Another week, another six new songs selected for you and appended to the ol’ running playlist below. Need I say more? I need not!
Poliça – “Steady”
A moving mix-and-match. Channy Leaneagh murmurs a lonesome acoustic ballad, with a chorus of “Back in the day, mama held me steady” lending an old-school R&B feel. A pedal steel peeps in, then an electronic burble manifests itself, as though an Americana angel is perched on one shoulder and a synthpop devil on the other (or vice versa), each competing for Leaneagh’s soul.
U.S. Girls – “Overtime”
Meghan Remy continues to lacquer a sweetened sheen over her tart introspection, reworking a track from her earlier, less accessible days, though the disconcerting stumble-funk beat is experimental in its own way, as is (I suppose) enlisting a sax coda from the E Street Band’s Jake Clemons.
Ashley McBryde – “Martha Divine”
The queen of the pithy quatrain returns with “I've got this feeling/And I got this shovel/Between me and you and it/You're in a little trouble,” threatening to off the gal who’s messing with her mom’s man, a.k.a. her daddy. Not as perfect as “One Night Standards” (what is?) but it rocks harder than a lot of lyric-first Americana out there.
Selena Gomez – “Rare”
Maybe it’s just projection (or the crit-nip that was “Bad Liar”) but I still suspect that Gomez has slightly more eccentric tastes than her hits let on. The title track from her new album doesn’t quite groove into unexpected territory, but its self-assertion sounds casual and lived in, rather than bombastic or oversexed. And the groove stands on its own.
Brandy Clark – “Who You Thought I Was”
Just one of the top country music songwriters pulling off one of those “if it’s so simple why didn’t you think of it?” country music conceits with her usual understated precision.
Caroline Rose – “Feel the Way I Want”
This joyful throwback pop-funk trifle is so airy you might think you’re (or she’s) too good for it, But you/she are/is not. Getting out of your own way is an undervalued facet of songwriting. Sometimes songs are simple. Sometimes feelings are direct.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2020 playlist.