Jessie Ware, "Sweet Talk"
One of the best songs of the year gets a video, and it's a "Sky's the Limit" kind of deal: Jessie and her producer go about recording hot music, rocking hot shows, and eating white-bread-and-mayonnaise sandwiches, but it's actually microscopic little tiny moppet stand-ins, doing their best to look like they know where the "on" switch for the Korg is. The music biz is a tough bitch, kids. Don't you go growing up too fast.
A-Trak Featuring Juicy J, Jim Jones, Flatbush Zombies, El-P, and Flosstradamus, "Piss Test (Remix)"
A-Trak's boutique label Fool's Gold drops Loosies, its first compilation, on December 18, and the collection's crown jewel is this here overstuffed posse cut, helmed by the big boss himself. Speaking of loosies: One time I was at a bodega way uptown and the guy in front of me was buying a couple of cigarettes and some brewskies and then absentmindedly turned around and looked at me, and I had to break eye contact in shame because all I had was sunflower seeds and a Kiwi Strawberry Snapple.
Wavves, "Sail to the Sun"
And here we have a preacher whoring, drugging, and, in general, very much not following the teachings of the Gospels. Because sometimes it takes a couple of stoner-rock dudes from San Diego to reveal the blatant hypocrisies inherent in every facet of American society. The government lies! The TV lies! Your neighbor lies!, etc.
Ab-Soul, "Only 1"
On this track, Ab-Soul — Kendrick Lamar's lesser-known but no-less-promising band mate in Black Hippy and label mate on TDE — describes himself as an "artist arsonist / a good Samaritan with a bad habit / Kendrick Lamar on a acid tablet." Just seems kind of weird there, to give away the whole secret to your lane. What if Kendrick decides to wrong you, drops a tab, and then just goes ahead and records the whole album you were gonna record?
Parquet Court, "Stoned and Starving"
Stereogum points our attention to this little number, an overlooked gem from earlier this year. In the jittery jam, Parquet Courts find themselves in a bind: They are walking aimlessly around the obscure neighborhood of Ridgewood, Queens, bored and thirsty and high and, most of all, starving, with all that Swedish fish and liquorice doing nothing to abate the pain. And as great as this song is, it's doomed for second place in 2012's Songs About Being Stoned competition — King Tuff has had that tourney in the bag for a while now.
MeLo-X Featuring Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly, "Live From East Flatbush"
Dude names himself "Melo-X," then delivers a preternaturally breezy banger that's almost entirely sharp kick drums and gooey warm keys? I have no problem with truth in advertising.
Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"
Yeah, yeah, Taylor Swift running around dingy motel rooms and violent dive bars and nutso punk shows and sexy desert raves — that's all good and novel for America's (Steely-Eyed, Maniacally Calculating) Sweetheart. But seriously: In the history of images recorded to film, has one youth ever let their wild spirit roam free without the aid of a convertible in which to throw his/her hands up? You know, some of us had Volvos growing up. Very hard to dramatically come of age/stunt in a Volvo.
Young Jeezy, "El Jefe Intro"
King L, "Band Nation"
Two new mixtapes this week worth your attention, from two different sectors of the rap game: In this corner, grizzled Atlanta vet Young Jeezy's It's the World; and in the other corner, Chicago drill scene heavy hitter King Louie's Drilluminati. Side note: At the rate with which rappers have taken to appropriating the Illuminati, is it only a matter of time before the secret centuries-old world-controlling organization rises up out of its dark recesses to — much like those snooty Frenchies at Cristal — protect its brand from hip-hop infiltration?
Marnie Stern, "Year of the Glad"
"Year of the Glad" comes to us off Marnie Stern's upcoming new album, The Chronicles of Marnia. It is her fourth album, after 2007's In Advance of the Broken Arm, 2008's
This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That, and 2010's Marnie Stern. To recap: Marnie Stern waited until her fourth album to name one The Chronicles of Marnia. Even if you like nothing at all about Ms. Stern, you must respect her restraint.
Oneohtrix Point Never, "Blue Drive"
Looking for a "Sharper Image nature sounds compilation" kind of vibe, but with a New Yorker–approved pedigree? Why, you've come to the right place!