You like songs. I like songs. Let’s listen to some together. It’ll be our little thing.
Dixie Chicks – “Gaslighter”
I love how the lyrics zero in on their worthless male target with spirited righteousness, of course. But even more I love the sound: the production gloss, the thumpy drums, the amassed harmonies, the piano layered underneath, all of which suggests that Jack Antonoff gets these traditionalists-gone-pop better than Rick Rubin did last time around, way back when. Burn it all down, ladies.
RMR – “Rascal”
The fuck’s going on here? A ski-masked black singer reworks a medley of Rascal Flatts hits, reclaiming both drawl and simpy balladry for African-American culture, while his crew waves guns at the camera. I’m not yet convinced it works totally without the video, but here’s a sentiment country music could use more of: “Fuck them boys in blue. Fuck ’em all.”
Shabazz Palaces feat. Purple Tape Nate – “Fast Learner”
The brilliantly abstract Seattle rap duo returns, with a deep bass intro that spaces out into a more expansive track as Nate’s Auto-Tune support vocals waft astrally, and a simple backbone of a hook threading it all together.
Azealia Banks feat. Onyx – "Salchichón"
The femme terrible once more displays her versatile ability to put a vocal stamp on any rhythm that comes her way by getting bilingually filthy over Onyx’s dembow beat. A salchichón is a sausage but I don’t think she’s talking about foodstuffs here, you know?
Jordana – “Crunch”
Is it hacky to say “the riffs and beat live up to the song title”? Is it even hackier to ask? Whatever. I just read a review that began “Wichita-based singer-songwriter Jordana crafts bedroom pop that sticks to your ribs” and at least I tried harder than that. Sounds like a dreamier and freakier Luscious Jackson, which may not mean anything to you and might scare you off if it does. But I’m in.
J Balvin – “Rojo”
A perfectly balanced midtempo ballad, with a reggaeton beat that slightly roughs up the smooth vocal and ghostly yet sensual synths echoing wordless secrets from the beyond.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2020 playlist.