Welcome to the Monday Mix, our weekly roundup of six new, newish, or recently stumbled upon tracks whose acquaintance we think you’d very much like to make.
Benny Blanco, Calvin Harris, Miguel – “I Found You/Nilda’s Story”
Miguel typically enshrouds himself in steamy, complex instrumentation, but here the two credited pop super-producers supply the rock-and-soul visionary with little more than three resonant piano chords. That’s more than enough: His climactic octave leap expresses longing and fulfillment simultaneously. Nilda, if you’re wondering, is a Honduran woman who traveled with her two-year-old son, Keyden, to our inhospitable southern border—she’s featured in he video, which is part of the launch of the new immigrant support campaign While They Wait.
D’Angelo – “Unshaken”
The far-from-prolific neo-soul auteur contributed this spare, existentialist psalm to the soundtrack of the new Western-themed video game Red Dead Redemption 2. A showcase for D’Angelo’s grave lower register, the forlorn spiritual combines Old West frontier desolation with a touch of Leonard Cohen’s sepulchral stoicism. “May I stand unshaken,” D’Angelo prays. “Amid, amidst a crashing world.” May we all, D.
Future – “Crushed Up”
Sometimes all it takes is a very expensive watch to perk a guy up. This is Future at his springiest, wading into a Wheezy-crafted rhythm and splashing around till he washes ashore.
Lizzo – “Juice”
Maybe you’ve heard of her? The track, which suggests a livelier version of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” at times, is an ideal playground for her personality—her flow is wily and melodic in the verses, her singing playfully self-assured on the chorus.
Ozuna – “Baila Baila Baila”
With the standout full-length Aura consolidating his fame and the all-star jam “Taki Taki” still climbing globally, not even blinkered monoglots can ignore this beat-savvy young Puerto Rican singer, who rings in 2019 with a yearning reggaeton track.
NoName feat. Phoelix – “Song 31”
The sprightly-voiced Chicago rapper follows her charmingly discursive thoughts wherever they lead her (she’s no fan of Kelsey Grammer or Santa Claus), encouraged to roam by a soul-jazz beat just as fluid and inquisitive, and her longtime collaborator, Phoelix, contributes a curlicue vocal hook that might lure Dirty Projectors fans in.
Every week, City Pages music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to include in the Monday Mix, and to add to this 2019 playlist.