Welcome to a brand new recurring hashtag Friday franchise: #StillWorthListeningToOnMonday, a collection of the week’s best releases and #NewMusicFriday standouts you’ll actually care about once the weekend ends. Don’t waste your valuable stream worth a fraction of a cent.
Toni Braxton, “Deadwood”
Fact: there are few voices I love more in music than that of Miss Toni Braxton. That husky, soulful tone — like buttuh. Three years after her incredible duets album with Babyface, Love, Marriage, & Divorce, she’s finally doing it all on her own again. “Deadwood” is the first cut off of her upcoming album, amazingly titled Sex & Cigarettes, which promises to be “sexy” and “independent.” (Take all of my money.) This swaggering guitar-led midtempo era opener is an empowering kiss-off to properly kick off this Queen’s return to form. “You got me down, but I ain’t out…” It’s good, but then, she could sing her way through a biology major’s senior thesis, and I’d be all ears. (“Un-break my beaker…“)
Nick Jonas, “Find You”
It’s convenient when a very, very attractive person makes legitimately good pop music, and, more often than not, that is what Nick Jonas does. Inspired by an experience at Coachella after smoking and listening to House beats in a rave tent (who among us hasn’t done the same?), “Find You” is Nick’s idea of the fusion between the beats he heard and his pop sound. The song was co-penned with Simon Wilcox and produced by Jack & Coke, gliding across a slick thump and a pronounced guitar melody. (He’s been listening to country music as inspiration for his next album, which could explain the slight twang.) Refreshingly, “Find You” doesn’t rely at all on obvious radio trends — no trop-pop to be found here. (It also vaguely reminds me of Linda Sundblad‘s “Lose You,” also known as one of the best songs ever.) The chilly, depressed-on-the-dance floor vibe is perfectly timed for the post-summer comedown. Production aside, Nick’s wistful, understated vocal delivery is what really sells the track: “And I never really know just where to find you…” Weird…because I’m right here, Nick.
Nigel Stanford, Automatica
Yeah, I cheated and picked a whole album. Sue me. Nigel Stanford‘s Automatica, out today (September 15), is the New Zealand-bred electronica multi-instrumentalist-slash-robot-nerd‘s first full body of work since 2014 — and the first to feature guest vocalists. His music’s been used by NASA and the European Space Agency in the past, but he better get used to hearing himself across dance floors down here on Earth. Highlights on the LP are frequent, including the synth-y ’80s sound of the Catey Shaw collaborations: “If I Go Down,” “Talk to Your Lover” and “Stay With Me Tonight,” which should satisfy Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn lovers. “Everything Changed” with Dallin Applebaum brings on the electro-emotions. Need to get lifted? “Icarus” with Elizaveta, a seven-minute opus, is the trance-iest.
Joseph of Mercury, “Angel”
Three dudes getting the spotlight in the same week? Honestly, I don’t even know who I am anymore. Joseph of Mercury is a dreamy retro-style crooner on the rise, and his slow-burning single “Angel” sounds like a forgotten classic unearthed from a vinyl crate from the first play. Similar to the way Lana Del Rey stopped us dead in our tracks with “Video Games” eons ago, Joseph’s throwback sound evokes Elvis Presley-esque hunky heartbreaker vibes. (It also helps that the accompanying video is a dreamy recreation of the Teen Angel scene from Grease.) That chorus, though? Now that’s a chorus.
Lights, “New Fears”
We love a concept record, don’t we ladies? Lights created a comic book series alongside her new record Skin & Earth (out next week, September 22), and both pieces of art simultaneously inspired the creation of the other. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s been dropping tracks monthly, and “New Fears” is the latest; a cocky bout of ever-so-slightly twangy reassurance — and a fiery flame in comparison to her icy Siberia. Shine bright, Lights.
Galantis, “Hey Alligator”
Hey, alligator: something sound familiar? Galantis, the EDM brainchild of Christian Karlsson (AKA one-half of Bloodshy & Avant) and Linus Eklöw, is back this week with another round of vocal-twisting, beat-mashing Swede-pop brilliance for the dance floor. “Hey Alligator” was co-penned by none other than the American Girl herself, Bonnie McKee. And while the duo makes a practice of tweaking all their track’s vocals, this one is unmistakably Bonnie crooning the tune. (Here’s her un-pitched solo version in comparison — we’ll need this version officially released at some point too, Bon.)