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Song of the Week: Tyler, the Creator Returns With the Towering “LUMBERJACK”

Mykki Blanco, Hope Tala and Wet Leg also dropped essential tracks this week

Tyler The Creator SOTW
Photo by Luis ‘Panch’ Perez
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    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Tyler, the Creator returns with a new offering and an album announcement.


    After mocking Eminem for choosing the “worst beats ever,” you’d expect Tyler, the Creator to put his samples where his speakers are. Enter “Lumberjack,” the first preview of his just-announced upcoming album Call Me If You Get Lost.

    The beat drops faster than you can shout “Timber!” with a driving loop cribbed from Gravediggaz’s 1994 cut “2 Cups of Blood.” Throughout, Tyler hits pause and rewind, and for additional variety, the music video and digital versions boast different beginnings.

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    No matter how you stream it, “Lumberjack” is a windows-down banger. The lyrics offer a fast-paced tour through the contents of Tyler’s wallet, with plenty of punchlines to keep the proceedings humming along. “Rolls-Royce pull up, Black boy hop out,” he raps. “Shoutout to my mother and my father, didn’t pull out.”

    The title is a punny challenge to anyone thinking of causing trouble. “Two, four, five hundred stacks for the hood/ Call me lumberjack ’cause I wish a n—- would.” Even Paul Bunyan never went so hard.

    — Wren Graves
    News Editor

    Honorable Mentions:

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    Wesley Joseph – “Patience (feat. Jorja Smith)”

    Wesley Joseph taps Jorja Smith for a guest assist on “Patience,” a futuristic single off the British rapper’s debut album Ultramarine. The two rising stars trade verses and vocal hooks over a mesmerizing, soulful soundscape that starts with a stuttered piano chord progression and slowly builds and morphs around the track’s central sentiment: “Got to be patient and stay/ It’s kinda strange the way you have changed.”

    Add in the single’s moody music video, which finds Joseph and Smith caught in a haunting car crash, and by the time the latter croons, “I just want to go back to the old days/ When I’m lookin’ back I feel OK/ I ain’t losin’ track, don’t you worry,” in the outro, you’ll be clamoring to see what else Joseph has to prove on the album’s eight tracks.

    Glenn Rowley

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    Mykki Blanco, Blood Orange – “It’s Not My Choice”

    Mykki Blanco understands the power of a full performance. As a poet, performance artist, and rapper, they have spent their career building a dynamic repertoire of work, and their latest track featuring Blood Orange, from the new mini-album Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep, fits neatly into that lexicon. The “soul jam” feels plucked from the ‘80s and dropped into present day, even including a moment of dialogue in the outro begging a lost lover to come home. Like much of Blanco’s work, it’s a whole story wrapped into a moment. (Plus, any song that leaves room for a meandering saxophone is a win in our book.)

    — Mary Siroky

    Kojey Radical – “2FS”

    In reference to his next single ahead of a highly-anticipated debut album, Kojey Radical says: “Hard food not fast food; the album is being prepared but I wanted to serve up something to hold the appetite. Eat up — these two are friendly reminders I can rap circles around your favourite as a snack.”

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    Produced by The Elements, the quick, slick “2FS” lives up to such talk: the British rapper’s lyrical energy launches at the top of the song and doesn’t relent. The rapid-fire internal dialogue alternates between digging into fears and justifying a carefree attitude, which might seem paradoxical in the hands of a less talented rapper. Here, it just sounds like the truth.

    — Mary Siroky

    Hope Tala – “MAD”

    The most striking thing about Hope Tala’s new single, “Mad,” is that she doesn’t really sound angry. In her typical bossa nova-meets-R&B style, Hope Tala has never sounded more at ease. After releasing her excellent EP Girl Eats Sun late last year, the UK native has returned with a track produced by Grammy-winner Paul Epworth and featuring Tala’s signature jazz-inspired approach to modern pop.

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    “Mad” sees Tala expressing frustration at a lover and being caught in her feelings about it. While she keeps up the urgency of the track with a driving beat and packed verses, she never loses her touch of cool. The resulting track is a seductive breeze and a luxurious look at the duplicity of emotion, solidifying her place as a songwriter to watch.

    — Paolo Ragusa

    Aluna, Tekna, “Don’t Hit My Line”

    On the bouncy “Don’t Hit My Line,” Aluna and Tekno make apathy sound fun. “It’s only when I have nothing better to do that I think of you” is certainly a more palatable phrase over a syncopated keyboard and thrumming beat; the accompanying music video, with lyrical movement choreographed by Chris Emile, adds a dream-like element to the story. Aluna’s music is often transportive, and this latest release is no exception.

    — Mary Siroky

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    Wet Leg – “Chaise Longue”

    On their delightfully-named debut single “Chaise Longue,” Wet Leg find solace in isolation. The indie duo, composed of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, call England’s quaint and secluded Isle of Wight their home, where their creativity flourishes naturally. Bonded by their mutual love of artists spanning from Jane Birkin to Ty Segall to Bjork, Wet Leg’s first offering is an apt introduction to the band, who’ve just been signed by seminal indie label Domino.

    Fueled by chugging drums and a boisterous guitar riff, the tongue-in-cheek track is whimsical and blithe, channeling the unfettered radiance of an island’s sun. It just might be your poolside song of the summer.

    — Abby Jones

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