of modern pop music, taking a lighter side to the club-beats-meets-catchy-vocals practice that is taking over (Lorde, anyone?). Her voice seems to glide wherever it wants to over an irregular tribal sounding beat, and together they create a song that is wholly pop. The song’s techniques are so in the now that it feels as though it was written just this morning.
Miley Cyrus – “#GETITRIGHT”
On the other side of the music world is everyone’s favorite superstar Miley Cyrus, with her incredibly fun “#GETITRIGHT.” Any song title with a hashtag in it is enough to make this weekly playlist, and Cyrus’ bedroom anthem is supremely addictive. Showing her vocal chops that don’t get much attention, Cyrus beckons for her boy-toy to get it on with her while she’s still feeling it. She even shows her sweet side — “When I look in your eyes, I see all the stars.” Coupled with those little background whistles and a repetitive beat, “#GETITRIGHT” is all one could ever ask for in a great Miley tune.
Glasser – “Shape”
Cameron Mesirow, the mastermind behind experimental electro-pop project Glasser, recently released her second album Interiors. Featuring lots of low bass, smooth synths and heavenly vocals, “Shape” displays all the trademarks of a dreamy synthpop tune these days. By the time everything comes together in the climax at the end of the song, Glasser’s songwriting talent comes through, and the culmination of sounds all combine to create a feeling that is both relaxing and unnerving at the same time. Interiors also has an awesome album cover.
Sophie – “Bipp”
Yet another experimental electro-pop project under a secretive name (sensing a pattern?), Sophie has kept their real life identity well under wraps. They have yet to release a full length album, but the project is very promising for making music that sounds like absolutely nothing else out there. “Bipp” is a great example of this. It is catchy like a pop tune, but has electro noises that sound as if space-time itself is being warped. Is this supposed to be played in a club, in the bedroom or while walking to class? Who knows, but it’s cool.
Tim Hecker – “Virginal II”
Kudos for those of you who have made it this far through such an experimental playlist this week, but your ears have not heard the last of it. Tim Hecker’s newest album Virgins is his seventh full-length, and it features the ambient composer in top drone-inducing form. “Virginal II” builds and builds, constantly laying on orchestral instruments and deep electronics simultaneously. Caked in atmosphere, “Virginal II” evokes the sense of a spooky horror film just in time for Halloween.