Keeping up with new music can be exhausting, even impossible. From the weekly album releases to standalone singles dropping on a daily basis, the amount of music is so vast it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks. Even following along with the Uproxx recommendations on daily basis can be a lot to ask, so every Monday we’re offering up this rundown of the best music released in the last week.
This week, finds the anticipated release of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born Soundtrack, Thom Yorke offering up one of the best solo songs of his career, and Anderson .Paak teaming with Kendrick Lamar for a breezy, funky ode to the California ethos. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for music. Check out the highlights below.
A Star Is Born OST
There might not be a more anticipated music-related movie this year than A Star Is Born, and the music from it is a big reason why. The collection features a host of new recordings from star Lady Gaga and the film’s director (and other star) Bradley Cooper, with credits ranging from Jason Isbell to Mark Ronson. The advance releases, like the wildly affecting “Shallow,” have created something of a sensation to the internet, making many believe this could earn Gaga and Cooper some shiny new hardware.
Phosphorescent — C’est La Vie
In his first album in five years, Phosphorescent‘s Matthew Houck taps into the down home juxtaposition between the joyful and the somber that’s long characterized his music. The record finds him living with new love in a new home, but his weary singing and ear for subtle beauty have remained constants in his career. C’est La Vie is another example of why Houck is one of our best and most underrated songwriting forces, with the time fans have waited for the album evident in the care with which it has been constructed.
Cat Power — Wanderer
Cat Power‘s career has now found her in the spotlight for more than 20 years now, but this round for her new album Wanderer might find her getting the respect she deserves. The album features Lana Del Rey on backing vocals and a Rihanna cover, but the narrative of the album found her parting ways with her longtime label of Matador after they asked her to go more pop. In his review of the record, our own Steven Hyden called the album “her strongest release since You Are Free, and a stirring return to that record’s subdued, stripped-back squall.”
Eric Church — Desperate Man
Straddling the genres of country and rock, Eric Church doesn’t play by other people’s rules. And though Church will still identify and sit comfortably in the country world, our own Corbin Reiff argues for its rock bona fides: “Loud guitars, funky and outlandish drum lines, open-hearted lyrics.” In a world where the most acclaimed country stars are broadening their horizons, Church does so without the impression that it wasn’t a central part of his DNA. It’s what makes him still one of country music’s most interesting and crowd-pleasing forces.
Adrianne Lenker — Abysskiss
Big Thief would never be accused of being an expansive rock band, but the indie group’s compositions do obscure Adrianne Lenker’s songwriting with enough distorted guitar to take the project out of folk territory. So, her solo album is a much more intimate affair, but hardly a big leap from the elements of Big Thief that her fans love. Written over the last few years, this record paints an alternate history of a prolific artist, showing that behind the great band is an artist always working at expressing herself.
Sheck Wes — Mudboy
“Mo Bamba” rapper Sheck Wes is finally releasing his much-anticipated debut. On the record, fans can get to the heart of just what exactly he means when the Senegalese American rapper calls himself “mudboy.” The album promises to put this aspect of his person front and center, without the need to put his label bosses Kanye West and Travis Scott under the spotlight to help elevate his own stature. Sheck Wes wants to stand on his own.
St. Vincent — “Slow Slow Disco”
The third version of this song released, and the third essential take of the track. Following a lush orchestral album version and an upbeat industrial remix, St. Vincent’s piano-only version of the song preceded the announcement of a piano-only version of her Masseduction album, now titled Masseducation. The song is graceful and beautiful in any format, and the fact that St. Vincent feels comfortable enough to share so many forms of the tune speaks volumes.
Thom Yorke — “Has Ended”
Thom Yorke‘s Suspiria soundtrack makes him the latest member of Radiohead to try his hand at high-profile movie scores. But unlike Jonny Greenwood’s work with Paul Thomas Anderson, Yorke is including songs with vocals that can stand comfortably on their own. “Has Ended” is vibey as all hell, operating near trip-hop territory in its aesthetic with Yorke slinking his way around shadowy corners with his haunting vocals. It’s a masterclass in mood from one of music’s most singular presences.
Sharon Van Etten — “Comeback Kid”
In the long wait for new music that included a t-shirt campaign to get some clarity on when the album might appear, fans were greeted with both the record announcement and a new song this week. The track is a little more production-heavy than we’re used to from SVE, but it’s just another example of her mutability and how her voice sounds appealing in almost any format. Don’t call it a comeback.
Anderson .Paak — “Tints” ft. Kendrick Lamar
One of the week’s most bizarre moments came during a small but vocal backlash to Anderson .Paak’s new song. Maybe you need to, like, enjoy the idea of California to enjoy Paak, but his retro breezy vibes are the sonic equivalent to good times, ready to soundtrack a roller rink or a cookout — basically, anywhere there is a positive energy. Kendrick’s presence is simply an added bonus as if he couldn’t be kept away from the sunshine, either. Real west coast heads understand.
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan — “1999”
While the world already has the definitive 1999 song, two of pop’s most exciting young voices, Charli XCX and Troye Sivan, prove there is room for one more. Whereas Prince’s original was looking forward to the party the end of the century would bring, these millennials are looking back at the year with nostalgia, calling out to Britney Spears with a forlorn longing. It’s a song that will make some people feel old, but only until the track’s boisterous pop bliss makes you want to sprint to the dancefloor.