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 catching feelings to…
“Only One (Featuring Paul McCartney)”
Stream it on http://www.kanyewest.com/ now
At 11:30pm, New Year’s Eve, while obsessively refreshing Twitter and a very long thread on KanyeToThe (a fan run message board), the last thing I expected from the rumored first single to Kanye’s next album was uncontrollable tears. We’d all heard the unfinished leak of the aggressive, brash “All Day” and, it being one of the biggest party nights of the year, were anticipating the first turn up anthem of 2015, the kind of track you can blare while double-fisting half full bottles of tequila. Alas.
In it’s stead, we were treated to “Only One,” featuring Beatle Paul McCartney on the keys and Ty Dollars $ign (the guy who wrote Chris Brown’s “Loyal”) on backing vocals. It’s a deceptively simple song, with a straight up Wings melody, and some of that autotuned singing everyone hates from Kanye (except Michael Jackson, who loved it). On paper, writing a song to yourself and your daughter from the perspective of your deceased mother sounds fishy, but in execution, it possesses a cathartic poignancy that is pure and full of love, exactly the kind of energy you want to start the year off with.
I was raised by a single mom and we’re very close to this day, so everything Kanye expressed on “Hey Mama,” and later “Coldest Winter,” always hits me harder than sappy songs usually do. Even then, I was ill prepared for the spirit bomb of feels that washed over me on my fifth (first sober) listen of the track. Maybe it’s weird that Kanye is giving himself therapeutic closure on wax, giving himself permission from his mom to move on, or maybe, like the press release suggests, the song is really hers and he was the just vessel. Either way, the greatest rock star on Earth showed up with one of the fucking Beatles to snatch your tough guy routine out of your chest and leave you sobbing solemnly, reduced to little more than a damp face and the desire to hug anyone in the vicinity.
“You’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes” may belong on a cat calendar, but the way ‘Ye sings it is so genuine, so honest. It feels like every time you’ve ever failed and went running back to your mother, only for her to remind you that it doesn’t matter, because before you’re a man, you’re her son, and in that moment, there’s no need to aspire to anything more than that. Being her son is more rewarding than you can put into words. Thankfully Kanye could put the singular feeling of that particular privilege into a song. I’m glad it was the first song I heard this year.
I love you, Mom.
Julian Ames is ringing in the new year to…
“New Years Eve”
Admittedly, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Danish pop singer MØ (a.k.a. Karen Marie Ørstead), and I regret not knowing about her sooner. In 2014, she dropped her debut album No Mythologies To Follow, which will certainly be one of those albums that I become obsessed with in 2015 to compensate for the fact that I missed out on it last year. MØ rose to prominence after she was the featured singer on Avicii’s “Dear Boy” in 2013, and her album has her singing over more indie-electro beats, including one produced by Diplo. But it’s not all for EDM-heads; she can rock a low-key song just as well, and her music is informed by many other acts like The Spice Girls, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Sonic Youth.
“New Years Eve” is another song to file in the “Somber, Reflective Songs To Ring In The New Year” category, along with Kanye’s new track. The song, a piano ballad about her wanting to forget her problems for this one holiday evening, is a pretty stark contrast to what’s on her album, with only a few electronic embellishes. In the verses, her calm delivery is reminiscent of Lana Del Rey’s, but then she comes to life in the chorus as the music also swells, adding some strings and synths to the piano. She dropped the song the day before New Years Eve as a thank you to her fans for supporting her in 2014, and although I wasn’t one of those fans, I’ll certainly be supporting her in 2015.
Mike Duquette is warming up to…
The first thing to know about Wardell—more to get it out of the way than anything—is that the brother-sister duo has a famous family: Sasha and Theo Spielberg are the offspring of a somewhat famous film director named Steven…something. Happily, Wardell’s output doesn’t suggest Dad had anything to do with it in the slightest: “Funny Thing,” a new track off forthcoming full-length Love/Idleness, is sunny, lo-fi pop, not the kind of sound to score a shark attack or a spaceship landing. Sasha’s impassioned, slightly off-kilter vocals and Theo’s honeyed guitar tones make for a sound that’s freeing and yearning. The worse the weather gets here on the East Coast, the more I’m looking forward to hearing Wardell bring a small audio piece of the West Coast to my music library.
Dylan Roth is just fucking dumbstruck by his own response to…
I consider myself a pretty tough room, musically, so it’s not too often that I hear an artist for the first time and then feel compelled to immediately absorb their entire catalog, but that’s exactly what happened when I first listened to “Your Sweetness.” Adventures, I soon discovered, is an indie rock quintet from Pittsburgh whose first full-length album is coming in February, and it has instantly become my most anticipated album of 2015. (I remind you that The Decemberists’ new album is out in fifteen days.)
“Your Sweetness” obsesses me. I know that it’s my job to explain what about it is so compelling, to express in words the feeling that it inspires in me, but I have to admit that it’s a struggle for me to pinpoint what about it has so thoroughly kicked my ass. The attachment may be too personal, too built on nineties/turn-of-the-century nostalgia, the way it reminds me of my cousin’s band back in high school. But I like to think that my response to “Your Sweetness” is based on tight, honest songcraft and trusting, bare-bones rock production.
The wonderful thing about online music reviews is that you do not have to take my word for it. Please listen to the embedded track above and judge for yourself, and hit me up on Twitter @DylanRoth afterwards to tell me I’m not crazy and that this song hits you hard, too.