Mic-Check 🎵 Weekly Music Newsletter (11.22.21)

Adele releases 30. Kanye West & André 3000 duet. 100 gecs returns. New Earl Sweatshirt. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe collab album.

The rapper Young Dolph was shot and killed in Memphis at the age of 36.

Disney+ will release the new Beatles docuseries Get Back Thanksgiving day.

Click here for a Spotify playlist with the songs mentioned in this story.

BIGGEST Songs of the Week 📈

Adele’s sparse releases make it easy to forget that she’s the world’s biggest pop star. Her 2011 album 21 is the best selling record of the last 25 years, and it’s not particularly close. A year after its release, one in six U.K. households owned a copy of the record. When Adele surprise dropped Easy On Me last month, the single went straight to №1 in 25 countries and received more first-week plays on U.S. radio than any other song in history. This past weekend, she single-handedly made Spotify remove the shuffle button.

When Easy On Me came out, we wrote, “though the song doesn’t offer listeners anything new, you can’t fault [Adele] for knowing what she does best.” It turns out, the song was a red herring because 30, her latest studio album, is anything but classic Adele balladry. 30 is the singer’s most ambitious project to date, melding genres throughout the album — reggae on Cry Your Heart Out, jazz on Love Is A Game, R&B on Woman Like Me, and rock on Can I Get It — but on To Be Loved, the album’s penultimate track, Adele returns to form.

With just a piano to guide her, Adele croons for seven minutes over a devastating ballad on To Be Loved. Reserved at the start, Adele is eventually set loose, showcasing her vocal acrobatics as she erupts with indomitable power. Arguably the best performance Adele’s ever recorded, Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield describes her vocals as, “a tank division that can tap dance.”

1. Adele, To Be Loved (Pop Soul) 👍👍👍

2. Freddie Gibbs, Jadakiss, Black Illuminati (Gangsta Rap) 👍👍

3. Earl Sweatshirt, 2010 (Abstract Hip Hop) 👍👍👍

4. Christina Aguilera, Somos Nada (Latin Piano Ballad) 😐

5. French Montana, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Handstand (Trap) 😐

6. Sub Urban, AURORA, PARAMOUR (Electropop) 😐

7. NLE Choppa, I.Y.B. (Trap) 😐

8. YEИDRY, J. Balvin, Instinto (Reggaeton) 😐

9. Cardi B, Bet It (Trap) 😐

10. Tyga, Lift Me Up (Bounce) 😐

Honorable Mention: Cole Swindell, Lainey Wilson, Never Say Never (Country Pop) 🗑️

Noteworthy 📰

  • 100 gecs, the duo which helped solidify hyperpop, shared mememe, the first offering from their highly anticipated sophomore album 10000 gecs.
  • Fayetteville rapper Morray tapped Griselda superstar Benny the Butcher for his ferocious new single Never Fail.
  • Legendary R&B singer Maxwell, best known for his song Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder), dropped OFF, his first single in over three years.
  • Rico Nasty teamed up with fellow rapper Flo Milli on the track Money, which samples 2 Live Crew’s 1986 single We Want Some Pu**y.
  • Famed Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder shared The Haves, his first new non-soundtrack music since 2011.
  • Jennifer Lopez shared the piano ballad On My Way from her upcoming rom-com Marry Me starring Maluma and Owen Wilson.
  • Soul singer Leon Bridges released a deluxe version of his record Gold-Diggers Sound featuring a collaboration with Jazmine Sullivan titled Summer Rain.
  • WILLOW and Kid Cudi reunited for a remix of WILLOW and Travis Barker’s single t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l. The duo previously collaborated on Cudi’s 2016 track Rose Golden.
  • Kacey Musgraves shared a cover of Coldplay’s 2005 hit Fix You.
  • WATCH: Oasis shared unseen footage of their Wonderwall performance at Knebworth 1996, often considered the greatest concert in U.K. history.

