As much as I secretly love Justin Timberlake’s Michael Jackson re-imagination efforts, I fundamentally cannot support yet another posthumous MJ album. Damnit, I just did it anyway. Whatever, there’s better stuff for your ears this week. Some options:
Röyksopp & Robyn — “Do It Again”
I’m all for a good hedonistic dance track, but there’s something even more interesting about a song that hurts so good. Robyn details this feeling in the title track from her mini-album with Norwegian duo Röyksopp (out May 27), with music to match. The synths alternate between abrasive and airy, a bit like one’s heart when they’re in the midst of a “I wish I knew how to quit you” relationship.
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea — “Problem”
If Ariana Grande is a mini-Mariah, then “Problem” is her “Fantasy.” Iggy Azalea proves as apt a duet partner as Mac Miller, but unlike “The Way,” “Problem” is more on Iggy’s lane than Ariana’s. Who knew a Ying Yang Twins vibe would be the right move for a recovering Nickelodeon star?
Christopher Owens — “Stephen”
Ex-Girls leader Christopher Owens drops another track appropos of little besides his heartbreaking past and immense talent. “Stephen” is, seemingly, an ode to his younger brother, who died while Owens’ family was still part of the Children of God cult. Owens leans on gospel belting to get to the tragedy of the whole thing, and it works.
Shamir — “I Know It’s a Good Thing”
I can only hope “she wears my favorite color every day in her eyes” will now eclipse “I wanna dip that ass in gold” as Brooklyn’s pick-up line of choice, but either way, the second track from Godmode’s disco/house newcomer has no shame in letting pleasure give a luxurious embrace.
Hooray For Earth — “Keys”
Brooklyn synth-rockers Hooray For Earth have kept quiet for a couple years, but now we see what they’ve been up to. On the first single from their forthcoming album Racy (out 7/29), they really go all out with the synth-and-string spazz, only to be kept in line by the driving percussion and deliberate bursts of riffs. The tension within this play for control is what makes the song intoxicating.
This is neither good nor bad, it merely is. I’m sorry, I’ve listened to a lot of bad ’90s music this week, so this sounds as much like home as my mother’s voice.