Favorite New & Old Tracks of the Week

Vince Staples (left) [photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Panorama]; Amy Winehouse (right) [Getty Images]

This was the busiest week of new releases so far in 2022, for me at least. 7 albums on my radar dropped, and four of them were actually pretty good.

Wet Leg’s self-titled debut has finally arrived after nearly a year of hype following their viral hit “Chaise Longue”. Coming in at 12 tracks, with half of them already released as singles, the deep cuts had a lot of heavy lifting to do to make the album as a whole feel like a worthwhile experience in itself. They manage the effort, deviating from the usual tongue-in-cheek playfulness of the duo’s singles on stand-outs like opener “Being in Love”, “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” or break-up slow burner “Loving You”.

“Fear of the Dawn” is the first of two albums we’re expecting from Jack White in the next couple months. Following up the eccentric & experimental “Boarding House Reach”, White strikes a balance between pushing the envelope and keeping to his high-powered guitar god roots. It makes for a more cohesive album than “Boarding House Reach” but I wouldn’t quite say a better one. “The White Raven” was my favorite deep cut.

“Chloe in the New 20th Century” sees Father John Misty poking at 21st century disillusionment with songs clad in early 20th century aesthetics, ranging from ballroom jazz, to country-tinged ballads, to old-school crooner specials. I say ‘poking at’ because the album is far from cohesive, without much interesting to say beyond ‘man things suck right now, I’m sad, aren’t you?’. The throwback aesthetics consume a bit too much of the songwriting as well, leading to more than few tracks that sound like lounge homages rather than brand new Father John Misty tracks. “Kiss Me (I Loved You)” was a standout for me.

I was really not expecting something so funky and danceable from IDK, but “Taco” is just that. The Maryland MC raps over a beat reminiscent of Jamiroquai, with wordplay heavy bars IDK usually comes with.

It just might be the dumbest song I’ve recommended here, but “Doritos & Fritos” by 100 gecs is a bop. That’s all I have to say for myself.

Even though it’s just a single, new Maggie Rogers material had me just as excited for a first listen as most of the albums that came out this week. “That’s Where I Am” is a big shift sonically from her debut “Heard It In a Past Life”, far from surprising listening to Rogers’ commentary on her compilation “Notes From the Archive”. Instead of the folk-tinged, straightforward pop that record is full of, “That’s Where I Am” takes more notes from Maggie’s older work, infusing a rock beat & super fuzzy guitars into the pop proceedings. I’m really looking forward to “Surrender”, her 2nd LP due out in July.

Favorite New Track of the Week: “When Sparks Fly” by Vince Staples

“RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART” is easily the most uncomplicated Vince Staples album ever.

That’s true of the production and the subject matter. Kenny Beats is nowhere to be found here, replaced by much more mainstream producers like Mustard. There’s plenty more bars from Vince about bangin’ in Long Beach, more often than not avoiding the deeper vulnerability he showed on his self-titled record from last year.

But what really makes this album so much more straightforward is actually the subject matter that’s kind of new for Vince. He’s rapping about his love life on a handful of songs.

We’ve heard some verses about relationships from Vince, on great tracks like “Summertime” or “Jump Off The Roof” but more often than not he deviates from the tried & true subject of love to harsher topics.

As the title would suggest “RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART” ends that trend, with several songs that see Vince openly talking about romance. One song that flips this new trend on its head though, is “WHEN SPARKS FLY”.

The beat is, again, pretty simple and lowkey. Cavernous base, echoey drum shots, steady tapping on a high hat. A sample of Lyves’ “No Love” really sets the slow jam vibe in motion before Vince takes to the mic.

The first few bars sound like Vince is talking about a woman – ‘she said baby keep me closely, love it when you hold me’ – but by the end of the 1st verse things get darker. ‘She’ asks Vince to hide her from police, tells him to ‘put that pussy nigga cross the street from Cherry Park’. Vince is talking about a woman, but every bar is a double entendre, like ‘the glove will keep you safe if you ever get loose’ – he’s talking about his piece too.

The second verse sees Vince separated from both, with them apparently in police custody. He worries if they left a trail, worries about the vows they made, laments the distance between them, but doesn’t worry about them snitching. He’s afraid they’ll never see the light of day, but hopes for their return.

Vince has been rapping about his gang related past for a decade now, but he continues to impress with new ways to frame his experiences and give them new depth. Entangling his romantic life so tightly with the streets from his past is yet another ingenious way he’s captured the paranoia and PTSD that comes with escaping that life.

Favorite Old Track of the Week: “Me & Mr. Jones” by Amy Winehouse

CW: Lots of swearing. Gran please stop reading.

Fun fact: if you search the word ‘fuckery’ on Spotify, this song is the top result.

Like many aspects of “Back in Black” I didn’t appreciate the cheeky curse when the album first came out in 2006, since swearing was still a no-no. It’s become one of my favorite words in adulthood. So succinct. So much punch.

“Back In Black” tends to poke its head in and out of my rotation a few times across any year, and this was one of those weeks where it returned to my regular listening. A week that, ironically, ended up being chock full of fuckery.

You may be asking: what is fuckery? Fuckery, my friend, is the word we use to describe exceptionally ridiculous things that happen – when bullshit just won’t cut it.

I won’t go into the details of some of my week’s fuckery, but just know it was absurd enough to trump me getting ready to move house for the 432,891st time and attending the last week of lectures for my MA and not sleeping much for the 2nd week in a row all at once. The kind of fuckery that had the opening line from the verses of this classic ringing in my head.

Without airing my dirty laundry I will say this: listen to Amy. Don’t put up with fuckery.

If you think you see fuckery coming, you’re probably right.

Fuckery is easily recognizable.

Fuckery is loud and ugly, and unironically listens to Grimes & the Chainsmokers.

Fuckery actually liked Morbius, and doesn’t think the Game of Thrones & How I Met Your Mother Finales were that bad.

Fuckery puts raisins in everything, and will wear flip-flops with a suit & tie with absolutely no self-awareness or shame.

Smokey the bear tells us that only you can prevent wildfires. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone can prevent fuckery. All you can do is run. Run far, far away from fuckery when you can.

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