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Best Songs Ever: New singles reviewed, featuring Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Justice & more

‘Best Songs Ever’ features various contributors to The Spinoff Music assessing recent songs and singles.

SONG OF THE WEEK

Miranda Lambert – ‘Pink Sunglasses’

The first lady of country’s new double album The Weight Of These Wings is chocka with hits (and she plays around with vocal personas nearly to the same extent Beyoncé did on her self-titled album), but as perfectly crafted as classic conceits like ‘Things That Break’ are, it’s the lazy swagger of ‘Pink Sunglasses’ that leaps out – an ode to the pick-me-up power of cheap fashion, with squealing glam guitars displaced to a top-down cruise on a sunny day. “I was looking for some tortoise shells,” she winks, “but these were on sale.” – Stevie Kaye

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: MIRANDA LAMBERT, JOHN LEGEND, SYD, JUSTICE

John Legend ft. Chance The Rapper – ‘Penthouse Floor’

John Legend and Chance The Rapper and funk and gospel and penthouse floors. It’s good. With Chance being one of hip hop’s coolest and most relevant artists, it makes sense for the Legend to choose him as a tool for diversifying. Detailing the wide-eyed first touch of fame, the loop is steamy and leaves its Top 40 competition, Bruno Mars’ ‘Versace On The Floor,’ for dead. It’s a move away from the wedding songs Legend has grown a reputation for writing, but one he desperately needed to maintain any kind of street cred. – Kate Robertson

Kingdom ft. Syd – ‘Nothin’

Slow-burn alt-R&B has one of the highest degrees of difficulty at the moment. The Soundcloud databanks are so full of smooth vocals over slow, heavy, cut-up beats that it’s hard to distinguish one post-FKA Twigs slow-jam from the next. One of the best doing it in the most low-key way is Kingdom, an LA-based producer who is currently prepping his aptly-titled forthcoming debut album Tears in the Club. First single ‘Nothin’, featuring the Internet’s Syd Tha Kyd (who now just seems to go by Syd), is a super-satisfying turn-it-up-and-drive-slow-on-a-sunny-day banger. Bring on those tears. – Henry Oliver

The Weeknd – ‘I Feel It Coming’

Remember when The Weeknd was all dark and mysterious, all dreadlocks and drugs, desperation and depravity? Now, after the chart-topping ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’, Abél Tesfaye sounds like he’s actually kinda loving the good life rather than obsessing over how deathly and boring it is to do lines and have threesomes every night. On ‘I Feel It Coming’, he’s all Michael Jackson optimism, with a pitch-perfect ‘80s pop Daft Punk hitting all the right mid-tempo notes. It’s as easy to like as it is to forget. – HO

Justice – ‘Fire’

Speaking of Daft Punk … Sometimes artists do something so well that they feel that they have to move on to something else, even if that means leaving behind still-fertile ground. Daft Punk were perhaps the most Daft Punk they could get on their second album, Discovery, before moving on, first to robotic rock, then to a survey of genres that taste had seemingly passed by. But the Discovery project wasn’t finished. And just like how Donovan was there to sweep up the disenfranchised when Dylan went electric, and Muse were happy to suck the earth dry of any moisture Radiohead left behind when Thom Yorke started actively alienating the band’s early fans, Justice, a French-dude duo have happily filled the void left by the continued hi-fi wanderings of that other French-dude duo, albeit without the helmets and pageantry. ‘Fire’ is as good as any of Justice’s continuation of the Discovery project of crate-digger disco/house/funk. Okay, so maybe as not as good as their breakthrough ‘D.A.N.C.E.’ or the more recent ‘Safe and Sound’, but it’s still pretty good. – HO

Pissed Jeans – ‘The Bar Is Low’

If the world is a swamp, sometime you just want to wallow in the sludge, and no contemporary band scratches that itch like Pennsylvania’s Pissed Jeans (telling refrains from their poppiest song, 2009’s ‘False Jesii Pt 2’ – “I don’t bother”, “No to everything”). The first single off their upcoming fifth album Why Love Now (produced by Lydia Lunch!) doesn’t deviate from their well-honed Flipper-style churn, with frontman Matt Korvette’s self-laceratingly withering lyrics timely dispatches from the trenches of toxic masculinity – “I’m the picture of the noble guy, now let me explain whhhhhhhhhy”. – SK

Washington – ‘Saint Lo’

Sitting dangerously close to the post-Pure Heroine synthpop era we’ve all been exhausted by, ‘Saint Lo’ instead evokes weird pop flashbacks to a time when Kylie Minogue couldn’t get you out of her head and all music videos were set in the future. The percussion is sparkly, but not cheap, and for something so small, the light crash as the chorus rolls is beyond satisfying. A song that’s neither floating or falling, it truly is the dreamiest of listening experiences. – KR

Julie Byrne – ‘Natural Blue’

Calmness. Relaxation. Guitar. Sky. Soft. Water. Deep. Blue. Round. Whole. Weight. Wood. Serenity. River. Field. Sadness. Forest. Guitar. Relaxation. Calmness. – HO


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