EEHHHH... Y: Golden American ponyboy The Weeknd has a new video to set the stage for his forthcoming million Grammys, and it’s aight. “In the Night” stars his real life girlfriend, Jennifer Lawrence lookalike Bella Hadid, in a role as a sort of assassin-in-the-club while he sings a 2 a.m. sex fable about her power, complete with a goddamn rainstorm. More and more, I think Abel Tesfaye is a government experiment from 1986, and the thing that I hate most is that he’d probably be super stoked about that. At least the video quality has the caliber of New York art students giving cable access a whirl, which makes up for the song, definitely one of the worst on his album. All that said, I’m pretty glad he’s winning to the degree that he is.
HUH?: The video for Maddie & Tae’s finger-wagging ode to city boys to chill out is all kinds of confusing; for one, why do they think city boys in 2015 dress like James Spader in Pretty in Pink? But maybe they think New Hampshire is “the city,” I don’t know. They hate him so much that their disdain has transformed into abject cheesiness, the kind that only semi-works in low-budget country and/or reggae videos, but the song’s cute at least.
Y: Classifying your own music as “new folklore” might sound lofty, but in fact Wenceslada’s new album Niebla fits right into a mindset that’s defined the output of fellow Argentinian musicians for several years now, including that of some of her collaborators like Chancha via Circuito. The concept includes preserving the traditional music of the countryside and reinterpreting classic styles using new technologies, though with Niebla the emphasis is mostly on the “new”—experimental singing styles with electronic elements that haunt all the same. Still, if you’re looking for more on the folklórica end of things, fast-forward to “Zorzal” or her remix of of Tremor’s “Caracol.” That song is almost seven years old and still gives me chills.
P: The young New York City rapper Wiki, from the local crew Ratking, is probably an acquired taste, but I’m mostly sold—on record his submerged and ragey ennui can feel like losing your head in quicksand, but live he projects a burning intensity that, at times, becomes so tightly wound it’s self-destructive. (I once witnessed him semi-accidentally smash a mic into his skull.) On “Cherry Tree,” from his new solo album, he flips a typically fantastic beat from producer Sporting Life and weaves his toast-y style through its condensed drum n bass gestures. And Micachu, the British singer/producer, mitigates Wiki’s gritty swagger with a loose, languid hook that I bet will sound incredible over headphones on the subway. Perhaps this track’s most millennial quality is that it’s meant to envelop that way.
Y: If you were like “who the fuck is that” when you saw Kehlani’s Grammy nomination, why not start with her newest, “Tore Up,” another one of the brand of weed-n-heartbreak jams she does so well, her raw selvage showing, evading her feelings with a little help. If we were dumped right now, this could be us.
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