The wave of 2016 mega-albums (The Life of Pablo, Lemonade, Views) has slowed somewhat, but great music is still pouring forth from both huge stars and cutting-edge indie artists. Here are the songs we currently have in heavy rotation, including a gem from the Monkees' surprising comeback and the latest compelling dispatch from Jay Z.
Beck's next album will be out in the fall, and if this new single is any indication, it might be the sweetest mix of his lovingly absurdist hip-hop side and his slyly gorgeous singer-songwriter side since Odelay. On "Wow," Beck drops lyrics such as "Standing on the lawn doin' jujitsu/Girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini Shih Tzu" over a springy surreal beat that sounds like trap music, if the lord of the trap were Willy Wonka.
Alongside Pusha T, our coke-rap laureate, Jay gets off the La-Z-Boy to deliver his best bars in ages: "Ambidextrous/Countin' with my right, whippin' white with my left wrist." Nice job, Dad.
The first band Tom Petty has ever produced, and you can tell why: These L.A. rockers are the spitting image of the Byrds-Beatles garage rock he grew up on.
The surviving Monkees just celebrated their 50th anniversary with a fantastic new LP, Good Times!, and this autumnal ballad (written by Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard) is a gorgeous display of their ageless harmonies. The late Davy Jones is up there smiling.
There are many kinds of summer jams. This is one for your hot, lazy Sundays: an ocean-breeze bit of Beach Boys-tinged doo-wop folk that will make you want to murder an afternoon drinking IPAs in a seaside hammock.
This high-drama indie-folk artist tries out dreamy synth balladry, and the results are softly slamming. Olsen imagines romance as the ultimate no-pay résumé-builder, delivering each lyric like she's performing an emotional high-wire act.
The original – a highlight from Anti – was a steel-hearted shape-shifter full of gauzy Seventies rock guitar. Canadian producer Kaytranada flips it into a beautiful house-music hallucination, making for one of the sweeter remixes we've heard this year.