Listen to the this week’s YouTube playlist here.
The 1975, “Love It If We Made It”
Sounds like: A sign o’ the times
Perfect for: Scrolling through your social feeds at warp speed
Don’t let the bright-neon pop presentation fool you: The 1975’s new single, “Love It If We Made It,” packs a heavy punch. The U.K. band’s first taste of their upcoming album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is a searing, critical look at the chaos of 2018, with references to Kanye and Trump’s bromance, police brutality, Lil Peep’s passing, the refugee crisis and much more. The video moves as fast as singer Matty Healy’s lyrical references, with silhouettes of the band flashing between news footage of protests, violence and recent world events.
Travis Scott, featuring Drake, “Sicko Mode”
Sounds like: A deliciously eccentric love letter to Houston
Perfect for: A Jamba Juice run
Travis Scott’s wacky, brilliant mind strikes again with the video for “Sicko Mode,” directed by longtime rap video kingmaker Dave Meyers. Matching the frenetic energy of the song’s beat and tempo shifts, the video is a wild carnival ride hosted by Scott and his good friend Drake. Scott’s AstroWorld is a surreal reimagining of the Houston amusement park he grew up with; he does everything from fronting a Motown group to riding a horse, while Drake has girls twerking in his pupil. Buckle up, this ride is a doozy.
St. Vincent, “Hang on Me” (Piano Version)
Sounds like: A guitar god flexing her versatility
Perfect for: Making your case for the person you love to stick around
St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, has re-recorded her excellent 2017 LP Masseduction as a striking, piano-driven acoustic set called MassEducation. The reimagined record gets right to the emotional core of her pop-shifting masterpiece. “Hang On Me” opened the original album, but this time the order’s reversed — so the once-atmospheric, glitchy manifesto becomes a stunningly bare and vulnerable closing statement that can leave you breathless.
Neil Young, “Campaigner”
Sounds like: A puzzling piece of political commentary
Perfect for: Voting in the midterm elections
Neil Young’s November 1976 U.S. tour was one of his best ever, and you can hear it this fall on his latest archival live album, Songs for Judy. The new LP features solo acoustic performances of major hits like “Heart of Gold” alongside deeper cuts, like “Campaigner.” You can almost hear the audience at Boston’s Music Hall that night puzzling over his oddly empathetic lyrics when he sings, “Even Richard Nixon has got soul.”
Mara Connor, “No Fun”
Sounds like: A California girl cutting her teeth in the Nashville scene
Perfect for: Reminding yourself that it’s your party and you can cry if you want to
Southern California singer-songwriter Mara Connor pays tribute to her roots with her delightfully bright debut single, “No Fun.” Connor recorded the track in Nashville, and tinges of country blend seamlessly with Sixties and Seventies beach-pop here. It’s a promising sign for this newcomer, and all that retro flavor never stops this song from sounding like right now.