Here are my favorite tracks from August 2019, during which I spent a glorious week in Western Newfoundland, listening to Bill Callahan sing about romantic contentment with the person I love, creating a feedback loop of bliss that has carried me to this very moment. September, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
1. Donny Benét – “Second Dinner”
Over an irresistible midnight snack of a post-disco groove, this Aussie sings about his preferred pathway to pleasure these days – overeating.
2. BROCKHAMPTON – “Boy Bye”
Confessional millennial lounge-rap realness.
3. Sheer Mag – “Blood from a Stone”
This Philly quartet doesn’t just re-create 1970s working-man hard-rock like some novelty act. Singer Tina Halladay gives the supposedly tired sound an adrenaline shot to the heart, to the point where you can almost smell the spilled Miller on your Dickies.
4. Rosalía (feat. Ozuna) – “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”
Steel drums and iron-clad devotion were meant to be paired.
5. Esther Rose – “Only Loving You”
Some things never lose their power. Like starry-eyed country songs that rhyme “I love you” with “It’s true.”
6. Young Thug (feat. Lil Baby) – “Bad Bad Bad”
When Young Thug is at his best, every syllable is a hook. When he raps about rose gold helicopter seats on “Bad Bad Bad,” it’s not just an insanely evocative depiction of wealth – it’s a goddamn singalong.
7. Normani – “Motivation”
If an early-’00s R&B revival is upon us, I am here for it.
8. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Planet B”
These Aussie psych-rock weirdos just released their seventh LP in three years. But instead of jumping the shark, they’ve become a shark jumping at us, screaming about our dying planet over ’80s-throwback thrash-metal riffs.
9. Rapsody (feat.a Leikeli47) – “Oprah”
These bars about circulating your wealth through the world, paired with that boom-bap stand-up bass loop? It’s the thrill of winning a car, in sonic form.
10. Miranda Lambert – “Bluebird”
Miranda Lambert singing about resilience will always be a good thing: “Don’t like where I’m at, 34 was bad / So I just turn to 35.”
11. Missy Elliott – “Throw It Back”
The world is less vibrant when Missy Elliott isn’t dropping singles. And wouldn’t you know it, the sky just got bluer.
12. Lana Del Rey – “The Greatest”
This just in: Lana Del Rey’s writing has officially caught up with her persona. Over a weepy classic rock chord progression that Martin Scorsese will be tempted to use over an extended montage, Del Rey sings about a failed relationship with poetic authenticity. That would be enough. But then she goes on to capture the devastating ennui of the present, more concisely than any songwriter I’ve heard this year: “LA’s in flames, it’s getting hot / Kanye West is blond and gone / ‘Life On Mars’ ain’t just a song.”