The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Janet Jackson, AFX


Just in case the 26 tracks we shared in our fall music preview didn’t sate your appetite for new tunes for the holiday weekend, we rounded up some of our favorite tracks that were released this week.

Up next we’ve got some bonus blessings from Dick James, a funky nocturnal collabo, a Belgian-Congolese “Capture,” and a title track from Queen Jackson. But first, a New Orleans standard flipped by a Brazilian wizard:

N.A.S.A. — “Iko (Tropkillaz Remix) ft. Lizzo”

“Iko Iko” (aka “Jockamo”) is an old New Orleans standard call-and-response Mardi Gras Indian song; You might remember it from David Simon’s Treme, or the Belle Stars version from Rain Man. This version was produced by the production duo N.A.S.A., then remixed by the Tropkillaz. Both feature samba savant DJ Zegon, who gets some help from Minneapolis rapper Lizzo. The track toes the line between familiar and infectiously new. They call them standards for a reason.

AFX — “umil 25-01”

The electro nerds went understandably nuts for the new EP from Aphex Twin mastermind Richard D. James’ project AFX, and were treated to this extra bonus track when they purchased Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-2008. It’s his first release as AFX since the Analord series on Rephlex (2003-2005).

NITE-FUNK – “Can U Read Me?”

Repeat collaborators Nite Jewel and Dâm-Funk team up again on this sultry, smoothed-out R&B track. Built on top of a Dâm-Funky synth bass line (those signature waww wawws and doo doos), Ramona Gonzalez’s vocals float up to the surface of the track, occasionally meeting Mr. Funk in the middle for some sweet, sweet harmonizing. Top-down freeway cruising music.

Bajoli — “Capture (ft. Petite Noir)”

On this single from his upcoming Universal France release 64 Bits & Malachite, Congolese-Belgian rapper Baloji speaks for the Congolese people, who have been plagued by years of civil war. As the above video translates from French: “They have to choose between peace and justice/ or fear the vengeance of grandsons.”

Bajoli gets an assist from Cape Town’s Petite Noir and Kinshasa’s Muanza, with production from Metronomy’s Olugbenga Adelekan. The track’s mood is at once grave and beautiful, promoting awareness of suffering while celebrating Black Excellence. Look for Petite Noir’s record next week, out on Domino.

Janet Jackson – “Unbreakable”

Just as she gets into full swing on the first leg of her Unbreakable world tour, Janet blesses us with the album’s title track, another Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis production. Sonically in line with first single “No Sleep,” the new track is indicative of an album that by all signs will be intimate and deeply personal.