MuuTunes: June 2016
June hasn’t been so much of an “emotional rollercoaster” as a “fucking inescapable nightmarish hellscape with brief moments of euphoria sprinkled in between.” But since that term isn’t quite as catchy, “emotional rollercoaster” will do.
Following the horrific events in Orlando less than two weeks ago, the Internet has already moved on with its click-baiting and meme-making and Taylor Swift-relationship-naming and celebrity-PERFECTLY-hits-back-at-body-shaming.
The Internet! Frankly, even Anna Wintour and her bangs are fed up with fighting to stay above the muck. I love her whole, smart quote — it echoes my feelings from my super depressing-but-honest post about the State Of Blogging last year. (Not alone, not alone, not alone…) So what I’m really saying is: Anna Wintour is a major MuuMuse stan and stole all my ideas. @ me, Anna.
Yet even in times of great despair and frustration and exhaustion and Internet overload, there is always refuge in music.
There is so, so much good music coming out that I’ve been wanting to talk about. (And trust me, if I could update more frequently, I would…)
Also: Shout out to the readers who have reached out via DM or email or tweet to tell me that these playlists make their day in some way. Those comments actually make my day. So thank you!
And now, some particular highlights…
- The always inspiring independent spirit Moxiie, a longtime fave, returns with a new cut called “Fvrs,” a sensual serving that envelops the speakers like a silk kimono (perhaps from the Brintimates collection?), and only further serves to prove that she’s not one to be tied down to any one genre. This time around, she’s veered into late night moody R&B territory, with a sound that wouldn’t feel out of place sandwiched in between FKA twigs, The Weeknd and BANKS. She continues to do no wrong.
- The new Shawn Mendes song, “Treat You Better,” is a BOP, as the teens might say. I very rarely listen to male pop stars because I’m bored by anything that doesn’t involve high heels and wigs, but I really have no problem whatsoever with this inoffensive pop-making pretty boy. The way he forcefully sings “BET-TUH THUHN HE CAN!” alone is worth the price of admission. (And that price is “free,” because we all stream your music for free and take this for granted and then hungrily demand more music from our faves.) Go on, you adorable lil’ Canadian goober!
- Speaking of pop dudes, I completely skipped out on Charlie Puth‘s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” with Selena Gomez when it first dropped because I once saw him make out with Meghan Trainor on stage and found it profoundly unsettling. That said, this song is maybe, maybe lowkey one of the greatest pop songs of the year? It’s unassuming, but that ever-so-subtle heartbreaker of chorus is catchy. Dangerously, unbelievably catchy. Listen to the song, and I guarantee you’ll hear him whimper “we don’t talk anymore” in the car, in the shower, in bed — everywhere. Selenita sounds lovely, and I believe the track is picking up steam at radio. Considering his live track record, I pray these two perform the song live at the VMAs and end off with a shocking 69 session. King of controversy!
- The Garbage album is a jagged piece of anxiety, depression and tension at a time when things are particularly bleak. Escapism is pleasant and much needed in pop, but there’s a kind of satisfaction that comes when tip-toeing into the shadows and facing our demons head on, especially when Shirley Fucking Manson, Queen of Worldly Wisdom, is holding our hands and supplying such a beautiful, morbid soundtrack. I’ve thrown two favorites (“Even Though Our Love Is Doomed” and “Night Drive Loneliness”) into the mix, but certainly check out the whole of Strange Little Birds.
- Let me tell you something: I’m a sucker for the worldweary. Kwamie Liv is a nomadic mystery singer of sorts currently based in Copenhagen, who built up a bit of blog buzz years ago with songs like “5 AM,” despite her very minimal online presence. A few weeks ago, a half-decent guy — I’ll call him El Diablo — introduced me to Kwamie’s “Lost In The Girl,” and it was love at first “lost.” If Lana Del Rey and Lorde held a sad girl songwriting party next door to a Parisian discotheque on a lonely Friday night, this might be the dreary, dreamy end result of that session. “Lost in the girl…” Hypnotic, electronic heaven.
- Little Boots is a delight to have around, isn’t she? Every now and then, she pops up with just the right synth-pop sweetness you didn’t know your collection was missing. In this case, it’s her new 2-track Afterhours single, featuring “Staring at the Sun” (produced by the legendary Richard X!) and the Sam Sparro and Boots co-helmed “Face To Face.” Both offer different flavors of disco greatness in equal measure. It feels so right — and so effortless. (And for those of you craving more, more, more Minogue, this ought to satiate the Kylie cravings.)
- Tiffany is the K-Pop gift that keeps on giving. Girls’ Generation are incredible as the hugely successful troupe they are (#JusticeForJessica), and Taeyeon‘s solo stuff is great, but the love I’m feeling for Tiffany is next level — and I had no idea she even had this in her. Not only is Tiffany’s debut record I Just Wanna Dance a start-to-finish solid collection of warm, lush synth-pop and R&B and Nicola Roberts co-writes (!) with a Britney Spears nod of an album cover (!!!), but her contribution to SM Entertainment’s new STATION channel, “Heartbreak Hotel,” is every bit as satisfying. In fact, according to an interview she did with Billboard (she speaks English fluently!), the song’s actually a prequel to “I Just Wanna Dance.” Get it — first the break-up, then the dancing? Also, she shows Girls’ Generation videos of Girls Aloud performances, which is literally fan-fiction pulled straight from my wildest cross-girl group dreams. The only thing left now is for QUEEN NUHDEEN to join the ranks of Girls’ Generation. Make it happen, SM!
- Not to be outdone, the Queen of K-Pop herself BoA has reasserted her position on the throne yet again with “No Matter What” featuring Beenzino for SM’s STATION, a not-so-distant cousin to Major Lazer and Justin Bieber‘s summery, stutter-y House collaborations. It’s a somewhat different sound for her — not that she can’t handle any genre thrown her way, especially in terms of dance — but it feels fresh and appropriate for Summer 2016. BoA is an international treasure.
- If Fifth Harmony‘s awkward construction zone hammering of tires doesn’t exactly tick your box for girl group greatness, you’re in luck: The G Girls have arrived, and they’re taking no prisoners. Why? Because they are the criminals. A wise woman once proclaimed: “Go go call the police, go call the govunah” — and four flaw-free Romanian women answered the call with their own “Call The Police.” And they’re not just anybody: We’re talking INNA (!!!), ALEXANDRA STAN (!!!), Antonia (?) and Lori (???). The video is also a fucking inspiration, and if it doesn’t make you embrace the slutty Romanian Queen inside of you (because we all have one), then you and I just ain’t speaking the same language. (Note: I don’t speak Romanian. I let the funky music do the talking.)
There are, at least like 30 other fantastic songs (and counting!) on the playlist. So subscribe.