Welcome to Singles Going Steady, the recurring monthly segment where I compile and review notable singles that have been released within the past month. Follow along via the youtube links below each track review or via the Spotify playlist below—whatever floats your boat. If you have any suggestions for tracks I should discuss next month, hit me up on Twitter @lucienobrien101. Now then, let’s get to it.
Sidenote: I only felt like talking about good songs this month. All these songs are good as hell. Enjoy.
Frank Ocean- “Moon River”
Although I’ve been disappointed by much of Frank Ocean’s recent output (Blonde=boring music for boring people), every once in awhile he’ll put out a kickass little one-off single that reminds me of his greatness. This is one of those singles! I love how there’s a ton of different vocal tracks each doing their own thing (all of which the mix juggles expertly). Anyway, I really don’t understand why we have like, five albums from Bob Dylan of Sinatra covers, but only one song from Frank, who’s a far superior fit for the position (sorry Bob). More where this came from please!
The Body- “Nothing Stirs”
This one’s a slow burner, but it pays off big. Reminds me of some Fragile-era NIN, edgeilicious over-the-top melodrama and all. Seriously, it’s quite interesting to see these guys veering into more melodic/emotionally vulnerable territory than usual, rather than wallowing in avant-industrial noise hell. If this is them selling out, I’m all for it.
Here’s the thing. An ungodly amount of rappers over the past few years have gotten famous off of copying old Three 6 Mafia songs. This is a known fact. It’s kind of lame, and I don’t really see the point of it. It’s the reason I usually steer clear of $uicideboy$ (“Why would I listen to this when I could be listening to essentially the same song but with a superior MC rapping over it? These guys don’t have shit on Gangsta Boo”). However! There’s something about this new track that hits the spot. On a structural level, it’s no different from the rest of their output (edgelord horrorcore triplet bars over downtempo, spooky trap production), but for some reason, it feels like they’re doing a better job of capturing that nasty Houston magic here than on the rest of what I’ve heard from them. I highly recommend this if you’re into that sort of thing.
I was hoping that SOPHIE had some more of that brütal industrial madness up her sleeve! Love it. The bridge is a little screwy (thought her singing voice had a lot more power/depth on “It’s Okay To Cry”), but it doesn’t last that long and therefore isn’t a huge issue. And that hot mess of an ending! Oh boy. Keep it extra SOPHIE.
Ski Mask The Slump God- “DoIHaveTheSause?”
Super glad Ski Mask put out a little something to tide us over while he gets the sample clearances for his new tape straightened out. Definitely bumps in the whip. It’s also him at his silliest, which, in my opinion, is him at his best.
Prof- “Andre the Giant”
Being a Prof fan is kinda like watching your best friend’s weird dad live out his wildest dreams. It’s been quite the ride over the years, and with tracks of “Andre the Giant”’s caliber it doesn’t seem anywhere close to stopping. Probably one of Prof’s best singles to date. Bump this till the end of days. Also, fun fact: you are legally obligated to yell “YAAAA” every time you hear it in the chorus.
Beach House- “Lemon Glow”
The question of “what if we took shoegaze instrumentation and used it to make spacey, low-key pop music” has already been answered countless times by countless bands, Beach House being one of them. However, as far as I’m concerned, they’re welcome to take another crack at it as many times as they like as long as they keep putting out songs as well-written and memorable as this. Kind of sounds akin to what I’d imagine 2018 Slowdive to be like. Oh wait that’s right… we already have 2018 Slowdive, and they’re awful. Dang!
Joey Bada$$ ft. Dessy Hinds- “King to a God”
If I went back in time and told 2016 me that Joey Bada$$ DIDN’T peak back in 2011 and was about to kick off the hottest streak of his entire career, I definitely wouldn’t have believed myself. But here we are in 2018, and I’ll be damned if Joey isn’t at the height of his powers. Why? For one thing, he’s become a lyrical jack-of-all-trades, a rare gift in today’s world of one-track rappers. One minute he’s reaching into the depths of his own mind, grasping for a way to make sense of the unbalanced, cruel world around him. The next he’s a monster, spitting venom on the track like it’s nothing. On “King To A God”, he’s definitely leaning toward the latter mode, to glorious effect. Dude sounds mean as hell on here. Also, unlike Drake, he actually knows how to use the phrase “diplomatic immunity” correctly.
SINGLE OF THE MONTH:
Janelle Monae- “Make Me Feel”
I miss Prince. I miss Prince a lot. I know this song would make him like, really happy, and that makes me really happy. Apparently, he helped Janelle make this new album, so maybe he even wrote this himself! I wouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, she’s definitely on his wavelength, and I appreciate the hell out of that, because I don’t think that many people are, in an authentic sense at least. Anyway, she’s a true purple disciple if I ever saw one, and this proves it—more than any other track she’s ever put out. Glad to see someone keeping his spirit alive.