This week’s real world brought a deadly terrorist attack in Belgium, while the music world brought the premature death of a hip-hop hero. It was downers all around, and I struggled personally with some dark moments too. At least in my own case, I try to meditate, focus, and seek the healing power of art. This is how I keep perspective.
It’s also how I end up sharing music. Here we go:
Here’s a slinky hit from my teenage years, with a video that felt uncomfortable, sexy, and powerful. I was 14 when it appeared on MTV, unable to appreciate what was happening. It was unshakable anyway.
Check out Toni Braxton’s 1996 single, You’re Makin’ Me High.
So it turns out that all the BFF-ing Flaming Lips leader Wayne Coyne did with Miley Cyrus over the past year was actually in service of art. It’s called Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz.
I just woke up and have nothing more to say about this, other than: it sounds like Miley Cyrus backed by The Flaming Lips. Or rather, it sounds like a particularly fizzy Flaming Lips album with Cyrus on vocals. I’m only a few tracks in and it’s… not bad at all. Enjoy?
On a weekend in August of 2015, I discovered Maggot Brain. I may have been 44 years late, but I’m just now realizing the depth and power that Funkadelic were capable of.
I’ve been on a funk kick, spurred on by the incredible new Dam-Funk album, and stumbled up on the evocative cover of Maggot Brain, with a woman’s head planted in the dirt, face frozen mid-scream.
It’s deeply unnerving, an iconic image that immediately sears into the memory. It fits the music completely.
Dam-Funk has finally returned, and he’s taken funk right out of the atmosphere and into the deep reaches of space.
And so it begins. Kendrick Lamar consumed months of my listening life, two years ago. Now he’s about to drop his follow up to one of the greatest albums of the past decade, good kid, m.A.A.d. City. The first single is called i.
[This post has been updated to include the striking music video for i]
The intro music is apparently a preview of some Flying Lotus beats on the upcoming album!
After hearing his collaboration with Flying Lotus on Never Catch Me, I was primed for more material. It’s been two years since his last album released, but only one year since the CD left constant rotation in my car. I probably listened to that album more than any other released in the past 5 years, in any genre. It’s not just a hip-hop landmark; it’s a colossus of popular music in general. Suffice it to say that my expectations are flying high.
“We got a young brother that stands for something! We got a young brother that believes in all of us! Brother Kendrick Lamar. He’s not a rapper, he’s a writer!”
An announcer opens the song with these words, before the inimitable guitar line of “That Lady” by the Isley Brothers leaps into action. Kendrick comes in with another fresh vocal inflection and the tune is off and running. Bouncy, bright, funky, psychedelic, energetic: it’s a bold proclamation that the young master is back in top form. I dig it. The song obliterated my fear of a sophomore slump in exactly 4:20.
Don’t take my word for it. You should already be listening.
The upcoming album is “soon” and has yet to be titled, so that’s all the information I’ve got today!