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Song of the Week: Silk Sonic’s Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak “Skate” Through With a Summertime Jam

Su Lee, Yola and Mini Trees also dropped essential tracks this week

Silk Sonic Skate
Silk Sonic, photo courtesy of artist
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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, the dynamic duo Silk Sonic returns with a summery sophomore single.


    It feels like forever since March, when Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars teamed up to create Silk Sonic and dropped the sultry debut smash “Leave The Door Open.” We’ve been long overdue for more music from the disco-drenched duo, but the result is worth the wait: Silk Sonic has finally returned with “Skate,” another flashy, ’70s jam.

    Impossibly more upbeat than “Leave The Door Open,” “Skate” is a euphoric groove with an absolutely unstoppable string section. Anticipation only continues to climb for a complete album, An Evening With Silk Sonic, and if more tracks like these are waiting to be shared, let’s hope an official release date is confirmed soon.

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    As we enter the dog days of summer, August just over the horizon, “Skate” is the perfect late season bop, all the joyful energy of a cookout, rooftop party, or (naturally) a long skate session under palm trees packed into three and a half minutes. Break out the disco ball and call the friends: “Skate” is an explosive dance party begging to be planned. Give it a spin below.

    — Mary Siroky
    Contributing Editor

    Honorable Mentions:

    Angel + Dren – “Nirvana”

    On the sun-soaked “Nirvana,” R&B duo Angel + Dren flex their skills as producers and songwriters and create an untouchable vibe. The New York-based twin sisters hearken back to ’90s hip hop, 2000s R&B, and even 2010s dream pop on the track, singing cooly over a psychedelic groove. “Nirvana” is about their adoration for the early ’90s grunge band, but they don’t incorporate any sounds inspired by them — instead, they use it as a nostalgic filter, letting the past speak for itself as they wish for better days.

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    At the same time, it’s a song about their deep love of music, and a testament to how much command Angel + Dren now have over their sound. With reverb-drenched guitars, an octave-spanning bassline, and a drum sound that even Kevin Parker of Tame Impala would be jealous of, Angel + Dren are proving that they’re well on their way to Alt-R&B stardom. — Paolo Ragusa

    Su Lee – “Socially Alive”

    Last May, Seoul-based artist Su Lee went viral with her single “I’ll Just Dance,” about feeling alone and confused, and it perfectly resonated with everyone stuck at home under quarantine. One year later, Lee is back with another anxiety-drenched single, this time fit for a world that has finally started to open up (knock on wood). Despite being about the singer’s debilitating fear of committing repeated faux pas, “Socially Alive” is a delicious slice of bubbly bedroom pop.

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    At first, Lee describes herself as someone so uncool and awkward that “not even a fairy friend can help.” But by the chorus, as the music starts to swell, she vows to give it one more go: “Socially alive, maybe it’s worth a try/ But how? But how.” Hers is a cycle of constant despair punctuated by brief moments of courage. But with each return to the chorus, we get that sense that she’s starting to find her way. — Curtis Sun

    Yola – “Dancing Away In Tears”

    Yola is getting tagged as the next big thing in country music — an honorific that carries somewhat more weight given the fact that as a Black British woman, she’s far from your typical Nashville star. But to call tracks like “Dancing Away in Tears” “country” doesn’t even begin to define the sounds this 38-year-old star has crammed into her knockout sophomore effort, Stand for Myself.

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    Co-written by Easy Eye Sound head Dan Auerbach and The Highwomen’s Natalie Hemby, the track is R&B, soul, disco, doo-wop… Oh, hell, it doesn’t even matter — it’s just good. It’s exactly the type of glittering anti-love song you need after a toxic breakup: “Goodbye baby, goodbye love/ I wish you well, well enough,” she sings on the indelible refrain. Break my heart? Oh, no, darling, I’m gonna break these ankles as I sashay away. — Ben Kaye

    Angels & Airwaves – “Losing My Mind”

    On their latest preview off the upcoming Lifeforms, Angels & Airwaves continue their commitment to return to the punk-fueled sonic palette of their earliest releases. “I live on the edge, I must be losing my mind/ Get out of my head, it’s now the scene of a crime/ This world is on fire and I’m ice/ Can’t balance things lately, I think we’re gonna die/ Must be losing my mind,” Tom DeLonge sings gleefully as robotic verses morph into the track’s propulsive chorus.

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    Whether the band is calling out “idiots” and “racists” or winkingly referencing DeLonge’s long-established dedication to UFOs, the single serves twin purposes as both a song crafted for this specific moment and a signal that the burgeoning pop-punk revival we’re living in is firmly underway, and even the aliens know it. — Glenn Rowley

    Mini Trees – “Carrying On”

    Indie pop has long been a vehicle for musicians to give anxiety-riddled songwriting a bright perspective. On her new single “Carrying On,” Southern California’s Mini Trees becomes the latest artist to wrestle with her unease on a mat of washed guitars and shimmering harmonies.

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    The latest single from Lexi Vega’s solo project arrives as a herald of her debut full-length, Always in Motion. That
    LP title seems to takes on a sardonic tone in the context of “Carrying On” as Vega sings, “Are we just fooling ourselves?/ It’s a momentary lapse, someday when we look back/ But it haunts me that I can’t seem to be carrying on.” Futile though her uncertainty may seem in her head, it comes out in a surreal swirl of electronic propulsion forcing its way forward, just like we all have to do more often than not. — B.K.

    Violet Chachki – “Mistress Violet (feat. Allie X)”

    Yes, you’re correct in assuming that Violet Chachki and Allie X prefer provocative extremes. But did they ask your opinion? No. That’s the mantra behind the duo’s camp-tastic new collaboration, “Mistress Violet.” It turns out Allie X and Violet Chachki are the power couple some pop fans may have never known they needed, but anyone who rightfully devoured Canada’s Drag Race last year (hi Priyanka!) is familiar with both the avant garde star’s appreciation for the high art of drag and her status as a gay icon.

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    The music video for the slinking synth-pop bop only adds to the pair’s allure — a leather-and-leather fever dream that finds the Drag Race champ and pop provocateur all dolled up in their best S&M-inspired high fashion. Now grab your whips, strap on your harnesses and prepare to submit to the replay button. — G.R.

    Isaiah Rashad – “From The Garden (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)”

    After battling through mental health issues and addiction, Isaiah Rashad is back and stronger than ever with The House Is Burning, putting him neck-in-neck with Tyler, the Creator for hip-hop album of the year. Open and vulnerable, yet not without fun, the album shows why Zay is one of the most talented members of the TDE roster. “From the Garden” is a freewheeling rap-off between the Tennessee rapper and Lil Uzi Vert. Zay sets the tone by comparing himself to the DC Comics character Shazam (“mister magic Billy Batson”) before handing over the keys to Lil Uzi Vert for a frenzied verse. After bringing out his space-obsessed cohort’s best, Zay takes the track home with an impressive display of breath control. — Eddie Fu

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    Top Songs Playlist:

    Check out and subscribe to our Spotify Top Songs playlist.

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