It’s my birthday this week, and do you want to know what I’m most upset about with getting older? No, it’s not the noises that begin to happen in my joints when I stand up now or the diminishing abilities to sleep off a weekend out on the town. It’s that at 25 I’m out of the golden stretch of good songs that correspond with my age. There’s a great three year stretch that begins when you turn 21 that includes literally any party song (21), Taylor Swift‘s “22” (22) and Blink-182‘s “What’s My Age Again?” (23). All that is behind me now! I just have to listen to non-specific birthday tracks now. I’ll probably spend the entire day listening to “In Da Club.” With that complaint out of the way, lets dive into this week’s selection of songs.

She & Him – She/He Gives Her/His Love To Me

More inclusivity is always good. She & Him are always good. She & Him practicing more inclusivity is extra good. As part of the Universal Love project, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have released this wonderful love song with two sets of pronouns. No matter which pronoun Deschanel uses, the affection in her voice sells “She/He Gives Her/His Love To Me.” It’s a simple, folksy track that lets the love and affection take center stage, with a lovely twang from Ward’s guitars and just a bit of swing from a horn section to let any lovely couple dance to it. Love is amazing, and love songs like this are a big part of it.

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes – Modern Lover

We’re staying on the topic of love for our next selection. That being said, it’s not the tender simplicity of the song above. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes are more focused on the electric, thrilling rise that love gives on their song “Modern Lover.” Blending the raw energy of rock with a sleek pop veneer, “Modern Lover” is an intensely kinetic song, as Ellsworth’s voice and keyboard crash off the careening guitar, the song rarely taking a second to breathe. With a theme of infatuation and desire, “Modern Lover” sprints and flies and warps into an unstoppable force, and it’s carrying Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes along with it into the sky.

Janelle Monáe, Brian Wilson – Dirty Computer

You’re reading that correctly. The first and titular track from Janelle Monáe‘s new project Dirty Computer features The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. We truly do not deserve that wonder that is Monáe. Her new album covers a huge amount of ground, both sonically and thematically. “Dirty Computer” is a perfect starting point, with Monáe combining her pop and R&B mastery with TRON-like electronic vibes and the subtle use of Wilson’s voice and songwriting influence. While it’s too long to include in Take 5, I also highly encourage you to check out the “Emotion Picture” that goes with the album. It’s an hour that you will not regret in the least.

Gladius James, Wiz Khalifa – Rich

Forget “In Da Club,” all day, I’ll have to incorporate Gladius James‘ “Rich” into my playlist when I roll out on my birthday. This is champagne music. This is luxury music. Over a spacious, exquisite beat, Gladius James delivers vocals that belong to the angels. Wiz Khalifa drops into the middle of “Rich” to deliver a verse that matches the low-key energy of the track, and James’ hook will crawl its way into your head and set up shop there. You’ll never want to get rid of this hook though, as Gladius James and “Rich” should occupy your going out playlist for the rest of the year.

Skylar Fri – Without You I’m Just A Body

I’ve been keeping my on Skylar Fri ever since I wrote about her music video for “Gold Rush” back in February. Now’s a good time to hop on that bandwagon with me, as her new single “Without You I’m Just A Body” is fantastic. It shares that same dreamlike quality as “Gold Rush” with a softer edge, as is fitting of the subject matter. Fri sings about that void after you lose someone close to you, where you’re just going through the motions of your life. It’s a feeling many of us can relate to, and Fri delivers it in a dreamy pop package that makes it just a little easier to cope with.


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