The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Grimes, Karen O, Curren$y


Grimes week (and October) is coming to a close, and we finally have a release date (November 6) for Art Angels, the long-awaited follow-up to Claire Boucher’s breakout release Visions. (And here we were hoping for “A Very Grimesy Halloween.”) Luckily, we’ve got plenty to hold us over until next week as you get ready for the world’s biggest game of dress-up this weekend.

Below, we’ve got a video game soundtrack cut from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, a child-sized dose of krautrock cuteness, a beach-friendly pop jam, and a 2010 flashback from one of the hardest-working rappers in the game. But first, the Art Angel herself:

Grimes — “SCREAM ft. Aristophanes”

I’ve done my best to manage my expectations for Grimes’ fourth album in the face of multiple magazine profiles and deafening Internet buzz. But then Claire Boucher started the week with a demented music video “written, directed, edited, colored, and art directed” by Grimes herself and ended it with “SCREAM.” Stepping into the background vocally (for what she calls her “first producer track”), the song showcases a female Taiwanese rapper named Aristophanes who she discovered on Soundcloud — a creative writing teacher by day! And backing the resulting track with Boucher’s actual screams may be the most Grimes thing that’s ever happened. Consequently, “SCREAM” is catnip to to those of us who’ve sorely missed Grimes’ “weirdest pop star on the planet” vibe, and bodes well for next Friday’s long-awaited Art Angels. —Alison Herman, Associate Editor

Karen O — “I Shall Rise”

Karen O just dropped her first new piece of music since last year’s Crush Songs, a commission from Microsoft for its newest installment of the Tomb Raider video game franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman told told Rolling Stone earlier this week that the song is her version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and that it was a refreshing change of pace to shift from the autobiographical perspective of Crush Songs. “…I love making music connected to a storyline,” she said. “It was all stuff I loved like having the theme song to [Lara Croft] becoming an icon and the creation myth to the moment she becomes Lara.” And while Croft serves as her muse, it’s hard not to think of Karen O herself when she sings, “They’ll know my name/when they’ve forgotten all about you.” Rise of the Tomb Raider is out November 10.

Lemmchen Grundschule — “Die Roboter (Kraftwerk Cover)”

Some teachers show up simply for the check and summer vacation, but it’s the ones who try that really make a difference. In middle school, my adorably earnest music teacher used the simple three-chord melody from Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” to try to show us how fun reading/writing music could be, and it’s never left me. Whoever got this elementary school class in Mainz, Germany to learn Kraftwerk’s “Die Roboter” (“The Robots” in German), deserves a medal, but something tells me the experience was its own reward. Props to the teacher/mom/dad who made these amazing cardboard robot costumes, too. Do your best not to OD on the cuteness.

Pom Poms — “Betty”

The debut single by new Los Angeles duo Pom Poms slides between sad and syrupy into the sweet spot for a West Coast retro-pop slow jam. Grammy-nominated producer Billy Mohler and singer Marlene Gold name Jean-Luc Godard, Ernie Kovacs, blues, and rock as influences, and Gold’s dense, melodic voice — think a deeper version of Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino — elicits a sudden urge to look longingly at the water from your nearest beach or boardwalk. Which, unless you’re in California, too, might elicit some intense FOMO. —Michael Epstein, Editorial Apprentice

Curren$y — “Pilot Talk III”

This is technically cheating, since it’s an entire album, and it came out earlier this year, but I DGAF, since tickets for his upcoming tour go on sale today, and I’ve been waiting for the return of my favorite rapper of 2010 since, well… 2010. That magical year saw the most chill wordsmith from New Orleans drop two of the year’s best rap releases, Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk II; both recorded in upstate New York and comprised mostly of production from da gawd Ski Beatz. Ski handles about half the production on this smoothed-out trip through the stoned mind of a lyrical genius. The tour will support his upcoming album Canal Street Confidential, which is scheduled for a December 4 release. Welcome back, par.