Texas singer-songwriter James McMurty has written a song called “Remembrance” just in time for election day tomorrow. It’s a Dylanesque folk number looking back at previous elections. This tune isn’t currently planned for an album release, but McMurtry was moved to write an election-themed song, one that encompasses elections of the past around the world, including Spain’s first democratic government, the Reagan election in 1980, as well as Thatcher in the UK. McMurty asserts in the song that “those placing faith in intelligence / Must surely be out of their minds / Out of their minds,” which echoes contemporary analyses of the 2016 contest and Bill Maher’s frequent comments that the U.S. public isn’t well-educated enough to make smart decisions about candidates.
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If you watch TV, you’ve probably seen the ad: a series of quick shots of white folks of various types (chic young women; a straight couple in tennis duds with their dogs; a guy in a retro brown suit and bowtie) smiling and styling while a catchy, old school pop tune plays. The ad is for the Venetian Hotel’s new “Come as You Are” campaign; the tune is “Tintorella di Luna”, by the Italian singer, Mina.
Andrew Paschal: I have to confess that I never made it as far as “Animals” when attempting to navigate the glitchy noise of last year’s Garden of Delete, intrigued though I was by its thematic exploration of adolescence and identity. I’m grateful to have the second chance to get to know this amazing track, however. “Animals” is downright pretty, and also tragic, with harpsichord-like keys elliptically framing the pitch-altered, futuristic eulogy of what I suppose should still be called vocals. This is one of the most emotionally direct and gratifying tracks I’ve heard from Oneohtrix Point Never, and I’m now considering giving this album a second chance now that I know it does indeed pay off to stick with its challenges. [9/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Kid Cudi deals an intoxicating dose of psychedelic midnight sensuality and rolling beats on “Frequency”, a track that is all neon and silhouettes, just like its video. He murmurs and belts lyrics with equal rapture in the blissful throes of a sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll kind of hedonism, going to places dark, exciting, and promising. It’s the kind of song that will catch you and pull you in further once you let it, a few minutes of total surrender. [8/10]
Brice Ezell: There’s an oddity to the standard critical narrative of the Weeknd’s music following his major commercial breakthrough, 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness. For years, critics invoked comparisons to Michael Jackson when discussing Abel Tesfaye’s voice. That comparison played a factor in the high praise bestowed upon the Weeknd’s Trilogy mixtapes, particularly the lauded House of Balloons (2011). Yet since Tesfaye hit it big last year thanks to mega-hit singles like “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”, there’s a growing perception that the Weeknd has “sold out” by candy-coating his nihilist R&B for a commercial audience. There are credible arguments to be made about whether or not Kiss Land (2013) or Beauty Behind the Madness are better or worse than the Trilogy mixtapes, but those arguments shouldn’t have anything to do with the Weeknd being “too pop”. After all, if you’re gonna compare Tesfaye to the King of Pop, you shouldn’t be surprised when he starts flirting with a pop audience.