Each week we break down our favorite song, highlight our honorable mentions, and wrap them all up with other staff recommendations into a playlist just for you.
Iridescence is a peculiar album in that every song has a completely different character. Yet, in the context of BROCKHAMPTON, maybe that’s not so peculiar at all. Ever since their debut mixtape, the band have demonstrated a remarkable talent for finding their creative footing in all sorts of areas, from alternative hip-hop to R&B to choral arrangements. They set up quite the precedent for themselves with the Saturation trilogy, but on their fourth studio album, America’s favorite boyband have outdone themselves.
“J’OUVERT” is a trademark track, a characteristic blend of razor-crisp production and explosive vocal talent, with the brash style to back it all up. More than that, though, it encompasses everything that makes the new album so great: BROCKHAMPTON are grappling with fame while pushing themselves further creatively with each new release. Iridescence sees them at their most troubled, their most open, and their most experimental — all of which are qualities the public has loved about BROCKHAMPTON from the start. Joba’s spitting, “Wish that I was better/ At dealing with the fame and you fake motherfuckers/ Guess I’m too real,” feels like an accusation, a wish, and a self-declaration all at once. It’s impossible to capture all of what’s right about BROCKHAMPTON in a four-minute-long snapshot, but “J’OUVERT” comes pretty darn close.
Robyn – “Honey”
After eight years of radio silence, Robyn is back and better than ever with her most recent single off her upcoming album. Title track “Honey” is a characteristically atmospheric dance-pop ballad, merging sadness and joy in the way only Robyn can. –Clara Scott
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – “Shallow”
The sure-fire blockbuster A Star Is Born is set to not only be a fantastic film, but also a musical force of nature, as heard in the lead single from the movie’s soundtrack, “Shallow”, a heart-wrenching ballad that not only highlights both Cooper and Gaga’s talents as musicians but also their dramatic chops. –Clara Scott
Greta Van Fleet – “Lover, Leaver”
Though Greta Van Fleet’s similarities to Led Zeppelin have drawn them quite a bit of press, the band stands on their own as a solid rock outfit, evident in the soaring intensity of their first single, “Lover, Leaver”, from upcoming debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army. –Clara Scott
Tom Petty – “Gainesville”
Tom Petty’s life may have come to a close late last year, but his legacy continues to live on in posthumous releases like this outtake of “Gainesville” from 1998, an Americana story told with Petty’s trademark nostalgia and soul. —Clara Scott
Other Songs We’re Spinning
Gallant – “TOOGOODTOBETRUE” ft. Sufjan Stevens and Rebecca Sugar
The only way to describe the newest single from Gallant is smooth; featuring Sufjan Stevens and Rebecca Sugar, the song follows all three artists through an expansive soundscape full of ups and downs. –Clara Scott
Young Thug – “Climax” ft. 6LACK
“Climax” might be the most intimate song off of Young Thug’s new EP, a hypnotic confessional that addresses a disinterested partner against a subdued, whisper-filled backdrop. –Laura Dzubay
A Deer A Horse – “Double Wide”
Brooklyn-based rockers A Deer A Horse return with a riff-heavy, deeply personal song about a family member of bassist-singer Angela Philips who took his own life a few years ago. For Philips, the act of writing and playing the song has become all about healing. –Spencer Kaufman
EARTHGANG – “Stuck (With Arin Ray)”
“Stuck” adds to the long string of left-field singles from oddball Atlanta hip-hip duo EARTHGANG that pull off the remarkable feat of being as irresistible as they are otherworldly. –Matt Melis
R.E.M. – “E-Bow the Letter” ft. Thom Yorke
R.E.M. retiring a few years ago didn’t quite signal the end of the world as we know it, but hearing this live at the BBC version of one of their classics with Yorke filling in for Patti Smith on vocals sure reminds us of just how much nicer their music makes this world. –Matt Melis