It was a busy week in the mainstream, with two new Drake tracks, some old-new Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monae covering Bowie, Icona Pop partying with Ty Dolla $ign, Conor Oberst still trying to make fetch happen, and more. Some of them make the cut here. Let’s go.
Drake — “Draft Day”
Drake released two new songs this week, “Draft Day” and “Days in the East.” Your preference really depends on which Drake you enjoy most: sexting-his-ex sad-sack Drake or YOLO Drake. I prefer the latter, but regardless, “Draft Day” is a really fun freestyle atop a sample of Lauryn Hill”s “Doo Wop (That Thing).” It’s something of a theme song for his newfound bestie, top NFL prospect Johnny Manziel (pictured in the single art), but it also references The Hunger Games among other non-sports topics. Drizzy wants him some J-Law, who knew!
Lana Del Rey — “Meet Me in the Pale Moonlight”
Do I care that this is supposedly an old song Lana wrote for someone else? Nope. While Del Rey’s disco declaration of Dairy Queen as euphemism will not appear on her forthcoming, Dan Auerbach-assisted LP Ultraviolence, it’s still an example of cheeky glam-pop at its finest. Perhaps the Internet’s excitement over it — presuming it was Auerbach bringing out a different side of Lana — is something we should consider in the problematic context of “female pop ingenue meets male production svengali.”
Parquet Courts — “Sunbathing Animal”
New York garage-punks Parquet Courts aren’t wasting any time. They’ll follow up their 2013 breakthrough debut LP, Light Up Gold, with a new album on June 3. This week they shared that album’s title track, “Sunbathing Animal.” Like the sun they sing of, the track itself is absolutely blistering — the sound of a punk band hauling ass.
Lydia Loveless — “Blind” (Kesha cover)
For her Record Store Day vinyl single, alt-country singer Lydia Loveless turned Kesha’s Auto-Tuned kiss-off “Blind” into a deep-cutting country-rock jam. Loveless ain’t going for irony, though — the Columbus, Ohio-based singer’s got a Kesha tattoo. The strength of the song’s chorus doesn’t lose a thing in its transition towards twang.
Clap Your Heads Say Yeah — “Coming Down” (feat. Matt Berninger)
In the first taste of their new album, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show The National’s Matt Berninger how hard his band used to spazz out and really rock. Berninger eventually brings the song to a near halt and sings a couple lines that sound like an impersonation of something he would say: “This song, written in a pig sty, dedicated to your smile.” No, I think this song is dedicated to rattling away the bad times. CYHSY’s Only Run is out June 3.
Conor Oberst — “Governor’s Ball”
The truth is, I don’t want to like Conor Oberst’s new song. Since he separated himself from Bright Eyes, I have found his solo career to be painfully boring. But alas, “Governor’s Ball” has been in my head all week. The hand-claps, army of back-up singers, and brass band make it a joyful jamboree, despite the fact that it doubles as a PSA for the drug-addled dangers of summer festival culture.