The first time I heard Kelela's latest single "Frontline" I knew it would anchor this week's playlist. Not only is at a defiant anthem of moving on from love gone sour, it's the most 90s R&B moment in quite some time, as I wrote earlier in the week. The rest of the playlist could be considered a frontline for emerging feminist thought and female artists. From my ongoing love affair with the Jorja Smith and SZA to the Sísy Ey's haunting, sykward vocals on a softer disco track to the raucous anthems of Dai Burger or Tove Lo, there's something for everyone. Even male artists, through LCD Soundsystem's "emotional haircut" and Moses Sumney's "Indulge Me," focus on the seismic emotional shifts we need to take in this age of ongoing violence and the practice that we must create to let other people in to love our bodies for all of their imperfections.
For all of the work that artists do in this playlist - to find meaning, love, fame, or a future unmarked by regret - it might seem odd to end with St. Vincent's "Los Ageless," a bitter track railing against the conformity and claustrophobia of Los Angeles. "In Los Ageless, the winter never comes In Los Ageless / the mothers milk their young" she remarks in the track's opening. But the reality is that for all music has done in 2017 to take us beyond our current political and social circumstances, we are still stuck in this age of lament. Perhaps the snarl of a guitar, our anger, is the one thing that'll keep us going.