Y: Baltimore club niña TT the Artist’s ‘90s-inspired video for “Fly Girl” alludes to Technotronic’s most iconic groove commands and Saved by the Bell graphic direction, but the various dance styles split the difference between throwback and super-current. “If you look good, you pay your bills, and you make your own money,” declares TT, “put your hands up... this is the flygirl movement.” Welcome to your new going-out anthem.
Y?: Your main chick Enya’s first video since you frequented a crystal healing store called Prism has dropped, and “Echoes in Rain” is all that you hoped it would be: pop bangers disguised as sacred Celtic string-section hymns, with Enya reclaiming her throne as the holy godmother of chillwave. I’ll have what she’s having, amirite.
N: The Chainsmokers’ dickish 2013 hit “Selfie”—which I seemed only to ever hear at my gym—trafficked in Los Angeles trend clichés and the kind of frat-boy hee-haw that plays well on every city’s Power 105 and any given number of 4 p.m. sets at the EDM festival. “Until You Were Gone” is a fine and lovely song in their new repertoire of penance, “Roses” is all right too, but the video’s wolf-eyed and juvenile drooling over a SoulCycle instructor fosters the kind of male-centric comedic banality that was annoying in 1995, much less 2015.
Y: This live rendition of “Softcore,” from Tamaryn’s addictive darkwave album Cranekiss, literally reminded me to pull out my winklepickers from the back of my shoe closet, because it is fall and my entire wardrobe consists of black. But it’s not goth symbolism with Tamaryn, per se; it’s just that she knows the value of a rich bassline, and how it interacts with the way her vocal tone reads “serious business.” Drum machines are underrated.
Y????: K-pop crown princess and fashion icon CL is working hard to break into the English-language pop market Stateside, mostly with trappy rap numbers like the virulently hooky “Doctor Pepper” and, here, “Hello, Bitches.” While the choreography goes harder than perhaps any video this year—courtesy in part the ReQuest Dance Crew (thanks, Miss Info)—it’s dismaying to hear someone with such starpower resort to rap trope and cliché, even while deploying a razor-edge delivery in both English and Korean. Although it gets more promising by the second verse, and at least she’s no doubt truthful in her depiction of her life of private jets and diamonds from Dubai, I’m hoping the characterization of this song as a “street single” means her solo debut will be a little weirder and more adventurous.
Y: Dominican rapper Heidy Brown narrates this track from the perspective of a woman suffering domestic violence at the hands of her deadbeat man, giving voice to mujeres who often don’t feel they have one; it’s more than an artistic feat that she does it so vividly, a protest that feels personal. Most movingly is the outro, a promise that it can get better. Heartening with the kind of slow groove it deserves.
Y: Upon the release of Adele’s 25 I had a real come-to-Jesus wherein I spent several days believing I just don’t like ballads or most music under 122 BPMs, but Moxie Raia has remedied for that for me (and helped me realize that my problem is, I just don’t like about 92 percent of 25). “How to Feel” is intriguing because Raia centers herself and not some dumb toe-faced fuckboy who dumped her; though there’s a dude and a breakup, “he” feels symbolic of the first-person existential crisis she’s having. Who can’t relate to the sentiment that “I don’t know how to feel,” except she can sang it where most of us can’t, and in a way she’s also spitting, singing angel tears through a sneer. Scooter Braun just scooped her so you can bet your lunch she’ll be super-famous after long, but even beyond the stroke of music industry luck she probably would have been anyway, ‘cause this is just great songwriting.
EH: Not sure why people are still working with Dr. Luke when Skrillex exists, not to mention the horrific way he’s alleged to have treated Kesha, but here we are: I want Ciara to win but melodically this is a paltry imitation of ballads she’s done before, and the synths are flaccid; she should consider collaborating with Rustie in the future.
THROWBACK: Seattle rock band 7 Year Bitch is dropping a “new” album because it’s just that time in the 20-year cycle: if you were at their 1996 show at Moe’s in Seattle (though there were no doubt several), you might hear yourself screaming on Live at Moe, out January 15. “The Scratch” was always their best song; “I WANT IT, GIVE IT TO ME! I LOVE IT” is wisdom for the ages.
WORKOUT PLAYLIST: The latest NTS Radio broadcast from British producer/DJ Ikonika is well paced for varying your run or elliptical or twerking on the damn couch, showing her signature affinity for dark, sharp, modern beats with grime as a foundational value. Feel the burn at about 1:32 when she throws in Bobby Shmurda and recontextualizes “Hot” as a stone cold Eski instrumental.
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