This week’s playlist is one of my favorites of the year because of how musically ambitious so many of the artists featured here are. Opening is St. Vincent’s surprise piano rework of Savior, which precedes the release of a full-length MassEducation rework out this Friday. Here she shows she’s not just the rockstar we all know her to be now. Intimacy is what has always dominated her work. Following her is Lafawndah - an emerging and experimental R&B artist who knows how to use open spaces in production to her vocal advantage.
As the playlist starts to pick up, we move from Kelela’s remix album (surely one of the very best remix albums to have been made in any year) to the centerpiece of this week’s playlist: AlunaGeorge’s “Champagne Eyes.” There’s a thrilling disconnect between this Bauuer production, which seems to move anxiously back and forth, while the vocals move forward with the charge of, “Tonight I’m flawless.” The sum is an exciting step forward for the group, who sometimes has relied on too conventional electronic-dance sounds.
It’s on the back half of this playlist that things are perhaps most interesting. Jeremy Dutcher, a Canadian musician who released a wonderfully rich classical album as ode to indigenous culture, gets his best song reworked as something close to a dance hit as you can get while Tune-Yards remade a U.S. Girls track in anticipation of their joint tour, further layering and deepening their sound into the 21st century. The net effect of these last songs are deeply textural, felt not just intellectually but also through the body. They seem to get under your skin in the best possible way.