It has been no easy task sifting through the glut of exceptional music that fell into our laps this week. Today alone sees the release of highly-anticipated albums from Lorde, Young Thug, 2 Chainz and Fleet Foxes. On the singles front, we’ve been gifted with another stellar outing from Arcade Fire, a dramatic artistic reinvention from Toro y Moi and one hell of a breakthrough song from 6LACK.
Here are our picks for the Best Tracks of the Week.
2 Chainz—“Realize” ft. Nicki Minaj
So, real talk. As good as 2 Chainz’ new album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is (and it is indeed good), this song is here for one reason and one reason alone: Nicki Minaj. One expects excellence from a Nicki verse, and as usual, she serves nothing but. This one in particular is a gem; she reignites her beef with Remy Ma with barely suppressed glee. “I’ve been winning 8 years consistently, at least respect it / Papoose wrote a Ether record, but I broke Aretha record,” she spits venomously.
6LACK has got it. He captures a certain, broody mood on any track he touches, and he’s carving out a vibe so distinctive it’s clear it will elevate him to the levels of R&B’s biggest hitters. “That Far” is the latest song in which he exerts his somber yet soulful vocals. It sounds custom built for solo, nighttime drives where past relationships stew relentlessly in your head.
Arcade Fire—“Creature Comfort”
“This would handily be the darkest song of the band’s career were it not presented in the form of an upbeat, disco-inflected banger. In fact, it’s downright joyous. Because in the end, though it may be populated with a parade of extremely disconcerting personal narratives, it is an anthem of hope. It is about staring down your darkness, acknowledging its power, and choosing not to submit to it, no matter how attractive that option may seem. And who can’t get down and boogie to that notion?”
Read our review.
Dizzee Rascal is back. With a vengeance. Clearly unhappy with Wiley’s successful return to action with his Godfather album earlier this year, Dizzee is set to release Raskit, which reportedly has a song that directly sends for Eski Boy. Whilst you mull over the mouth-watering prospect of grime’s biggest heavyweights verbally sparring again, Dizzee has treated us to “Space,” a track which sees the boy from Bow return to his roots with vindictive flow, massive bars and a a sledgehammer of a beat. Pew pew.
Fleet Foxes—“I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar”
With their new album Crack-Up, out today, Fleet Foxes have definitively killed any trace of the twee folk band that culture at large downloaded on their iPod Nano’s back in 2008. Their third full-length is an astonishing leap in innovation and form, shredding their previous stylistic impulses and reforging them into something darker, moodier and ultimately more affecting. This is immediately felt in the opening track, one that hops back and forth between grumbled mutterings over bass and a full-fledged guitar assault.
KÁRYYN’s “YAJNA” begins with a rumbling, as if a seismic shift is about to happen. The beat drops, her voice floats in, and you’re instantly transported to another universe. We were lucky enough to premiere the LA-based, Björk-approved musician’s latest track this week and had an extensive chat about how she got her start. Read more on that right here.
Lorde has shared a bounty of superb singles ahead of the release of Melodrama, and all have been (rightfully) given love in previous editions of this list. But in terms of sheer pop muscle, all of them pale in comparison to this track. Sleek as anything found on her beat-driven debut Pure Heroine, “Homemade Dynamite” is about as good as pre-party drinking songs can get. You just can’t write a better pop hook than “D-D-D-DYNAMITE.”
Nosaj Thing—“All Points Back to U” ft. Steve Spacek
From the very first low-slung chord, you know this is the sort of track that will be grabbing the attention of dance-floors across the world this summer. A tightly-produced and welcome return from Nosaj Thing, who grabs Beat Spacek to inject some spectral vocals into the haunting yet club-friendly track.
Toro y Moi—“Girl Like You”
“In the end, it’s his naïveté that makes this track work. Toro’s plea is entirely in earnest; he’s “dreaming a connection,” not looking for a quick love in the club. He has effectively subverted the listener’s expectations from the get-go; utilizing the elements of an autotuned bedroom-seduction and transforming it into a yearning paean for the kind of love that leaves you with butterflies in your stomach, “smiling without thought.” In so doing, it is the freshest, most natural Toro has sounded in years.”
Read our review.
Young Thug—“Tomorrow Til Infinity”
After we were greeted by the finest country / trap hybrid of the 21st century, the second track that followed on Beautiful Thugger Girls was a certified feeling-inducer. The woozy, ethereal beat and even Thug’s flow and lyrics at points sound reminiscent of Future’s “Codiene Crazy” – and that is definitely no bad thing. What is impossible to replicate, though, is Thug’s inimitable flow and weird vocal lurches – which make the track roll oh-so well.
Be sure to check out last week’s installment of Best Tracks of the Week right here.
- Cover Image: Andrew Paynter