1. Rebecca Black - Friday (REMIX) [feat. 3OH!3, Big Freedia, & Dorian Electra]
10 years after the original song took the Internet by storm, Rebecca Black returns with a remix of her iconic track “Friday.” 10 years on, Black has matured as an artist, and the pop scene has shifted along with her; everything that made the original video so maligned by certain sects of the net has now been co-opted by the recent hyperpop wave, the blaring synths, the gauche delivery, and the uber auto tuned vocals. All that returns without irony or shame. Dylan Brady (100 Gecs) lends his familiar hyperkinetic and plasticky production through the multiphase redux to create an instrumental that is in one moment a faithful reinterpretation of the original and in the next a SOPHIE-esque deconstructed club banger. The features here all wow, though the standout of the entire track is, perhaps predictably, Big Freedia who introduces the track and supplies the final verse, sounding larger than life as she delivers dance hymns to the weekend. Black’s return to her teenage pop years is an unabashed ode to the simple fun and indulgence of youth.
2. Slowthai - terms [feat. Dominic Fike & Denzel Curry]
“terms”, a standout track from Slowthai’s recently released TYRON record proves that the Northampton native is more than just righteous anger and arrogant bangers. The introspective track sees Slowthai caught in the struggle between the pressures of his newfound influence and his general imperfections and naïveté. The beat here is fittingly moody as collaborators Fike and Curry bind the more lyrically dense verses; Fike especially wows with the emotional delivery of the chorus where he, defeatedly, comes to terms with the negative perceptions portions of the public might have of him. The difference in energy from his brash debut is obvious, but slowthai’s self-analysis on his newest work is spellbinding.
3. JPEGMAFIA - FIX URSELF
On this single from the newly released “EP2”, experimental rap artist and Internet-Era noise-maker JPEGMAFIA continues his sonic exploration further into the R&B and pop realms, standing in opposition to the bombastic and explosive noise rap he came to prominence with. This isn’t to say this is your standard pop track though, on the contrary, Peggy still proudly flaunts glitchy, grimy and off-kilter production as he auto-croons his way through patented tongue-in-cheek absurdisms for a track that manages to be accessible while still feeling authentically warped.
4. Claud - Soft Spot
On “Soft Spot”, recent Saddest Factory Records signee Claud utilizes the hypnagogic and charmingly lo-fidelity sounds of bedroom pop to craft an achingly beautiful track about codependent longing. Their double tracked voice, light and airy, floats above the muted instrumental pristinely, making for a uniquely emotional yet well composed performance; Claud is still a relatively new artist, but infectious tunes like this show a lot of promise for this young songwriter.
5. Black Country, New Road - Track X
The penultimate track to the post rock outfit’s highly anticipated debut, “Track X” is a slow burning stunner that shows why this band is one of the most exciting acts in underground rock right now. Starting off with just a single repeated mathy-guitar underpinning frontman Isaac Wood’s equally monotonous and toned down vocals, the band subtly adds various keys, woodwinds, orchestral strings, and luscious backing vocals; each element playing off of the other and building the track to such a momentous finish that it’s hard to believe the original riff plays throughout, unchanged the entire time. It all comes so naturally, BC,NR make this balancing act between patient minimalism and lush sonic landscapes look easy.