Mic-Check 🎵 Weekly Music Newsletter (10.11.21)
Tears for Fears reunite. Mitski returns. New Justin Bieber. Jesy Nelson debuts with Nicki Minaj. Magdalena Bay AOTY?
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Kanye West finally has a diamond-certified single, Stronger.
Click here for a Spotify playlist with the songs mentioned in this story.
BIGGEST Songs of the Week 📈
Less than a year after leaving British girl group Little Mix, Jesy Nelson has reintroduced herself on her debut single Boyz. The track samples P. Diddy’s 2001 hit Bad Boy For Life and features a nearly shot-for-shot remake of the music video. Nelson recruited previous collaborator Nicki Minaj (see Woman Like Me) who flips Notorious B.I.G.’s Who Shot Ya? for her verse. Nelson has been vocal about trying to crack the US market as a solo artist, and this song demonstrates a clear pivot from pop to hip hop. Unfortunately, the music is derivative and the vocals are unpleasant. The song is on par with some of the worst tracks in Little Mix’s catalogue. If Nelson doesn’t adjust things, she’ll be quickly discarded, just like every other British artist who has tried to leave a girl/boy group, with the notable exceptions of Harry Styles and Robbie Williams.
1. Jesy Nelson, Nicki Minaj, Boyz (Contemporary R&B) 🗑️
2. Justin Bieber, Ghost (Pop) 😐
3. Tainy, Bad Bunny, Julieta Venegas, Lo Siento BB:/ (Reggaeton) 😐
4. Mitski, Working for the Knife (Art Rock) 👍👍👍
5. Kylie Minogue, Years & Years, A Second to Midnight (Disco) 👍👍
6. Cordae, Super (Southern Hip Hop) 👍
7. Dillon Francis, Aleyna Tilki, Real Love (Slap House) 😐
8. Koffee, West Indies (Dancehall) 👍
9. Joyner Lucas, Ty Dolla $ign, Late to the Party (Pop Rap) 😐
10. bbno$, Rebecca Black, Yoga (Hip House) 👍
- English new wave band Tears for Fears, known for 80s hits including Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World, released the title track for their upcoming project The Tipping Point, their first album since 2004.
- Fellow new wavers Soft Cell, best known for their 1981 hit Tainted Love, also made a return with Bruises On My Illusions, coinciding with the announcement of *Happiness Not Included, the duo’s first LP in 20 years.
- Italian rockers and Eurovision 2021 winners Måneskin released the tongue-in-cheek banger MAMMAMIA.
- Venezuelan electronic artist Arca teamed up with Sia on Born Yesterday.
- Kelis shared Midnight Snacks, the R&B singer’s first solo music since her 2014 album Food.
- Lil Wayne unexpectedly dropped Ya Dig, a previously unreleased track from the 2007 Tha Carter III sessions.
- Hip hop duo Atmosphere released their twelfth album WORD? and its closer Barcade, which includes verses from Aesop Rock and the late MF DOOM.
- As part of his upcoming MasterClass workshop, Nas shared the Hit-Boy produced track Big Nas.
- Tame Impala recruited Lil Yachty for a remix of 2020’s Breathe Deeper.
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made his rap debut alongside Joey Cool and King Iso on Tech N9ne’s new single Face Off.
- Tom Morello and Jack Black joined drumming prodigy Nandi Bushell and Tom’s son Roman on call-to-action song The Children Will Rise Up!
- WATCH: Concert footage of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band performing Sherry Darling from the upcoming Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts film.
BEST Songs of the Week 🔥
Shortly after the release of her 2018 album Be the Cowboy, Japanese-American singer Mitski disappeared completely — no new music, no performances, no social media. A global pandemic later, the 31-year old singer has finally returned with her new single Working for the Knife. In typical Mitski fashion, the song’s dark, soul-barring lyrics confront the 31-year old’s despair and self doubts associated with reaching her 30s. In a press release, Mitski noted that the song is “about going from being a kid with a dream, to a grown up with a job, and feeling that somewhere along the way you got left behind.”
1. Mitski, Working for the Knife (Art Rock) 👍👍👍
2. Magdalena Bay, Hysterical Us (Dance Pop) 👍👍👍
3. PinkPantheress, I must apologise (Drum & Bass) 👍👍👍
4. Sloppy Jane, Jesus and Your Living Room Floor (Art Pop) 👍👍👍
5. BADBADNOTGOOD, Love Proceeding (Jazz Fusion) 👍👍👍
6. Eartheater, Scripture (Wave) 👍👍👍
7. Dave Gahan, Soulsavers, Metal Heart (Cat Power) (Rock) 👍👍
8. Big Thief, Change (Indie Folk) 👍👍
9. Hatchie, Crush (Jennifer Paige) (Dream Pop) 👍👍
10. George Clanton, Negative Gemini, Fucking Up My Life (Chillwave) 👍👍
Albums Spotlight 💿
Three weeks ago, we predicted that Magdalena Bay would have the best debut of the year, but the synthpop duo may have just released THE best album of the year. The duo of Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin has been active since 2016 but is just now releasing its debut LP, Mercurial World. The group began as a Yes-inspired prog rock band in high school but transitioned to pop after an epiphany courtesy of Chairlift, Charli XCX and Grimes.
Pop at its finest, Mercurial World shows listeners what pop music can be, laying out a blueprint for all future synthpop records. The album takes the last 35 years of dance music and spits it out in a new form, transporting listeners to a universe which exists somewhere between 80’s Madonna and the futuristic sonics of SOPHIE. Though Mercurial World is rooted in pop, it blurs lines, venturing into 8-bit, shoegaze and funk. Layered on top of the album’s glistening synths and booming basses are sultry grooves with intoxicating melodies. The dreamy chillwaves and soft vocals manage not to be dichotomized by the record’s abrasive noise. The production is lush and meticulously crafted with seamless transitions, creating an album only properly heard in its entirety. The album closes with Tenenbaum calling out Lewin’s name and opens with her telling him to wake up, creating a listening experience on infinite loop. Mercurial World is all killer no filler — straight slappers with no slackers. It’s perfection from beginning to end (or should we say The End to The Beginning).
Magdalena Bay, Mercurial World (Synthpop) 👍👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: You Lose!, Secrets (Your Fire), Chaeri, Domino, Dreamcatching
BADBADNOTGOOD, Talk Memory (Jazz Fusion) 👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Signal from the Noise, Beside April, Love Proceeding, City of Mirrors, Talk Meaning
Sam Fender, Seventeen Going Under (Heartland Rock) 👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Seventeen Going Under, Spit Of You, Get You Down, Paradigms, Last To Make It Home
James Blake, Friends That Break Your Heart (Alternative R&B) 👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Life Is Not The Same, Say What You Will, If I’m Insecure, Famous Last Words, Lost Angel Nights
Don Toliver, Life Of A Don (Trap) 👍
Favorite Tracks: What You Need, OUTERSPACE, BOGUS, Drugs N Hella Melodies, XSCAPE
Other Notable Projects: aespa Savage (EP), The Alchemist This Thing Of Ours 2 (EP), bbno$ eat ya veggies, glaive & ericdoa then i’ll be happy, Madonna Madame X — Music from the Theater Xperience (Live), Oh Wonder 22 Break, Paris Texas Red Hand Akimbo (EP), Porches All Day Gentle Hold!, Trivium In the Court Of The Dragon, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die Illusory Walls
WORST Song of the Week 🗑️
Jeris Johnson, Trippie Redd, FRIDAY
Next week: Adele makes her long awaited return with Easy On Me.
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