Deadshirt Is Listening… Bringing you a rundown of our staff and guest contributors’ favorite new tracks released in the past week after they’ve had the weekend to blast them in their cars, in a club, alone in their rooms, etc.
Dominic Griffin is upsetting his ancestors to…
“Looking For You (Featuring Migos)”
Cultural Appropriation Pop
My personal affection for this strange act of Justin Bieber’s career, a sort of advanced remake of the era surrounding Justin Timberlake’s early solo work, is well known. While being an arch-level heel and general scumbag IRL, on wax The Bieb continues to be one of the most interesting figures in today’s pop landscape, a squeaky clean icon whose purposefully rough-around-the-edges transformation is such a contrivance that the artifice of it all becomes art in itself, a Botticelli palette swapped into a third or fourth generation Instagram meme. On his latest single, Biebster enlists the “Versace” trio Migos in a naked grab for cred and relevance as blatant as his previous collaboration with Chance The Rapper.
The track itself is kind of a throwaway, an odd callback to the halcyon days of radio where it felt like every song was laced with Timbaland’s Indian flute fixation. It’s nowhere near as exciting as the best cuts from Journals, feeling more like a reference track than a full blown, radio-ready single, but Migos’ mere presence colors the proceedings with a touch of eccentricity. Bieber having a song where Offset says “My bitch is so gorgeous, I might pay her mortgage” or Quavo boasting that he’s “In the trap with J.B.” is hilarious. While it’s obvious Bieber’s obsession with “urban” music is an attempt to distance himself from songs like “Baby,” I can’t help but enjoy the other side of the equation, a bevy of rappers and producers subverting his pop image to reach a higher audience. Let’s just hope this track with DJ Mustard surfaces soon. The snippet was amazing.
Tink & DJ Dahi
Yours Truly & Adidas Originals Present…Songs From Scratch
Chi-town hyphenate Tink has really been piquing my interest of late. She’s a rapper/singer, equally adept at displaying a lyrical toughness as she is opening up and being charismatically vulnerable. Her collaboration with Jeremih, “Don’t Tell Nobody,” is one of my favorite songs of the year so far, and here, teaming up with DJ Dahi again for the Songs From Scratch series, she finds that balance, harkening back to the mid-90s heyday of Brandy and Monica, but with a twist. A glacial feel, a moment and a mood trapped in celestial amber, “Men” is Tink doing what she does best: telling simple, effective tales of gender disparity and relationship strife. She’s a breath of fresh air and I really hope she finds a place on the charts, but in the mean time, she’s already reserved some space in my heart.
David Lebovitz is honoring the fallen country legends to…
John Carter Cash
Though he’s a fairly accomplished musician in his own right (and apparently an amateur Louis CK lookalike), John Carter Cash will always be known as the only son of music icons Johnny Cash and June Carter. This led to Esquire tapping John to cover his father to kick off a Father’s Day series of Live Sessions. It’s an odd choice to do a cover of a cover, especially given the depth of Johnny’s discography, but John does it justice. While he plays it just a touch faster than he probably should, he clearly has an understanding of both the song and its importance to his father’s legacy. A pretty solid rendition by someone connected to the source material.