Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. Jamieson is out this week, so I, Lizzie, will be taking over. Hope you like sex music!
The songs here are mostly good party songs, but there’s at least one pretty serious song and one weird long song that you probably only need to listen to once. Everything in moderation!
I hope you like me, I mean, these songs. Jamieson will be back next week.
Weezer, "Thank God For Girls":
"DO YOU LIKE WEEZER?" the boy in the bar yells. Do I like Weezer? Do I like Weezer? Weezer is not a band one likes, Weezer is the musical version of a family crest — something you can use to identify yourself (as a person trying hard to maintain a delicate balance of despair and nonchalance) or something you can hide behind ("You hear that new Weezer song?"). This new Weezer song sounds like a bad version of Weezer, the one where they take their classic dead-pan absurdity too far (cannolis are a recurring theme here) and Rivers Cuomo sings about jerking off to the Sears catalog ‘cause the woman he loves doesn’t love him back. Like your one cousin who refuses to eat anything but meat, Weezer can’t do anything but be Weezer, so at this point all we can do is offer them a napkin to clean up the mess.
Miguel, "U R on My Mind" feat. Blu:
This week, Miguel subtly dropped this little time capsule on SoundCloud. It was apparently recorded in 1999 when Miguel was just 14 years old. If this track is any indication, Miguel at 14 sounded just like Miguel at 30, and by that logic (no logic at all, really) Miguel will sound the same at 46 too. I’ll make a note to check back in then, but for now get used to the fact that Miguel as a barely pubescent teen still had a better voice than you ever will.
Kali Uchis, "Ridin’ Round" (Prod. by DJ Dahi):
"Ridin Round" was on Kali Uchis’ Por Vida EP earlier this year, but West Coast producer DJ Dahi just got his hands on it this week. He turned what was already a pretty great slow-burning pop song into a buoyant, high-voltage anthem that practically levitates with bass. There’s a top note in this remix that sounds like an organ, so the image that comes to mind is Kali Uchis and DJ Dahi riding around Miami in a convertible with a church instrument stuffed into the backseat. Somehow, it doesn’t seem strange at all.
You might recognize the producer Branchez from his screwball remixes of popular songs like Rihanna’s "Stay" and Rhye’s "Open," but this new song is 100 percent Branchez. It’s better than the remixes if you ask me, because it sounds like a Whack-A-Mole game that someone dropped in the fountain at the center of a Westfield mall. The shimmying track bounces over a classic juke template, begging you to either start dancing, or join a game of Dance Dance Revolution at the arcade.
French Montana x Fetty Wap, "Angel":
Who would’ve thought a song by New York rapper French Montana and New Jersey’s new Bruce Springsteen Fetty Wap would sound like a more seductive version of The Real McCoy’s "Another Night"? Not me, but now I’m wondering why no one’s thought of this before. "Angel" comes off the pair’s new mixtape, Coke Zoo, which is a pretty accurate description of how it sounds: jittery, chaotic, and always, always right.
Blood Orange, "Sandra’s Smile":
This song isn’t a jam, but it is important. Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, makes music that often sounds like an ‘80s fever dream crossover between Prince and the Human League, but "Sandra’s Smile" sounds completely new. The song is an ode to Sandra Bland, the woman whose death in prison caused a huge public outcry earlier this year. Hynes opens the song with the lines, "Who taught you to breathe / then took away your speech?" and never lets his vocals creep above a low croon. There’s an exhaustion to the song that’s both beautiful and uncomfortable.
Drew Howard x Birthday Boy, "They Love Me":
If I had to pick the best song of the week, it’d probably be this one. Toronto rapper Drew Howard and producer Birthday Boy (no OVO affiliation… YET) dropped an EP this week called Music to Soothe the Savage Youth, and it’s very easy to love. Especially this, a track called "They Love Me" that sounds like a club brawl in the tropics. There’s a little squeaky-sneaker beat in there that lends just the right amount of levity to Drew Howard’s cottonmouth flow. The chorus includes the slack-jawed line "I’m so drunk I’m moving like a zombie," which, incidentally, makes it the perfect soundtrack for your Halloween party tomorrow.
EL VY, "Silent Ivy Hotel" :
The National are sometimes not weird enough. They’re like a lavender-scented candle: nice, but only if you have very specific plans to do nothing but stare at the moon. And Menomena are definite weirdos — remember the garbage monster video? EL VY is what happens when you put The National and Menomena together, and while "Silent Ivy Hotel" feels a little kitschy at times — it sounds like "Monster Mash" on Klonopin — the haunted organ and smoky production makes Matt Berninger less like a tortured soul and more like a tortured ghoul.
Jeremih has a long history of talking about birthdays, and he’s not about to stop now. In this new song he sings, "Make everyday your birthday," because when you’re with Jeremih, your birthday is the one day you get to have good sex. It’s not the strongest argument for Jeremih’s prowess as a romantic partner, but that doesn’t prevent "Oui" from being a great track. Jeremih’s got a good voice — one that can flip easily from ultra-seductive coo to gruff, tight-throated yalp — and the production here pairs a stuttering trap beat with a moody lounge piano in a way that really works. Hey, it does kinda feel like my birthday!
Jeffrey Lewis, "Back to Manhattan":
This song’s for anyone who’s ever been a sad anxious freak on public transportation. Jeffrey Lewis is a prolific but not very popular antifolk musician with a voice like silk on a cheese grater. His songs are usually also stories, and this one’s about finding the right moment to dump someone: "We went to a movie / now we’re gonna break up / but I haven’t told you, plus the walk’s 40 minutes." Why would you go to a movie! Jeffrey Lewis is bad at planning things, and that’s probably why this song’s more than eight minutes long.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have a chill weekend, friendos.