The 6 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Robyn and Beck, Unlikely Song of the Summer Contenders


We’ve got a veritable treasure trove of tracks from Flavorwire favorites this week — Robyn, Beck, and the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn — plus a few more gems from lesser-known folks.

Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique — “Love Is Free” feat. Maluca

BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac just gave Robyn her esteemed honor of “hottest record in the world” — and for good reason. The Song of the Summer search is over now: Robyn’s new La Bagatelle Magique project has given us just that with the euphoric club hit “Love Is Free.” This is one of those songs that sounds completely in line with what’s swirling around in dance music right now, but also like they took all the pieces apart and put them back together according to a different blueprint.

Beck — “Dreams”

Though he finally scored Grammy gold with last year’s atmospheric Morning Phase, Beck reminded fans this week that he’s still got a funky side. Thank god. “Dreams,” a one-off single from a distant future album he’s been working on for years, is perhaps the slickest, catchiest anthem he’s ever made. Employing two of pop’s strongest songwriters (Greg Kurstin and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt), Beck achieves his own sonic version of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”… until he reminds you why this is a Beck song with a tempo-changing, distortion-loving guitar solo.

Vince Staples — “Get Paid” feat. Desi Mo

Vince Staples’ latest song works on two levels: within hip-hop’s longstanding love of bragging about getting paid, and the motivations behind that obsession. Like the best of Staples’ dark take on West Coast rap up until this point, “Get Paid” examines ghetto life in more nuanced terms. So while you might revel in his braggadocio, he’s also dropping context in his verses. Nothing drives that home better than Desi Mo’s parting shot: “Money is the means of control.” Staples’ debut LP, Summertime ’06, is finally out June 30.

Craig Finn — “Newmyer’s Roof”

Craig Finn’s lyrics can feel a little like a novel you loved in what feels now to be another life. Maybe you see it sitting on the shelf and think, “Yeah, that was a pretty good read.” But as soon as you crack the spine again, you remember why those characters mattered to you in the first place. “Newmyer’s Roof,” the first taste of Finn’s forthcoming second solo LP, has a Springsteen-esque sense of urgency that helps to amplify the song’s inspiration: Finn watching the Twin Towers go down from his buddy’s roof in the East Village. Poetically, his Faith in the Future is out September 11.

Baio — “Sister of Pearl”

Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio recently announced his plans for a solo debut, The Names (out September 18), and if “Sister of Pearl” is any indication, the LP isn’t wildly different from early VW. The song’s throwback piano pop would fit in well on Arcade Fire multi-instrumental Will Butler’s recent solo album, and at times Baio’s voice sounds like it could be that of a Butler brother. Elsewhere, he plays dress-up with Spencer Krug vocals. All the while, the little guitar riff that gives “Sister of Pearl” its addictive quality sounds as if it could have been pulled from an early Peter Gabriel hit. Quite the menagerie of sounds in a such tidy package! I feel like this song is going to end up in the trailer for an indie comedy.

Kiiara — “Gold”

A 20-year-old hardware store clerk from Illinois made the most alluring bit of bedroom electro-pop I’ve heard in a while, thanks to the soft chopping effect on her vocals.