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 snatching wigs to…
“Flawless (Remix) (Featuring Nicki Minaj)”
Diva Goddess Trap Pop
I might be in the BeyHive minority in my staunch preference for the Hit-Boy produced “Bow Down” portion of “***Flawless,” (you know, the bouncy, video game synth heavy rapture that precedes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech on gender inequality) but even I was won over by this pretty piece of perfection the twin queens chose to bless us beggars with. I could honestly take or leave Beyonce rapping, ever, but through sheer force of will and an intense presence, she manages to distract you from the novelty of a songstress choosing to spit flames. She navigates the verse in the same sort of pop cultural curiosity fashion way that George W. Bush wields a paint brush, the way Action Bronson wields a spatula on YouTube, the way James Franco does anything outside of the manchild comfort of a Judd Apatow film.
Outside of an ill-advised interpolation of the horns from “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” the mutated instrumental suffices to set the foundation for what is essentially two of the most capable, beloved and bossed-up women in all of music trading barbs (Barbz?) about being late night Instagram stroke material and unimpeachable role models in the same breath. The Nickster doesn’t quite match the dizzying heights of her hall of fame “Monster” verse, but referencing past accomplishments doesn’t sound lazy or nostalgic here, rather a necessary bit of resumé reading for anyone who somehow might have missed how momentous this collaboration truly is. The two (flawless) faces that launched a thousand thinkpieces tag team against the male gaze, music crit pretension, and tabloid gossip mongering, reminding you who the fuck is in charge and how precious little you have to do about it.
David Lebovitz is head-bobbing to…
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, elder statesmen of rock at this point, are openly at the “back to basics” part of their career. As such, their new album, Hypnotic Eye, is a standard late career effort–it sounds a lot like their early works, but with more metaphorical and literal wrinkles. “Red River” gives you a good sense of what’s on the album: egalitarian, low key heartland rock. No instrument is much more prominent than any other, and it makes a distinct, cohesive sound. Lyrically, the song is a character sketch of a woman who uses all kinds of religious talismans to bring her luck, but to no avail.
This song, and the album as a whole, represent a return to reliability for Tom Petty, with maybe a little bit of political and/or religious bent. It’s especially worth your time if you’re a longtime Heartbreakers fan.
Mike Pfeiffer is Go-Go Dancing to…
“Out of the Fire”
Summer in New York has been way kinder than last year, when I was a perpetually-melting vanilla soft serve whip in black denim, and, thanks to the way we’ve heroically fucked the climate, this year we’ve ended July with some perfect and breezy 72-degree days. If you’re finding yourself biking to work or laughing on a boat or in a park with friends loving this brief moment before everything gets all Snowpiercer, I can recommend “Out of the Fire” as a soundtrack.
The opening track on Cosines’ debut LP Oscillations demonstrates all the scientifically precise songcraft and hooks that’s implicit from the mathematical band and album name, and the clean lines of the cover. Alice Hubley’s lo-fi vocal never completely disappears into being a 60s period piece as their commitment to smooth production and songwriting also precludes the reckless sound of old garage and Yé-Yé recordings, but I don’t think Cosines aspires to slash speaker cones and invent the new sound of pop. “The Song of the Summer” is a contentious title, but as far as making you feel like blooming and running and being safe in happiness for a few months, you can trust me that “Out of the Fire” is A Perfect Summer Song.