This week’s roundup includes two bad (in the good way!) rapstresses hailing from the North and the South, a taste of what’s to come from an indie-pop princess, a dream-pop troupe and a dance floor diva gone DIY.
1.) Azealia Banks, “Esta Noche”
After unleashing her sensational debut 1991 EP back in the end of May, the ever-smiley, Harlem-bred rapstress and MTV PUSH artist Azealia Banks returned just a few short weeks later with the “Fantasea” mixtape, a 19-track collection of ferocious new cuts, old favorites, silly skits and covers. One of my instant favorites of the bunch — along with the ballroom-friendly “Fierce” — is “Esta Noche,” a delicious midtempo groove built around Munchi‘s “Esta Noche,” which samples Montell Jordan‘s “Get It On Tonite.” Now, I’m fairly certain a Montell Jordan sample alone makes the song’s brilliance self-explanatory, but it only gets better as the track suddenly dips into an arms-up assault of squealing synthesizers and Azealia lays down the business. “Drink in my hand, hand on my chip/A vamp b**** do it like this,” Banks declares. Who else can do it like this, seriously?
+ LISTEN TO AZEALIA BANKS, “ESTA NOCHE” (NSFW lyrics)
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump!
2.) Wynter Gordon, “Giving In”
A few weeks ago, Wynter Gordon announced to Billboard that she was temporarily taking some time off from the dance floor to work on a passion project called The Human Condition. The endeavor will include four EPs released over the next year inspired by a wealth of unexpected genres — including Celtic (!). Early last week, the NYC-based songstress unveiled Doleo, the stunning first EP from the project. “Giving In,” the lead song on the eight-track collection, is a brilliant departure from Gordon’s standard club-pop affair and a perfect example of what Wynter’s foray into the unknown sounds like. “After you feel it/ you’re never the same again,” she sensually purrs above a dreamy guitar line reminiscent of The xx, and breathy vocals recalling an indie Kylie Minogue. As for the rest of the experimental EP, it’s further proof for my ongoing hypothesis: Wynter Gordon is incapable of doing anything wrong, ever.
3.) Ellie Goulding featuring Tinie Tempah, “Hanging On”
While the title track from her 2010 debut Lights has been rapidly climbing on U.S. radio in the past few weeks (two years later, go figure!), indie-pop princess Ellie Goulding has been busy tinkering away in the studio with the likes of Skrillex carving out the sound of her long-awaited follow-up. “Hanging On,” a cover/rework of Active Child‘s 2011 album track, is the first taste of what’s to come. Crooning on top of brooding synths, wicked dubstep-infused beats and even some harp, Ellie delivers a heavier sound than ever before. “I just can’t keep hanging on to you and me,” the angel-voiced U.K. songstress painfully emotes over the breaking beats. Between this and her cover of The Weeknd‘s “High For This” from earlier this year, Goulding’s cooking up something seriously dark and delicious.
4.) Khia, “Turn You Out”
Everyone knows that when Queen Khia (Thug Misses if we’re being proper) releases an album, the world briefly begins to spin a little faster from the sheer amount of haters running scared in the opposite direction. Mercifully, Khia is back four years after her last offering with MotorMouf, a selection of naughty seductions (“Been A Bad Girl”), sass attacks (“Fix Yo Face”) and sweetly sung odes to her favorite anatomy. “Turn You Out” is but one of the many gems on the record, which finds the Queen of the South tackling traditional gender roles and societal expectations — all while getting freaky in bed. “Sometimes I f*** like a girl/ sometimes I f*** like a boy,” she chants. As the song goes on, the tempo speeds up and slows back down at a dizzying pace. You see, she’s serving you a slow jam and a booty dropper all at the same time, proving Khia really does just want to turn you out.
+ LISTEN TO KHIA, “TURN YOU OUT” (NSFW lyrics)
5.) The xx, “Angels”
Speaking of The xx, it’s been more than two years since the indie dream-pop troupe dropped their most recent single from the unbelievably amazing self-titled 2009 debut. But earlier this week, the talented troupe released “Angels,” the lead single from their upcoming follow-up, Coexist. Unlike the “club” influence that Jamie XX insisted their next record would have, the song is as lush and softly sung as the entirety of their debut. “Every day, I am learning about you/ The things that no one else sees,” lead singer Romy sweetly sings on the gorgeous, lovey-dovey number. Begin swooning now.
Bradley Stern is a writer from Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and plotting the various ways in which he will bring down Katy Perry to become Rihanna’s best friend. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.
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