I’m back! Did you miss me? I missed all of you. I also picked a hell of a time to go on vacation, as the last two weeks have been absolutely stuffed with excellent new releases. It’s weeks like these that make this column the good kind of stressful to write, as narrowing down all the excellent songs into just five choices is always a challenge for me. There’s so much great new music! As for last week, the unofficial Take 5 is to put Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour on shuffle and pick five songs, because they’re all brilliant. The secret version of Take 5 is the five songs that you personally hold dear to your heart in a given week. The official Take 5 returns now.
Drake – Nice For What
It’s only April and you can already make the case that 2018 belongs to Drake. In January he released “God’s Plan,” which is a massive hit even by Drake’s lofty standards. A month later he wowed again by giving away $1 million in charitable donations in the “God’s Plan” video. This weekend he released another instantly huge single in “Nice For What.” With the silkiest beat around and a perfect Lauryn Hill sample, Drake talks up all the powerful women in his life and who listen to his music. And while this is a column about the music, I have to note the incredible music video directed by Karena Evans, which features a slew of badass and strong women in show business. Olivia Wilde, Issa Rae, Syd, Michelle Rodriguez, and Letitia Wright are just a few of the faces you’ll see in the video. If you’re like me, you’ll see them a lot because you’ll watch and listen to “Nice For What” a million times.
Kississippi – Adrift
As I said in my review of Sunset Blush, Kississippi‘s new album is so good because it combines the indie rock songwriting we know Zoe Reynolds excels at with some poppier sounds and ideas. “Adrift” is a perfect example of this. The hauntingly sad guitar line at the beginning is Reynolds at her best, conveying a deep well of emotion with only a handful of notes. From there the songs adds a few billowing synths into the background, enough to add complexity to the song without overwhelming the melody, an arrangement Reynolds made in part with Kyle Pulley at The Headroom. Reynolds has a wonderful sense of momentum in her writing, and I love how the song, like some of our most painful experiences or relationships, just abruptly ends. The whole of Sunset Blush is great because of all the elements showcased on “Adrift.”
Kali Uchis, BIA – Miami
If you’re a fan of deep, rich production, I suggest you go listen to Isolation immediately. Kali Uchis’ debut album has a plethora of sonic masterpieces, with production work from the likes of Om’Mas, Thundercat, Gorillaz, and Uchis herself. “Miami” is produced by DJ Dahi (who has previously worked with BANKS, Big Sean, and Vince Staples, amongst others) and is a slick, rolling beat that perfectly mirrors driving around the streets of the titular city. Uchis’ delivery floats along as the perfect compliment to the music, and rapper BIA gives the track the little bit of kick that it needs to really shine.
Goat Girl – I Don’t Care Pt. 2
“I Don’t Care Pt. 2” is everything I love about Goat Girl’s self-titled debut all wrapped into one song. It has aspects of about 20 different genres in one tune, with a country into, a rock vocal melody delivered by Lottie, and an especially gritty punk fueled ending musical breakdown. This is a song that was meant to be recorded direct to tape, and fortunately it was. It’s unpredictable in a good way, with twists and turns aplenty and a sound that’s just the right amount of rough around the edges to make it feel lived in. If you can go see Goat Girl live you most definitely should, but if not pop on “I Don’t Care Pt. 2” because it captures much of that magic from the quartet.
The Wonder Years -It Must Get Lonely
After what seems like an endless wait because of how much we were anticipating it, The Wonder Years‘ new album Sister Cities is finally here. The music TWY are playing now is some of their most brilliant, honest, and insightful yet, and you can’t pick a better example than “It Must Get Lonely.” Dan Campbell’s delivery when he sings “If you gotta tell me you’re not using/it’s probably ’cause you are” is raw and heartbreaking, and the imagery in the chorus of being the last building left in a dilapidated neighborhood is powerful. Pair that with truly excellent percussion from Mike Kennedy and the wall of guitars the band musters, and “It Must Get Lonely” may very well bring a tear to your eye.
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