OK, I understand that if the world were genuinely ending immediately you might have other priorities. But you’ve got another few weeks at least, and really, these songs are very good.
Lana Del Rey – “The Greatest”
If the party’s really over this time, at least Lana’s here to deliver the ridiculous elegy our ridiculous culture deserves. She muses about the Beach Boys’ worst single and Kanye’s worst fashion decision, and voices the simplest, most aching regret we all share: “Miss doing nothing the most of all.” And unlike Father John Misty and probably 90 percent of your Twitter feed, she still cares enough about our silly species to regret the apocalypse rather than cheer it on, and that empathy is heartening.
1975 – “People”
Then again, you could stop the world from ending, you know. Matty Healy of the 1975 has spent much of his career working mildly ironic variations on music too wispy for me to notice much to begin with. But this time he’s angry and sardonic, with no time for finesse: “Wake up, wake up, wake up/It's Monday morning and we've only got a thousand of them left/Well, I know it feels pointless and you don't have any money/But we're all just gonna try our fucking best.”
Vince Staples – “So What (Episode 01)”
Whatever The Vince Staples Show is exactly, it’s overdue—Staples is the funniest dude in rap today, as you’ll find out hearing him riff on the Obamas’ riches at the start of this video. This track stands on its own as well, though; he’s maybe the only MC around who can make “Why they hate on me?” a memorable chorus in 2019, mostly because there’s no good answer.
Jorja Smith feat. Burna Boy – “Be Honest”
A British R&B singer who’s collaborated with Drake teams up with a Nigerian star currently making a career move stateside and the results are promising, with the rippling beat and ideal emotional foil for a simmering vocal.
Miranda Lambert (with Maren Morris) – “Way Too Pretty for Prison”
The most promising trend coming out of Nashville these days (and let’s face it, there ain’t a lot of those) is female solidarity, with women banding together in groups and writing for or appearing on one another’s albums. The conceit here is a bit like Brandy Clark’s “Stripes,” with the lack of fashion options behind bars proving a deterrent to crime—who knew that was such a fruitful topic?
that dog. – “If You Just Didn’t Do It”
City Pages’ house style is to capitalize the first letters of all proper nouns, and that includes artists, whether bands or individuals, who stylize their names as all lower case. But there are exceptions, and these great L.A. alt-poppers number among them, so let’s all welcome back Anna Waronker and her crew with the typography they both demand and deserve.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.