Where else do meme pop and cowboy porn rub elbows with Beyoncé, Madonna, and Carly Rae? Here are the six best songs released last week.
CupcakKe – “Old Town Hoe”
“Walkin' with bad knees, like my name was Derrick Rose”? “I forgot to shave, so this pussy look like hay”? “Dick harder than back seats in a cop car”? “Tryna ride like Rosa Parks”? On top of that, the chorus to CupcakKe’s Lil Nas XXX parody—“I’m gonna take your dick/Put it in my hole/I’m gonna ride till I can’t no more”—could have been written by a 12-year-old. And I mean that as the highest compliment.
The Boyboy West Coast – “U Was at the Club (Bottoms Up)”
Live by the meme, die by the meme, I guess. The exceptionally online are insisting (fingers crossed they’re wrong) that this playful pickup jam, which started as a teaser and went viral via TikTok, burned out its public welcome before it was ever officially released as an actual song. But if reading that last sentence instantly aged you 100 years, feel free to groove along with me to a melodic flow that unfolds with the cool inevitability of both casual conversation and autogenerated text, no late pass required.
Beyoncé – “Before I Let Go”
Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance celebrated those aspects of African-American culture too inextricable from the lives of black folk for white people to have ever really appropriated, and that extends to her beyond-ideal choice to cover this Maze tune. Has any R&B group ever belonged so exclusively to its black fans as Frankie Beverly’s crew? And has any Maze song mattered more to those fans? What makes this a truly great pop moment is that white fans can hear how Bey succeeds even if we can never fully appreciate the extent of her triumph. She’s so very good at this.
Madonna feat. Maluma – “Medellín”
The ol’ gal is the last of a dying breed of pop imperialists, a throwback to the days when the likes of Bowie and the Stones scoured the underground and the airwaves for trends to reinterpret, popularize, and/or steal. There’s a reason that style of stardom has waned: Is anyone out there still waiting to get turned on to reggaeton by Madonna in 2019? But for all her silly “one-two-cha-cha-cha”s, the contrast between the float of her airily processed vocal and the bite of Maluma’s delivery reminds you why you can never fully count a pop imperialist out.
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Julien”
I’ve been only mildly enthused by the previous singles from the upcoming Dedicated, but this is CRJ on top of her game, expressing overwhelming desire in her small, human voice without ever getting lost in the e*mo*tion.
Insignificant Other – “I’m So Glad I Feel This Way About You”
“We’re not even friends anymore,” Sim Morales declares on this envoi to a former intimate as this Birmingham-based band distill a one-sided devotion and affection they wouldn’t jettison if they could into a rush of prickly guitar. This is just how indie rock is supposed to work.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.