Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Singles of the Week: Big Sean, Lady Gaga, Julia Holter, Earl Sweatshirt

Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica - "Control (HOF)"
Big Sean always seems to be the weakest rapper on any track he features on, so bringing out arguably the two most lyrically profound rappers in the 2013 rap game for a bonus track promoting his new album Hall Of Fame (left off the tracklist due to "sample clearance issues") either suggests a glutton for punishment or a sly move to draw in a wider audience. To Sean's credit, he sounds a lot more determined on "Control (HOF)" than usual, and a solid No I.D. beat cements this feeling. But the star of the piece is Kendrick, who once again proves to be untouchable, even going as far as to call out the current crop of popular MCs: "I got love for you all, but I’m tryna murder you ni**as/ Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you ni**as". When the reclusive Jay Electronica feels like an afterthought to the piece, you know that a new standard of hip hop is being alluded to.
Listen to the track at inflexwetrust.com

Lady Gaga - "Applause"
Even if ARTPOP is a dreadful name for an album, it doesn't mean that Lady Gaga's new album doesn't have the potential to be another giant leap in the superstar's career. "Applause" is strides away from the disappointing Born This Way, with a scintillating synth track to rival Gaga's effervescent enthusiasm. It's the type of music you could call transcendental, that circumvents the analytic parts of the brain and heads straight for the gut. Which is not only what you'd expect from pop of this calibre but a great way of telling you to just listen to it.

Julia Holter - "Maxim's I"
Every single to come from Julia Holter's new Loud City Song album has offered something new. "World" was almost a spoken word piece, backed up with strings and harpsichord only at the most intense parts of the narrative. "In The Green Wild" was more rounded and accessible, but still the work of a musician both serene and eccentric. "Maxim's I" almost occupies a middle space between these two, but is still entirely different. It's surprisingly dense, with a four chord reverbed-organ motif blossoming like a flower and recoiling back again over a six minute time period.
You can stream Loud City Song ahead of its release on Domino Records next week via NPR First Listen.

Earl Sweatshirt - "Burgundy" feat. (Vince Staples)
Also released next week is Earl Sweatshirt's major label debut Doris. The singles to come off it so far have all suggested that the album will live up to the Earl mixtape from many years ago, none more so than the Vince Staples-stealing "Hive". Staples plays a minor role in the Pharrell-produced "Burgundy"; its triumphant attitude serves the purpose of letting you know that this album is going to be worth the wait, or even to get excited for.

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