BEST Songs of the Week 🔥

Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, shared a deluxe edition of his latest album Donda, featuring five new songs, including the standout track Life Of The Party with Outkast legend André 3000. The track originally premiered at a Donda listening party in July, but got left on the cutting room floor. The track resurfaced in September when Drake leaked it as part of his ongoing beef with Ye, a bold move considering the song was better than anything on CLB.

For Life Of The Party’s official release, Ye chose to replace his previous verses with lyrics better suited for Donda’s theme, family and grief. On the song, André yearns for his late mother, trying to recapture her spirit by using Ye’s own late mother Donda as a conduit.

“Hey Miss Donda, if you ran into my mama, please tell her I said, ‘Say something / I’m starting to believe ain’t no such thing as heaven’s trumpets / No after-over, this is it, done / If there’s a heaven, you would think they’d let you speak to your son.”

One of the greatest song’s in Ye’s distinguished discography and one of the most poetic performances delivered by legendary wordsmith André 3000, the emotional track ends with archived audio of another ghost, DMX, as he comforts one of his young daughters.

1. Kanye West, André 3000, Life Of The Party (Hip Hop) 👍👍👍👍

2. Horsegirl, Billy (Indie Rock) 👍👍👍

3. Earl Sweatshirt, 2010 (Abstract Hip Hop) 👍👍👍

4. Big Thief, Time Escaping (Neo Psychedelia) 👍👍👍

5. Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Crimson Stone (Gothic Metal) 👍👍👍

6. Adele, To Be Loved (Pop Soul) 👍👍👍

7. Arca, Planningtorock, Queer (Wave) 👍👍

8. Alex Cameron, Sara Jo (Heartland Rock) 👍👍

9. Hazel English, Nine Stories (Dream Pop) 👍👍

10. Cate Le Bon, Moderation (Psychedelic Pop) 👍👍

Honorable Mention: Your Old Droog, Lil Ugly Mane, billy woods, Meteor Man (Boom Bap) 👍👍

Albums Spotlight 💿

Salem, Massachusetts metalcore trailblazers Converge just celebrated the 20th anniversary of their landmark album Jane Doe, one of the heaviest albums ever released. The band has often been credited with expanding the hardcore scene’s boundaries with their willingness to experiment, however, no one could’ve predicted the turn Converge took on their latest album Bloodmoon: 1.

On Bloodmoon: 1, Converge team up with doom-folk songstrees Chelsea Wolfe, her writing partner Ben Chishom, and Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsy for a seven-piece supergroup. On the album, Converge dial back their characteristic frenzied sound in order to make room for Chelsea’s haunting vocals, creating an ominous, gothic atmosphere which fuses discord and beauty, metal and balladry. Brilliantly cohesive, Bloodmoon: 1 excels in ways that are only possible through the combination of apples and oranges.

Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Bloodmoon: 1 (Gothic Metal) 👍👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Blood Moon, Crimson Stone, Coil, Flower Moon

Adele, 30 (Pop Soul) 👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: To Be Loved, Love Is A Game, Strangers By Nature, My Little Love

Elbow, Flying Dream 1 (Art Pop) 👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Flying Dream 1, Six Words, Come On Blue, The Seldom Seen Kid

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raise The Roof (Americana) 👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Can’t Let Go, Somebody Was Watching Over Me, It Don’t Bother Me, You Led Me To The Wrong

Clams Casino, Winter Flower (Instrumental Cloud Hip Hop) 👍👍

  • Favorite Tracks: Water Theme 2, Water Theme, Misty, Pine

Other Notable Projects: black midi Live-Cade [EP], Blankenberge Everything, French Montana They Got Amnesia, Kaytranada Intimidated [EP], Khemmis Deceiver, Klein Harmattan, Lancey Foux LIVE.EVIL, Ovlov Buds, Sting The Bridge, Weki Meki I AM ME. [EP]

WORST Song of the Week 🗑️

Kid Rock, Monster Truck, Don’t Tell Me How To Live (Rap Rock)

Next week: David Bowie’s 2001 shelved album Toy is officially released.

Thank you for reading this far and for spending part of your day with us. If you want to receive this article weekly, click here.

Keeping you up-to-date on the latest music with our weekly newsletter.