Star Tracks compiles the most exciting new music from a wide range of established and emerging artists.
This week’s playlist includes new music from Future, Justin Bieber with Don Toliver, Joe Rainey, Lolo Zouaï, ODESZA, Internet Money with Yeat and Wilco.
Click here to listen to the Spotify playlistwhich includes additional tracks that we loved this week.
Future: Puffin on ZOOTIEZ
The future glides through its dream era. Recently said the “Best Living RapperIn a glowing GQ profile, the 38-year-old from Atlanta is set to spend the summer headlining some of the world’s biggest festivals, including the first-ever Rolling Loud in Toronto. On the cover of his new album ‘I NEVER LIKED YOU’ – a hilarious and toxic track on the brand – Future is pictured relaxing in the back of a luxury vehicle, immaculately dressed in royal purple, dozing peacefully in a sleep mask, undisturbed. With 16 mixtapes, nine studio albums and countless collaborations under his belt, the godfather of mumblecore reached the pinnacle of hip hop a long time ago. Now he’s just cruising.
The future doesn’t change the formula too much on “I HAVE NEVER LOVED YOU”. The album is full of bass-heavy trap beats and plenty of hip-hop features A-listers and sidekicks – Drake, Kanye, Young Thug, Gunna, Kodak Black are all there. There is also a welcome appearance by rising Nigerian singer Temswhose bright hook dominates a lackluster Drake verse.
But Future is at his best when working solo, like the album highlight “PUFFIN ON ZOOTIEZ.” “I’m far from here, I’m too far in the sky / Ashtray Hermès to lay my ashes down,” he raps, locked to a whimsical, downtempo beat, patiently listing the various illicit substances that keep him afloat. An efficient and technically impressive piece: Future’s flows sound immaculate, even untouchable. But beneath the bluster there is a heavy sense of sadness, a malignity that lurks beneath the surface. It is the paradox of the future that keeps us coming back for more. — Richie Assaly
Justin Bieber (feat. Don Toliver): Honest
Skating the line between hip hop and R&B, Justin Bieber’s latest single, “Honest,” featuring Don Toliver is one of the most natural collaborations in recent memory. Adopting Toliver’s spacey sound that combines wandering and building synths with flickering top hats, Bieber enters the world of the American singer – a world where it’s nearly impossible to tell where hip hop ends and where does R&B begin. Like Toliver, Bieber has existed in both before, but this space feels like home as his clipped vocals swim through the production instead of wrapping around DJ Khalid’s sunny pop rap tracks. His lines border on the limits when he sings “Honest (Honest) / You’re modest, I like it (I like it) / You stay down and you the baddest (Baddest)”, but it sounds like a long-lost track d ‘a puzzle.
In Toliver’s case, that track isn’t in his wheelhouse, it’s simply his house. His vocal control and ability to jump between singing and rapping is effortless. And being featured on a song that sounds more like his own than the artist’s main repertoire shows just how different he is from the rest of the field. — Demar Grant
Joe Rainey: bezhigo
Every time I listen to “Bezhigo”, I feel something different: melancholy, hope, wonder.
The track is one of two riveting new singles released by Joe Rainey, an Ojibway powwow singer who recently signed with 37d03d, a label and music collective founded by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron and Bryce Dessner ( The National).
On “bezhigo”, Rainey fuses traditional Pow Wow singing patterns with experimental vocal flows, conveying distinct emotion with every rise, fall and inflection. Produced by Minneapolis musician Andrew Broder, the song is fleshed out with soulful live strings and a subtle bass beat that sounds like distant thunder. Finally, the track includes samples from pow wow MC Jerry Dearly Sr. and the late Kenny Merrick Jr.. — a nod to Rainey’s rich history of experimental music. The result is stunning.
Rainey’s debut album, “Niineta,” will be released on May 20. – AR
Lolo Zouaï: Give me a kiss
Lolo Zouaï’s music has always dipped its toes into the sensual, but “Give Me a Kiss” has dipped so far in it it’s almost hypnotic. Slowing his bpm to a frantic pace with sleepy synths and heavy 808s, Zouaï whisks you away to a house next door to The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons.” But instead of locking the bathroom for the lines, Zouaï’s searing voice invites you to “Lock the room, yeah / I’ll be here until Sunday / Blur our vision.” She also delivers her sultry lyrics with distorted effects and, combined with the distorted drums, it’s a clear move away from her slick R&B debut album “High Highs to Low Lows”. Zouaï has become more racy with her lyrics since then and more experimental with her sound, but the evolution is more than welcome. — CEO
ODESZA: behind the sun
Please excuse me in advance for including a great brash EDM song in this otherwise tasteful playlist. But there’s something unapologetically fun about the latest track from American electronic duo and summer festival favorite ODESZA.
Built around an immediately captivating vocal sample from Iranian singer Simin Ghanem, “Behind the Sun” drops into a hard-hitting drum line, which the duo say was created by recording snare drums.”through metal resonators(I don’t know what that means, but it seems accurate). Like its accompanying video, the song is wild, cinematic, and borderline ridiculous – one can imagine it being used for the final credits soundtrack of a Marvel movie or something. But it is okay! Grab some glow sticks, hydrate, and enjoy. — AR
Internet Money (feat. Yeat): No Handoutz
Yeat’s sound is really starting to round out. All the measures rhyme now, the flows return to their limits and this bell… this bell! In a pool of Playboi Carti and Young Thug clones, Yeat found a way to stand out with what is now his trademark bell and unique voice. Internet Money’s cybernetic production with warped 808s is a digital playground and it’s a pleasure to hear Yeat let off steam in it. There are very few artists on the planet whose lyrics are almost unintelligible and yet you ask for more, but Yeat officially found himself among them at 22. CEO
Wilco: falling apart (right now)
Gather up, dads, there’s a new Wilco track!
Earlier this week, the Chicago rock band released “Falling Apart (Right Now)”, a lively and upbeat track from their upcoming album“Cruel country. “Now don’t lose your mind / While I’m looking for mine,” Jeff Tweedy sings over a whirlwind of twangy, country guitars.
“There have been elements of country music in everything we’ve done,” Tweedy said in a statement. “We were never particularly comfortable with that definition, my idea of country music. But now, after walking around the block a few times, we find it exhilarating to break free from the form and embrace the simple limitation of calling the music we make country.
It’s certainly a change – and bears no resemblance to the iconic “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”, an album the band played this year to mark its 20th anniversary – but hey, it works for me. — AR
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