The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: FKA twigs, Chance the Rapper


This week is all about the amazing new FKA twigs video, to be honest – but still, there’s plenty of other goodness to be heard, which is a pleasant surprise given that August is usually the slowest month of the year.

FKA twigs — “M3LL155X”

The video that accompanies this entire EP, all 17 minutes of it, has been getting plenty of attention, and deservedly so, because it’s a pretty amazing piece of art in its own right. But for the purposes of this column, we’re thinking about how the music sounds, and happily it’s just as fascinating as the visuals. The production on Twigs’ music has always been fascinating, and it’s as dark and immersive here as ever — there are production contributions from Arca, Clams Casino, Dev Hynes and various others, and Twigs’ merges their sounds into a singular and instantly recognizable aesthetic, not unlike Kanye West did with Yeezus. Crucially, the production here is matched here by the quality of the songs, which wasn’t always the case on LP1, and the result feels like the most fully recognized version of Twigs’ artistic vision thus far in her short career.

Chance the Rapper feat Noname Gypsy — “Israel (Sparring)”

Biblical hip hop, wherein Chance compares struggling to make it in the world — “I struggle with love, I juggle my loves, I cuddle and coddle, shipwreck in bottle, I huddle in hugs” — to the Biblical tale of Jacob wrestling with god. His verses are great, as are Noname Gypsy’s, and both are so muted that this comes off more like a quiet conversation than anything else — but it’s a conversation you’re very glad you’re hearing.

Joanna Newsom — “Sapokanikam”

She’s as much an acquired taste as she ever was — or, more accurately, perhaps, she’s a taste you either have or you don’t — but if you’re a fan, then you’re no doubt delighted by the belated return of Joanna Newsom. This is the first single from her first album in five years, which is entiteld Divers and is out 10/23 via Drag City.

Alex G — “Bug”

He’s now signed to Domino, but being on a “real” label hasn’t changed Alex G’s signature style at all — this could have walked straight off Trick or DSU, or perhaps an album by one of Alex’s fellow bedroom auteurs. This isn’t a criticism — when you’re as good a songwriter as Alex G is, there’s no need to radically alter your approach, and this single promises much for his Domino debut, Beach Music, which is due out 10/9.

Angel Haze — “Babe Ruthless”

Hey, now this is the Angel Haze we know and love! She’s in coruscating form here, and if it returns a signal to the combative style that made her name pre-Dirty Gold, we are entirely in favor.

Bonus track:

YACHT — “I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler”

Didn’t we all.