If it helps, think of Mr. Mayer as the token white male in this week’s mix of the best new tracks.
Tierra Whack – “Only Child”
At 3:59, “Only Child” is nearly four times longer that any previous Tierra Whack song—every track on the North Philly’s brilliant debut Whack World was one minute long. This unfairly makes you ask if the song earns its sprawling epic length, especially with its just-OK first verse. But the way Tierra eases into her groove sets you up for the multiple dunks of verse #2, including ”Used to arch my back for you and now I'm your arch-nemesis” and “I don't want to work it out, so cancel our gym membership.” She closes by choosing “money over dick,” which, well, duh.
Palehound – “Killer”
Nothing says murder like a well-honed guitar arpeggio, and as each string shimmers individually and ominously behind her Ellen Kempner pledges vengeance and love as an act of exorcism in a cool simmer of a monotone: “I wanna be the one who kills the man who hurt you, darling.”
John Mayer – “I Guess I Just Feel Like”
I know you all hate to hear this but John Mayer is good at writing songs and he’s also good at singing them. He combines a hack’s facility with craft and a singer-songwriter’s knack for making even a lyrical commonplace feel lived in. With this perfectly John Mayer-ly named ballad, he’s edging away from the pastiche of retro styles on The Search for Everything and its follow-up single, “New Light,” which threatened to hook indie skeptics. And the guitar solo he goes out on lets you know why Deadheads don’t hate him.
Doja Cat feat. Rico Nasty – “Tia Tamera”
Doja reveals she’s named her “twins” for the immortal Mowbrys on the same week Tamera reveals that she’s got a taste for Tia’s breast milk. Synergy? Synchronicity? Or just a reminder that boobs are always a timely topic?
Uffie – “Sadmoney”
Everyone’s favorite scrunch-voiced pop coulda-been is back and she isn’t-quite again, but after she rhymes “Swae Lee” with “Gucci” to prove that she’s kept up in the near-decade since she almost had her moment, she settles on a very 2019 chorus: “I’ll be pretty till it kills me/Pretty even if it kills me.”
Julia Jacklin – “Pressure to Party”
This Australian singer-songwriter’s new album Crushing surveys a breakup from a series of unexpected angles. Here she describes the newly single life a series of potential pitfalls, while capturing how the swirl of well-meaning advice launched toward a breakup-ee in her fragile, disoriented state is processed as “pressure” that can only be staved off with a promise “to try to love again soon.” Oh, and she rocks out too.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.