Mic-Check 🎵 Weekly Music Newsletter (10.25.21)
The Weeknd & Swedish House Mafia team up. New Animal Collective. Elton John, Young Thug & Nicki Minaj collab. New Jack White. Xtina returns!
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The artist formally known as Kanye West is now just Ye.
Click here for a Spotify playlist with the songs mentioned in this story.
BIGGEST Songs of the Week 📈
Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello had a meteoric rise to fame as the supergroup Swedish House Mafia during the EDM boom of the early 2010s, however, after just a few years together, the trio chose to disband in favor of their solo projects. After a nearly decade-long hiatus, the group returned this summer with the singles It Gets Better and Lifetime. In April, SHM hired The Weeknd’s manager Sal Slaiby, but a collaboration between the two artists never seemed likely, until a month ago when the trio closed their MTV VMA set with a seven second snippet of The Weeknd’s vocals. The teased track has finally been released, and it’s the best either fan base could’ve hoped for — blending together SHM’s percussive synths with The Weeknd’s haunting vocals.
1. Swedish House Mafia, The Weeknd, Moth To A Flame (Synthpop) 👍👍
2. DJ Snake, Ozuna, Megan Thee Stallion, LISA, SG (Reggaeton) 🗑️
3. Lil Tjay, Fivio Foregin, Kay Flock, Not In The Mood (Drill) 👍👍
4. Christina Aguilera, Becky G, Nicki Nicole, Nathy Peluso, Pa Mis Muchachas (Latin Pop) 😐
5. Quavo, Yung Miami, Strub Tha Ground (Trap) 🗑️
6. Big Sean, Hit-Boy, What A Life (Hip Hop) 👍👍
7. keshi, SOMEBODY (Alternative R&B) 👍
8. ABBA, Just A Notion (Europop) 👍
9. Elton John, Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, Always Love You (Piano Trap) 🗑️
10. A Boogie With Da Hoodie, Capella Grey, Bestie (Pop Rap) 😐
Honorable Mentions: Khalid Present (Contemporary R&B) 😐
- After debuting six months ago at the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight, West Coast rap legends Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40 and Too $hort dropped their first single Big Subwoofer under the moniker Mount Westmore.
- Jack White returned with the explosive guitar track Taking Me Back, his first solo track in nearly four years. He also shared a stripped back version of the song.
- Even though Slash is back to creating new music with Guns N’ Roses, he continues to work on his solo career. This week he released The River Is Rising with his backing band Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.
- Just in time for Halloween, infamous horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse dropped their new track Wretched. The controversial artists will be embarking on their farewell tour next year.
- Sia and Jamaican rapper Sean Paul reunited on the dancehall track Dynamite. The duo previously collaborated on the 2016 monster hit Cheap Trills, which reached №1 in over 25 countries.
- Shimmering R&B duo Majid Jordan, best known for their feature on Drake’s 2013 hit Hold On, We’re Going Home, released their latest LP Wildest Dreams, which features who else but Drake on Stars Align.
- A couple days before the release of their 15th studio album FUTURE PAST, English new wavers Duran Duran dropped the single GIVE IT ALL UP alongside Swedish electropop singer Tove Lo.
- Coldplay and K-Pop sensation BTS’s recent collaboration My Universe got the remix treatment from BTS’s own rapper and producer SUGA.
- WATCH: As part of BBC Radio 1’s Out Out! event, rising European stars, including Sam Fender, Griff, Sigrid, AJ Tracey and Dermot Kennedy joined forces to cover the Foo Fighter’s Times Like These.
- WATCH: Big Sean spit a nearly nine minute freestyle over Drake and Kanye West beats on Power 106 Los Angeles.
BEST Songs of the Week 🔥
Psychedelic heroes Animal Collective shared Prester John, the lead single from their upcoming album Time Skiffs, out next February. Named after the mythical medieval figure of the same name, Prester John took shape by melding together two separate tracks written by band members Panda Bear and Avey Tare. Clocking in at nearly seven minutes long, the single starts with intimate synths before building into a rich acid soundscape backed by a hypnotic melody and lush harmonies, eventually turning ambient towards the end. The track signals a more mature sound for the collective, straying away from the maximalist production that dominated their music for the last decade while reverting to the live instrumentations and laid-back pace of their earlier work. Instead of filling every inch of space with electronic experimentation, Animal Collective returns to form by leaving space to breathe.
1. Animal Collective, Prester John (Neo Psychedelia) 👍👍👍👍
2. Parannoul, Colors (Shoegaze) 👍👍👍👍
3. Richard Dawson, Circle, Methuselah (Art Rock) 👍👍👍👍
4. Nation of Language, The Grey Commute (Synthpop) 👍👍👍
5. Strange Ranger, It’s You (Noise Pop) 👍👍👍
6. Obongjayar, Message in a Hammer (Afrobeats) 👍👍👍
7. Maxo Kream, CRIPSTIAN (Southern Hip Hop) 👍👍👍
8. HEALTH, Poppy, DEAD FLOWERS (Ethereal Wave) 👍👍
9. Carson McHone, Hawks Don’t Share (Americana) 👍👍
10. Prince Daddy & The Hyena, Curly Q (Midwest Emo) 👍👍
Honorable Mention: Alex Lahey, Spike The Punch (Power Pop) 👍👍
Albums Spotlight 💿
A split record of earth-shattering proportions, Downfall of the Neon Youth sees three of emo’s brightest non-American stars team up on a trilingual masterpiece. Parannoul, Asian Glow and sonhos tomam conta, some of the most exciting acts of 2021, each deliver a fresh take on the lo-fi shoegaze genre. The artists are able to assimilate their sounds seamlessly while still maintaining a sense of uniqueness. Parannoul shines during the album’s stadium-filling, post-rock moments while fellow Seoul resident Asian Glow brings noise pop to the traditional emo sound. São Paulo artist sonhos tomam conta adds chaos alongside screeching metal vocals. The project is dense and soul-crushing, but the brutal force is met with serenity as the album cycles between blackgaze and ballads. This ambitious record is a collaboration of like-minds, transcending both culture and language.
Parannoul, Asian Glow, sonhos tomam conta, Downfall of the Neon Youth (Shoegaze) 👍👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Colors, Insomnia, one May Be Harming, vento camiinha comigo, Love Migraine
JPEGMAFIA, LP! (Experimental Hip Hop) 👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: HAZARD DUTY PAY!, TIRED NERVOUS & BROKEN, REBOUND!, WHAT KIND OF RAPPIN’ IS THIS?, DIKEMBE!
Lana Del Rey, Blue Bannisters (Art Pop) 👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Arcadia, Blue Banisters, Dealer, Thunder, Black Bathing Suit
Circuit des Yeux, -io (Neoclassical Darkwave) 👍👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Vanishing, Sculpting the Exodus, Dogma, Walking Toward Winter, Argument
Grouper, Shade (Ambient) 👍👍
- Favorite Tracks: Unclean mind, Followed the ocean, Pale Interior, The way her hair falls, Kelso (Blue sky)
Other Notable Projects: Deerhoof Actually You Can, Dream Theater A View From The Top Of The World, Duran Duran FUTURE PAST, Elton John The Lockdown Sessions, Every Time I Die Radical, Maxo Kream WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, My Morning Jacket My Morning Jacket, Parquet Courts Sympathy for Life, Ross from Friends Tread, RÜFÜS DU SOL Surrender, Wale Folarin II
WORST Song of the Week 🗑️
Craig David, MNEK, Who You Are (Dance Pop)
Next week: Ed Sheeran releases =, the 4th album from his symbol series.
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