Along with a week of unusual weather, this week’s new music releases were also particularly unique. While it can be easy to dismiss deluxe album tracks and remixes as extras or extensions of already established ideas, there are a handful of picks in this week’s batch that solidly stand on their own.
Florida rapper Denzel Curry and producer Kenny Beats announced a rework of their conceptual 2020 album, “UNLOCKED,” featuring production by The Alchemist and Robert Glasper and guest appearances from Smino, Joey Bada$$ and Benny the Butcher. Following the album’s announcement came the release of Glaspers reworked version of the track “So.Incredible.pkg,” which reinvigorates the track with smooth and jazzy bass guitar grooves backed with angelic vocals. While Smino adds some flavor to the track with a charismatic verse, Denzel sounds as hard as ever, which nicely contrasts from the otherwise relaxed nature of the beat.
The HAIM sisters expanded on their Grammy-nominated indie-pop album, “Women in Music Pt. III,” by adding five new tracks. One of the new editions, "Gasoline," featuring Taylor Swift, has easily garnered the most attention with its warm guitar and a dreamy chorus. Swift's appearance fits snugly on the track, building off the chemistry they established on the tune “no body, no crime” from Swift’s 2020 album “evermore”.
When it comes to electropop, there are few who do it better than Charli XCX. Her rework of the 2021 track “CHARGER” by ELIO embodies all the characteristics that make her so special in pop. From the bubblegum bass hits to the quirky-yet-catchy lyrics about leaving her phone charger at a guy’s place: “One thing linkin’ me to you / Plugged in, waitin’ in your room,” ELIO is one to keep on your radar following the Charli cosign.
Psychedelic soul singer Nick Hakim announced a remix album of last year’s “Will This Make Me Good,” including a reworked version of his standout single “Qadir” by underground jazz veterans BADBADNOTGOOD. While the vocals are often buried in the mix, the track’s busy drums and impressive bass guitar lay an impressive groundwork for Hakim’s beautifully harrowing lyrics: “Oh, we have fallen, as a whole / And we’re sinking, down a hole.” Not to mention the bright synth keys that pop up during the chorus add some extra spice that send it over the top.
Australian singer and rapper Genesis Owusu is set to release his full-length debut “Smiling with No Teeth” March 5, and if the album’s latest single “Gold Chains” is any indicator to what the album will sound like, listeners should be on high alert for when it drops. The track composes splashes of synth chords that are sharply interrupted by sporadic electric guitar. Although intricate, the track’s eclectic instrumentals provide a perfect pocket for Owusu to flow on top of. One of my favorite aspects of the track was the artist’s vocal switch to falsetto during the chorus, where his entrancing voice captivated my soul with the hypnotic lyrics: “When it looks so gold but it feels so cold inside these chains.”
Although many of this week's new music releases weren’t entirely fresh or original, each artist’s creativity shined through with remixes and expanded editions of their albums. These tracks are more than enough to get you through the remaining snow days and into a new, and hopefully warmer, week.