After a few weeks’ hiatus, we’re back with a new week in music! As we stare down the end of the year, it feels like the aggregated playlists of new music clog up with remixes, acoustic covers, and Spotify studio sessions. Luckily, that just makes it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff, and boy, there is a lot of delicious wheat to devour from the likes of Willow Smith, Taylor Swift, and Julien Baker. Here are the songs I’ve been listening to on repeat.
Track 1: Willow, “Boy”
Because I somehow missed Willow Smith’s killer 2015 album Ardipithecus, the last song I heard from now the now 17-year-old musician was “Whip My Hair,” a song that came out when Willow was literally 10 years old. So imagine my surprise when I pressed play on “Boy,” the first track on her new record The 1st.
The baroque pop track has Willow singing about a new love interest who loves Tarantino movies, who she’s worried about impressing–“I can’t help the thought he thinks I’m boring”–all over a sweeping, violin-heavy orchestra.
Why am I so late to the Willow bandwagon, I ask myself?? Don’t be like me.
Track 2: Taylor Swift, “Call It What You Want”
We’re now just a week away from whatever Taylor Swift is about to give us with her sixth record, Reputation. But in the meantime, Swift has released the album’s fourth single, “Call It What You Want.”
Now, I’m a longtime Swift fan who has felt lukewarm at best about a lot of these singles. But this new one is good and chill and finally features some of that lyricism that Swift has, you know, built her career on — and that has largely been missing from our first taste of Reputation. “Call It Want You Want” is a pulled-back single, and Swift’s obvious restraint makes lines like “My baby’s fly like a jet stream, high above the whole scene, loves me like I’m brand new” feel sweet and playful.
Track 3: Julien Baker, “Claws In Your Back”
Julien Baker’s haunting debut record Sprained Ankle was the soundtrack to my fall/winter of 2015, so I’m so pleased she’s released a new sad record in Turn Off The Lights for me to enjoy through the cold months.
The Memphis singer-songwriter tends to save the best for last, and that’s the case here with the album’s final track, the blunt piano force of “Claws In Your Back.”
There’ are only three tracks this week, mainly because I want you to fill tracks 4 and 5 with more Julien Baker songs (recommendations: “Hurt Less” and “Sour Breath”). See you next week after Taylor-pocalypse!