A black squirrel scurried across my path in Central Park today in the cold rain and while I’m not going to attach any deeper meaning to it ( apart from the fact I rarely see them there), I wanted to acknowledge that it was cool just to run into him or her being all unusual and shiz. Jeezus I’m rambling already. Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST ! I haven’t done this for a couple of weeks because there’s some bigger piles of words on the horizon that are taking my attention, one being the Top 50 SONGS OF THE YEAR as well as a lengthy, maniacal article on some ’80s popsters who are going to remain nameless for a minute. Anyway, that’s all coming in the next week or so and hope you dig it all ! On the off chance you actually miss my hyperbolic scribbling, please head over to covermesongs.com to read my weekly contributions to the world’s best cover songs blog Cover Me ! It’s not my blog as there is some serious quality control employed and awesomely awesome writing by a whole lotta amazing contributors but I am honored to be a small cog. Please go check it out ! Believe me when I tell you the cover version world is an endlessly fascinating, bottomless well of discovery.
Okay, so here are some of the finest pop songs and instrumental interludes (for emo moments) we’ve heard over recent days. Hopefully they will warm your heart and inspire you to kick ass in your daily endeavors. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify.
Listen on Soundcloud:
Listen on Spotify:
“Port Boys” sounds as if it has randomly landed on earth inside a glittery spaceship full of runny mascara from some far off universe where it is currently 1972. It’s a glam ballad that could sit comfortably next to David Bowie’s “Lady Stardust” or, coincidentally enough, a ballad by the guy that very song was actually written about, Marc Bolan. The sound ghosts don’t stop there as there are touches of Nick Cave and Placebo lurking in it’s DNA as well. Yes, that’s a lot of stuff to absorb but want to encourage the wonderful context it should be considered in. Theatrical, mournful and gloriously peculiar.
This latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring our favorite new songs from recent days is kind of small. 2019 has been a crazy good music year, with inevitably more to come so we can just put this down the universe taking a breather. And hey, this is in no way a reflection on the beauty and finery of the songs included this week. In fact we are going to take the half full approach because it so happens there was a brilliantly wonderful album released this week to fatten up your listening schedule.
Michael Kiwanuka’s third album titled Kiwanuka was released this week and it is too, too beautiful. As in every song. Now while The Guardian review of the album this week described it as “one of the greatest albums of the decade”, I’m not going to go there just yet. That’s because I’m currently in throes of complete irrational infatuation with this thing. And so I think it would be best to wait until the emotional smoke clears before I’m saying crazy, over the top shiz about how I want to spend the rest of my life with it or start comparing it to my favorite album of all time, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”… BUT it is without question one of the absolute best things I’ve heard this year, managing somehow to be both tear inducing and life affirming.
It sounds like the past distilled through the lens of the future. It’s ROCK AND SOUL united. Like The Isley Brothers in 1971 disassembling and transforming “Fire And Rain” and “Ohio” into profound, powerful soul. Like the haunting psychedelia of Minnie Riperton on “Les Fleurs”. Like Gil Scott-Heron preaching about how hard it is to be alive while embedded in the sweetest melody. Like the mournful majesty of Friends of Distinction’s “Going In Circles”. “Kiwanuka” just glows with all of this and more. It feels both eerie and like the sun warming your face. It’s instantly memorable and endlessly tuneful.
I know I sound like a nerd saying all that in such a flowery over the top way but I just want to drive home that this thing is really kind of beautiful. Check both that and the wonderful new stuff out below !
Listen on Soundcloud:
Listen to the Playlist AND Michael Kiwanuka on Spotify: