Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, rapper Tkay Maidza reminds us of the fun times just around the corner.
The rise of streaming has meant many things for the world of music over the past decade: the slow pull away from the power of radio and CD sales, increased accessibility to new artists, and constant questions around payment structures in this model, for starters. It also means that music is an abundance of riches right now, with streaming tethering us together in new and exciting ways — like a thoroughly original Zimbabwe-born, Australia-raised artist dropping our Song of the Week.
Tkay Maidza’s latest release, “Syrup”, is every bit as sticky and dirty as the name implies. She sits in a low tone over a filthy beat that feels plucked out of the early 2000s and re-styled with present-day sensibilities. She just wants to be “thick, sweet, and sick” as she alternates between explaining how far she’s come and laying out all of the places she still wants to go.
Maidza generally presents an exciting and fearless type of artistry, bouncing from unexpected covers (like her recent drop of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”) to collaborations with up-and-comers like Atlanta’s Yung Baby Tate. This past year has been one of relative stagnancy and frequent bouts of isolation, but a bop from an artist halfway around the globe serves as a reminder that better days are coming. Overall, the song is fun, which is really what we all collectively need more than anything else. Slowly but surely, as we all start to engage with the world as we remember it, days bumping a song full of clever wordplay and an addictive beat (maybe in the sunshine, on a patio, with a drink and a few friends) feel within reach again.
“And that’s the tea, Arizona / I’ma ride it, Winona.”
BROCKHAMPTON – “The Light”
This is the point in BROCKHAMPTON’s trajectory where they take stock of where they’ve been and what that means for their future. That’s why Kevin Abstract has been insisting in recent interviews that BROCKHAMPTON is moving past the “boyband thing” that defined the group early on. But it’s not simply putting aside childish descriptors. The group’s lyrics are marked with poignant turns and heavy subject matter. On the acid rock-soaked “The Light”, Joba spends his verse unpacking his complicated feelings concerning his father’s suicide while Abstract wonders about the strain that fame and his sexuality has put on his relationships with friends and family (“I love the attention, I’m a bastard in public/ I still struggle with tellin’ my mom who I’m in love with”). –Robert Ham
Course – “Sixteen”
Chicago’s Course were just getting into their groove before the pandemic hit. They had fleshed out their lineup, performed their first (and only) headlining show, and had spent a week in Dripping Springs, Texas, with producer Dan Duszynski tracking the first sessions for their debut album in a series of airstream trailers. Like everyone else, they had to recalibrate, figuring out how to soldier on with home recordings and the departure of one of their bandmates.
But as vocalist Jess Robbins sings on the band’s new single, “Sixteen”, “Whatever’s waiting/ Whatever’s gone/ Don’t matter if I’m where you are.” While the song is about the mixed emotions that come with the newfound freedoms of adolescence, there’s a comparison to be made about the struggles and successes of the last year. “This life, this love/ Call it crazy, call it dull — but don’t call it luck,” sings Robbins over optimistic synths that dance with anticipation. “Sixteen” serves as the latest single off Course’s upcoming debut, A Late Hour — which yes, they did finish remotely. The album is out May 21st. –Ben Kaye
Doja Cat – “Kiss Me More” feat. SZA
After 2019’s Hot Pink took her to a new level of fame, Doja Cat is ready to keep climbing with the forthcoming release of her third full-length, Planet Her. She kicked off the album cycle this week with the collaborative lead single “Kiss Me More” featuring SZA. In the era of “WAP” and “34+35” remixes (the latter of which happens to feature Doja), a track called “Kiss Me More” might feel pretty tame. But while that’s sort of the point, as Doja Cat explained to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, bringing on SZA helped elevate the track to a different place. Over a bubbly summer beat from Rogét Chahayed and Yeti Beats, Doja Cat and SZA indeed turn in a sexy song about kissing. “I like to say ‘What if?’/ But if we can kiss and just cut the rubbish/ Then I might be on to somethin’,” raps Doja. “I ain’t givin’ you one in public/ I’m givin’ you hundreds, fuck it.” –Ben Kaye
Japanese Breakfast – “Posing in Bondage”
It’s a good week to be a Japanese Breakfast fan. The indie-pop artist has announced a US tour for this coming fall, and she’s shared a new song called “Posing in Bondage” from her upcoming album Jubilee. Following the record’s debut single, “Be Sweet” , a funky new-wave pop song, “Posing in Bondage” resides on the darker end of the Japanese Breakfast spectrum. A rougher, shorter version of the song originally appeared on the band’s contribution to 2017’s Polyvinyl 4-Track Singles Series, Vol. 3, but Michelle Zauner has completely revamped it for the album with pulsating bass, spacey vocal textures, and absolutely gorgeous synth swells. –Eli Enis
JayWood – “Some Days”
Under the name JayWood, the artist born Jeremy Haywood-Smith makes slinky indie-psych with notes of jazz and funk. Now, he’s announced his signing to the Brooklyn-based tastemakers Captured Tracks, and he’s shared the title track from his new EP, Some Days. The Winnipeg songwriter has been putting out music for over half-a-decade now, including a full-length album in 2019 called Time. According to a press release, Haywood-Smith wrote and self-recorded the songs on Some Days back in 2015, but now he’s gone back and completely redone them for his Captured Tracks debut. The project’s title track is a brisk indie-psych track with twirling guitar leads, a groove-driven rhythm section, and Haywood-Smith’s dreamy croon swooning above it all. It’s a song that fans of both Crumb and Toro y Moi can appreciate, and its mesmerizing music video is full of surprises. The five-song Some Days is due out April 23rd. –Eli Enis
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