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Willie and Springsteen and Mannequin Pussy: These are a few of our favorite songs

Well they blew up the mannequin pussy in Philly last night.

Well they blew up the mannequin pussy in Philly last night. YouTube/publicity photo

You won’t find some of the week’s most ballyhooed tracks in our Monday tune roundup—Ms. Taylor’s misfire we’ve dispatched already, and I’d personally rather hear FKA Twigs let it all out in one good cry instead of snuffling through “Cellophane.” Now on to the good stuff!

Better Oblivion Community Center – Little Trouble”

Jeez but don’t Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst bring out the best in each other. Their latest advertisement for the virtues of collaboration is a standalone single, a shuffle that staggers into the kind of gallop that makes lyrics like “Not every prodigy can age that well/Not every mannequin can stand so fuckin’ still” sound like offhand insights spilling out impromptu.

Mannequin Pussy “Drunk II”

And speaking of mannequins. There’s no shortage of songs about getting sloshed and crawling back into the wreckage of a defunct relationship, but with guitars stirring up a dramatic clamor too smart to topple into fancy grandeur, Marisa Dabice’s confessional expertly distills what it feels like to be trapped between the familiar misery of bad decisions and the strain of living up to your friends’ respect for you: “Everyone says to me/‘Missy, you’re so strong’/But maybe I don’t want to be.”

Willie Nelson “Ride Me Back Home”

Happy 86th birthday to the most universally beloved living American musician not named Stevie Wonder, who longs to get away from it all on the title track of his upcoming album, as the lonesome swell of Mickey Raphael’s campfire harmonica and Bobbie Nelson’s church basement piano urge him along. Willie will be touring sports arenas (including Target Center) this year to dispel any worries about his failing health—he’s gonna ride till he can’t no more.

Bruce Springsteen – “Hello Sunshine”

“Cinematic” is one of those silly rockcrit adjectives that say less than nothing, but damn if it doesn’t sound like Bruce is gunning for the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1973 here. He hasn’t sung this relaxed in the studio for years, the strings add open-aired intimacy rather than majestic swoop, and it's always nice to hear him resist his inclination toward sadness and solitude and accept a hard fact of life: Sometimes things are good. Plus his press shoot inspired my favorite headline of last week.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Read My Mind”

Melbourne’s torch carriers for the shimmering mystique of jangle ’n’ strum set their guitars on liquefy, so committed to their own coy allure that even chorus lyrics dare you to figure them out: “Would you read my mind?” Well I'd certainly give it a shot, fellas.

Flying Lotus feat. Little Dragon – Spontaneous”

As a preview of his upcoming 27-track album Flamagra, the futuristically jazzy L.A. producer/polymath teams with the Swedish electropop band to cultivate a garden of blossoming analog keyboards that sound, if not quite spontaneous, certainly unpredictable.

Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.