This week I took refuge in bubbly pop as an alternative to Hole’s Live Through This, which I must have listened to about 50 times (see our 5,000-word track-by-track feature). Remixes of Queen Bey, a new song from Little Dragon, a TV-star-turned-pop-newcomer, and more — it’s all here this week.
Beyoncé — “XO” (Monsieur Adi remix)
Along with their Beyoncé cover story this week, OUT Magazine premiered two Bey remixes from French producer Monsieur Adi. Beyoncé tracks “XO” and “Blow” are transformed into electro-house jams. “XO” in particular is a real transformation, moving away from the slightly wimpy, pop-radio-friendly anthem penned by Ryan Tedder. There’s actually a sense of urgency as Bey threatens that time’s running out.
Little Dragon — “Paris”
Swedish pop weirdos Little Dragon return next month with an album that is indeed quite good. Slowly some songs from it our making their way to the Internet and BBC Radio, including “Paris,” which premiered on Zane Lowe this week (hence the radio rip audio). Like chillwave Prince. Little Dragon’s Nabuma Rubberband drops May 13.
Pharmakon — “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” (Nancy Sinatra cover)
If you only know “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” from its dark usage in Kill Bill, then this won’t alarm you too much. Pharmakon covered the song — the cryptic Nancy Sinatra version, not the Sonny and Cher original — for the Sacred Bones Record Store Day compilation. Oddly enough, it’s kind of similar to Nancy’s take, with the addition of abrasive electronic noise blasts. Wonder why Mrs. Sinatra didn’t think to include those.
MNEK — “Every Little Word”
Nineteen-year-old British pop newcomer MNEK has worked with Rudimental and Little Mix and remixed the likes of Duran Duran, but he finally steps out on his own with debut single “Every Little Word.” It’s new jack swing for a new generation: fresh, lewd (“you fuck to this shit?”), totally danceable, and led by a killer vocal. Keep your eye on this kid.
MAX — “Streets of Gold”
Actor Max Schneider may be most recognizable as one of the leads on new NBC action drama Crisis, but he’s also got a budding pop career up his sleeve. In the foreground, “Streets of Gold” is pretty typical pop fare in the vein of Jason Mraz or even modern-day Train (ukelele FTW) and with the vocal belt of Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, but its background is where things get interesting. There’s a start-stop vocal sample, a syncopated drum beat, and a general nervous energy building.