I haven’t yet listened hard enough/gotten bored enough to render judgment on Mr. Dylan’s opus “We Didn’t Start the American Pie” (dereliction of duty, I know), but here’s what’s been keeping me happy instead.
Tierra Whack – “Stuck”
While you were learning to bake bread or letting Zoom install malware on your hard drive, at least someone realized the best use of her alone time was to moan stir-crazy new lyrics over Alanis’s “Ironic.” After all, King Lear has already been written.
Amber Mark – “Heart-Shaped Box”
Really though, we may have entered a golden age of bored musicians trying to amuse themselves. Here, an R&B singer/songwriter messes around and proves herself the best interpreter of Nirvana’s material since… Sinead O’Connor? The Bad Plus? This shovel?
No Age – “Feeler”
The L.A. duo follows up the trebly “Turned to String,” the first track from their upcoming Goons Be Gone, with something powered by a meatier riff and lyrics about dawdling around on the “astral plane.” Verdict: Should rid us of goons in no time.
Rico Nasty – “Lightning”
“Now I'm blowin' up, these bitches should call me detonator/Now they can't breathe, somebody get 'em a ventilator.” Now that’s nasty.
Sam Hunt – “Hard to Forget”
My brain glossed over this easygoing everyhunk’s latest single when it dropped last month—it’s been kind of a crazy few weeks, you know. But in the context of Hunt’s new album, Southside, the sample of Webb Price warbling over swingin’ 808s is just the kind of disrespectful tribute I could use right now, And if “I got a bottle of whisky but I got no proof” is bottom-shelf Music Row wordplay, “You’re playin’ hard to forget” is a hell of a chaser.
Toni Braxton – “Do It”
Sultry as her voice remains, Braxton isn’t singing about doing it, in the middle-school sense of the term, but about leaving a man. And quiet as it’s sometimes been kept, she’s coming off a great run in the past decade, with her Babyface collab Love, Marriage & Divorce and its follow-up, Sex & Cigarette, showing how a diva can enter middle age without maturing into classy abstractions.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2020 playlist.