Mystikal, "Hit Me"
Mystikal went to prison for a long time, on some very horrible charges, and so the question, as always, is: How much should we allow ourselves to separate the person from the product? It'd be easier, of course, if the dude had fallen off since his '00s heyday but, somehow, in his fourth decade, he seems to be getting stronger. On "Hit Me" — "even the white people sittingupinthismotherfucka can'tdonothingbutsay WOW" — he channels James Brown shamelessly, and with great might, and cooks up a marvel.
Master P Featuring Alley Boy and Fat Trel, "No Way Jose"
Speaking of dudes being unexpectedly productive in the latter stages of their career: I was not prepared for how good this song is, and now I'm feeling thoroughly shaken up. Don't suffer like me. Prepare yourself mentally for greatness — yes, greatness from Master P, in 2012 — and then click play.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "We No Who U R"
From the official announcement of Push the Sky Away, the upcoming 15th Bad Seeds joint: "The songs on this album took form in a modest notebook with shellac covers over the course of almost a year. The notebook is a treasured analogue artifact but the Internet is equally important to Nick: Googling curiosities, being entranced by exotic Wikipedia entries 'whether they’re true or not.'" Also: There is a naked lady on the cover!
Ryan Adams, "Shining Through the Dark"
Judd Apatow had Ryan Adams dust off this track — which was originally titled "Shine Through the Dark," and originally appeared on a charity compilation — for the This Is 40 soundtrack, and Ryan also has a small cameo in the film. SPOILER: In the last 30 seconds of the flick he seduces Leslie Mann away from Paul Rudd with an achingly gorgeous acoustic jam written just for her, and then they run away to Mexico to open a highly profitable beachside pickled-okra stand. You never even see it coming!
Jana Kramer, "Whiskey"
Producer of "Whiskey" (from country up-and-comer Jana Kramer): "Hey, Jana, cool track. Real good vibes. Quiiick question though: Are you not at all concerned that you're fulfilling genre stereotypes a bit too on the nose here? I mean, comparing a fraught relationship with a man to the taste of hard liquor? Specifically whiskey? [Long pause.] Ha ha, no, I'm just fucking around, this is perfect, let's go get some grits!"
Sigur Ros, "Leaning Toward Solace"
Here's another clip from Sigur Ros's ambitious video series Mystery Film Experiment, in which they enlist top-notch directors to make artsy-as-all-hell clips for their swirlingly dreamy bangers. This one's directed by Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways), and boasts both a weepy Elle Fanning dressed like a post-apocalyptic ballerina warrior and John Hawkes turning into a baby. And yet, still, it's outshone by another Mystery Film Experiment entry. And that would be: the one with Shia LaBeouf's dong in it.
John Legend, "Who Did That to You"
Rick Ross, "100 Coffins"
Not one but two entries from the Django Unchained soundtrack: first, John Legend, sounding just a bit more gully than we're used to; second, Rick Ross (on a Jamie Foxx beat!) sounding exactly as sneering as we're used to. And yet, we still pine for the Frank Ocean jam we were promised. But as QT himself explained, Frankie "wrote a fantastic ballad that was truly lovely and poetic in every way, there just wasn't a scene for it. I could have thrown it in quickly just to have it, but that's not why he wrote it and not his intention. So I didn't want to cheapen his effort. But the song is fantastic, and when Frank decides to unleash it on the public, they'll realize it then."
FIDLAR, "Gimme Something"
Pillowfight, "Get Your Shit Together"
Dan the Automator teams up with the singer Emily Wells as Pillowfight, and together the two offer the kind of advice that should be plastered on motivational posters and coffee mugs everywhere. GYST, that's the muthafuckin' motto.
Yasha Swag, "Pickles"
Pickles pickles pickles pickles when I party party like me / Pickles pickles pickles pickles when I look look like me / Pickles pickles pickles pickles you know you got it when you have it / So I have it when I got it bitch please bitch please I got pickles — okaaaay that seems like enough for this week. Go grab yourself some Claussens (whole deli half sours is the move) and enjoy the weekend.