Another week, another fresh batch of tunes. For us, this Friday was mostly about The Internet’s fourth studio album Hive Mind, which we probably won’t be able to shut up about for at least the rest of the year. We highly recommend you giving it your full undivided attention after perusing this week’s best tracks, which could not, unfortunately, just be 10 out of the 13 songs on the album.
Alas, other people released music this week – notably Chance the Rapper, who had us all scrambling with his album announcement turned surprise-release of four tracks. BROCKHAMPTON also dropped another banger (can these boys make a song that’s simply average?!) ahead of their upcoming album the best years of our lives, Ciara dropped a comeback track worthy of at least a few booty shakes, Quavo makes an appearance on German rapper Ufo361’s latest song, and 88rising released their crew album Head in the Clouds.
All these and more in this week’s best tracks.
Billie Eilish – “you should see me in a crown”
You may think you’re ready for the beat in this song to drop, but trust us, you’re not. Far harder than it has any right to be, the latest from pop-wunderkind Billie Eilish is an exacting piece of goth-pop, bolstered by the addition of a jagged synth and a trap-snare that whizzes overhead like a swarm of wasps. “you should see me in a crown” is all stunting past the fake bitches in the club vibe, which is all one really needs on a sweltering Friday.
BROCKHAMPTON – “1998 TRUMAN”
The excitement surrounding a new BROCKHAMPTON track dulled when “1999 WILDFIRE” was, rightfully, described as the boy-band cosplaying OutKast. This didn’t make it bad, but it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting from the most radically-forward thinking group in hip-hop right now. Rest assured, “1998 TRUMAN” finds the boys back on form, delivering a pummelling assault of genres and styles, weaving in their tapestry of influences while alternately spraying over it with tight pop hooks and acrobatic bars. This is the BROCKHAMPTON you’ve been looking for.
Chance the Rapper – “Work Out”
Chance the Rapper had music journalists scrambling this week with an interview saying he’d drop an album this week, and then Chance himself tweeting later that day that while there’s no album, he’s been in the studio. Enter “Work Out” and three other tracks that he surprise released. As one does. We’re going with “Work Out” for its bouncy, carefree production that calls on footwork and children’s cartoon theme music and Lil Chano’s lyrics about how far he’s come, even if he occasionally misses his old life.
Ciara – “Level Up”
Do we want this yummy? This yummy all in our tummy? You bet your ass we do. Ciara’s loooong overdue return is the exact level of ‘lit’ we are needing ahead of this summer weekend. Backed by an energetic house beat and a thrilling raver-esque visual to match, this is the sort of turn-up anthem that will lead you to all manner of questionable decisions if you’re not careful.
Dirty Projectors – “I Feel Energy” ft. Amber Mark
After dropping the most mean-spirited break-up album in recent memory with their self-titled reinvention last year, Dirty Projectors have blessedly rebounded. Their new record Lamp Lit Prose is a buoyant return to form, featuring welcome appearances from friends like Syd, Rostam, and Amber Mark on the album’s best cut, “I Feel Energy.” The audio-equivalent of running out of the house and throwing your arms toward the sun, it’s an anthem that begs to be shouted out loud with joy, and already ranks among the band’s best.
The Internet – “Beat Goes On”
Picking a favorite song on the new album by The Internet is what I imagine picking a favorite child feels like. The band have truly outdone themselves with Hive Mind, and “Beat Goes On” is but one of its many high points. The first part is a funk-inflected jam that has Steve Lacy and Matt Martian singing about their woes being away from their lovers while on the road. Halfway through, it descends into silence, re-emerging with an ethereal, drum-driven excursion with an entirely new riff. A brilliant rumination on the ebb and flow of life, and a reminder that no matter what goes down, the beat goes on (and on and on).
Joji & BlocBoy JB – “Peach Jam”
88rising’s first crew album Head in the Clouds just dropped, and it’s chock full of summer-ready jams. One of the breeziest is without a doubt “Peach Jam,” which sees Joji teaming up with BlocBoy JB. Anchored by sun-drenched guitar riffs and a beat that’s set at the speed of an afternoon poolside hang, we’re going to be jamming out to this one for the rest of the season and beyond.
Ross from Friends – “Pale Blue Dot”
Ross From Friends’ latest music video is incredible not only for its first-hand depiction of rave culture in the U.K. circa 1990 (an iconic moment in time), but also for the fact that it documents his parents meeting for the first time and falling in love. Ross’ production is a fitting soundtrack to this visual narrative full of hopeful naivety, driven by slightly spastic percussion that coalesces into a quietly jacking groove with the help of nostalgia-inducing synth lines. Keep your eyes peeled for his debut album Family Portrait coming out on Brainfeeder next Friday, July 27.
Ufo361 – “VVS” ft. Quavo
German rapper Ufo361 got a mega cosign from none other than Quavo of Migos with a feature on his latest track “VVS.” The first but hopefully not the last time Quavo shouts out Berlin, the track is as much of a kaleidoscopic journey as its accompanying visuals, with Ufo361’s on-point autotune and melancholic production.
Valee – “Loading”
Sometimes, the mark of a truly great track is when an artist knows to give less, not more. And in the Lucille Bluth-school of getting off on withholding something, Valee has passed with the highest marks available on new track “Loading.” In just over a minute and a half, he crafts a number that amiably lurches forward with its thunderous beat, even as the Chicago MC pulls hard in the other direction, offering half-mumbled, half-whispered verses that draw the ear away from the more booty-shaking proceedings below.
In case you missed it, check out last week’s best tracks right here.