The Monthly Mixtape: Steven Hyden’s Favorite Songs From May 2018

Cultural Critic

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Every month Uproxx Cultural Critic Steven Hyden compiles a playlist of his favorite songs from new albums.

Mitski, “Geyser”

Be The Cowboy, the much anticipated follow-up to Puberty 2, won’t be out until August 17. But the first single “Geyser” has the sweep of an album, building from a quiet murmur to an arena-rock roar in just about two-and-a-half thrilling minutes. Mitski has hinted in interviews that Cowboy might be a departure, but “Geyser” is just as rousing as her signature song, “Your Best American Girl.”

John Mayer, “New Light”

The defining soft-rock balladeer of the early 21st century, who then remade himself as the guardian of Jerry Garcia’s legacy, has pulled off another nice reinvention as the missing link between Boz Scaggs and Ariel Pink. This lightly funky workout is the official song of the summer for so-uncool-they’re-actually-cool dads everywhere.

Dawes, “Crack The Case”

This LA band has quietly amassed one of the more consistent catalogs in all of ’10s left-coast Americana, steadily putting out one very good album every year or two for the past decade. The forthcoming Passwords (due out June 22) starts off on a ham-fisted note with the political number “Living In The Future,” but the rest of the album thankfully is in the vein of “Crack The Case,” a spare, synth-accented folk-pop number that ruminates on fake news and the value of forgiveness. Fans of Springsteen’s Tunnel Of Love period will want to pay special attention.

Jennifer Castle, “Crying Shame”

This Ontario singer-songwriter’s latest record is called Angels Of Death, and while the “death” part hangs heaviest on this song cycle about mortality, it’s Castle’s beguiling delivery that justifies the allusion to “angels.” In “Crying Shame,” Castle sounds like a ghost in her own song, floating above a steady drumbeat, a handful of piano notes, and wide swaths of open space.

Pusha T, “Infrared”

In the wake of the take-no-prisoners diss track “The Story Of Adidon,” it’s easy to forget the fire-starting song that initially sparked the Pusha T-Drake feud. But the economy and low-key viciousness of “Infrared,” in which Pusha calls out Drake as a hack who doesn’t write his own lyrics, holds up better to repeat listens.

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