This week, FKA twigs goes deep — and outdoes herself — on her experimental, wide-ranging, soul-searching new album Magdalene. Emotional Oranges launch their second EP, The Juice Vol. II, a vibey pop-R&B challenge. Lucy Dacus completes her cycle of vacation tune releases with “Idiot’s Gold,” an authentic observe that offers within the bittersweetness of New Yr’s Eve. Doja Cat follows up the viral “Mooo!” with the bubbly “Cyber Intercourse.” And Johnny Utah tries on surf-rock for measurement in “4Tounce.”
“mary magdalene,” FKA twigs
It begins with what appears like wind chimes: delicate, off-kilter plinkings that give method to an eerie high-pitched buzz. After which her voice is available in, in an enhanced whisper: “A lady’s work. A lady’s prerogative. A lady’s time to embrace she should put herself first.” Stick to the five-minute-plus observe, and lots of different components emerge: choral echoes, deep-water percussion, audio fuzz, callbacks to early single “Cellophane,” tweaked melodies that defy simple categorization. FKA twigs is an artist’s artist: she is aware of the way to craft a catchy tune (see: earlier work like “Two Weeks”), however she’s extra concerned about grappling with sounds and lyrical ideas that demand that her listeners play nearer consideration. “mary magdalene,” off her new album Magdalene, considers that historic determine and the gray areas of her id: sinner, saint or one thing in between? FKA twigs needs us to interrogate any sort of binary in relation to narratives about ladies and need, each by means of her music and her visuals; she’s additionally a dancer and video director who has explored numerous modes of femininity. “I’m from a technology the place, as a lady, I used to be taught that your Prince Charming would select you. And when he did you have been grateful,” she advised New Music Day by day with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1. “Magdalene is unraveling that and simply discovering my voice with out society’s whispers.” The end result, as captured on “mary magdalene,” is uncompromising artwork.
“West Coast Love,” Emotional Oranges
R&B duo Emotional Oranges have been making forward-thinking, tender jams for a few years now, typically with a melancholy bent. “West Coast Love” is lighter and breezier, a candy slice of swinging R&B off their new sophomore EP, The Juice Vol. 2. It’s received an old-school beat and lyrics that conjure up the sensation of younger love with out problems: “Jukebox on a blacktop / That’s that West Coast love / After faculty, hookin’ up in your drop high / West Coast love,” all sung with low-key precision. The pair of artists behind Emotional Oranges have saved their identities deliberately opaque, not as a ploy however as a problem: are you able to envision your self of their disembodied voices and sounds? The reply, for a lot of listeners now, is sure, because of music that’s each particular in its storytelling and universally interesting in its good vibes.
“Idiot’s Gold,” Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus was rightfully lauded for her sophomore album Historian in 2018, and the collaborative boygenius album launched the identical 12 months with fellow indie folks singers Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. In 2019, she determined to change issues up, placing out a couple of new songs and personalised covers to coincide with every main vacation. It might have been a gimmick, however within the succesful palms of somebody as incisive as Dacus, it’s affecting — particularly “Idiot’s Gold,” the ultimate piece within the 2019 collection, which is supposed to correspond with New Yr’s. She’s mentioned it’s based mostly on a real story, and you may style the authenticity of her lyrics: “I threw the social gathering so I might keep put / You introduced the bottle like a promise I forgot / A brand new 12 months begins, it ushers us in / The knot in my intestine is coming with.” New Yr’s Eve is meant to be a celebration, however typically it’s rather more bittersweet than that. Right here’s a tune to remind us we’re not alone in that confusion.
“Cyber Intercourse,” Doja Cat
Few artists are embody the affect of the web on music in 2019 as a lot as Doja Cat. A self-taught L.A. rapper, singer and producer, she received her begin with an impartial launch on SoundCloud in 2013. Final 12 months, her absurdist tune “Mooo!” grew to become a viral YouTube hit because of its intentional meme-ability. And now we’ve “Cyber Intercourse” off of her new album Scorching Pink. Made with bubbly synth beats, it doesn’t beat across the bush. “Is you into that? Let’s break the web,” she suggests as she describes the tune’s title with express pleasure. Breathy and brilliant, it’s modern not-quite-rap at its most infectious.
“4Tounce,” Johnny Utah
It’s beginning to get chilly outdoors, however “4Tounce” appears like summer time: R&B-inflected surf-rock infused with the woozy spirit of younger love. Or, a minimum of, that’s what 23-year-old Johnny Utah is after, as he explains within the earworm observe. “I don’t need your late evening lovin’ / stayin’ at your home. I simply wish to be the one that you really want within the day,” he laments, reflecting on unrequited affections.