A great big welcome back to the school year! I’m super stoked to continue writing “Leading Ladies” and I hope there are some of you out there that are excited to continue reading it!
This week, I just wanted to do a quick recap of some of the music that kept me going this summer. Between work and friends and trying to find the meaning of my life, this was the soundtrack to endless night walks, late mornings, and simmering heat.
1) FKA twigs – LP1
If you’re looking for an objective review of this album, you’re not going to get it from me because I’ve been a big fan of twigs since EP1. In fact, I’ve even written about her before. Her debut album finds production help from Arca once more and adds Dev Hynes and Sampha onto the team. But even with the potential for creative differences from such unique producers, the album manages to have a cohesive, stable vision.
This album is the landing from the sensual suspension that was EP2 but instead of returning back to earth, we’ve landed on a brand new, hazy planet where everything is cool colors with splashes of bright, hot red. twigs offers such a new sound that manages to be somewhere in the year 4000 yet also very familiar. It’s her lyrics that will pull her listeners back to the ground. On “Lights On”, twigs sings “when I trust you we can do it with the lights on”, a familiar thought that many people have when it comes to confidence, trust and intimacy. On “Give Up”, twigs self-awareness shows as she sings “I know that sometimes you wished I’d go away, away / But I’d wished that you would know that I’m here to stay, to stay” as a desperate plea to her reluctant lover. She sings well-known stories of love and loss but does it in a way that’s completely refreshing and irresistible.
Honestly, if you haven’t already listened to LP1 at least ten times by now, you should probably get your ears checked.
2) Kiesza – “So Deep”
This Canadian singer was everywhere this summer because of her song “Hideaway”. However, it’s “So Deep” that I have on repeat because it’s everything I love: sultry, smooth, and low-key.
3) Kimbra – The Golden Echo
Kimbra will always be the first kiwi artist I’ve ever loved (sorry Lorde). Since her debut album Vows, I fell in love with her intense, dedicated vocals and appreciation for throwback soul. That retro sound pretty much dominates Vows but in The Golden Echo, she moves forward a few decades, creating something that is just as original as it is an homage to her favorite sounds (you’ll get some Prince vibes from tracks like “Teen Heat” and “Nobody But You”). The first single, “90s Music”, is a personal favorite that’s incredibly catchy and danceable. It almost feels like none of the parts should fit and yet they all do and it’s absolutely beautiful. The music video for that song is also a must see.
4) Kwamie Liv – “comin THRU”
I’m a sucker for mysterious singers – cough twigs cough – so when this unknown Danish singer dropped “5 AM” very stealthily on the internet almost half a year ago, I’ve been impatiently awaiting the arrival for more of her music. Thankfully, she did come through and released her debut EP which includes “comin THRU” as one of my favorite tracks. It’s a quintessential cruising song, windows rolled down, sunglasses on, and just vibing. Her vocals have a tinge of Lana Del Rey but her beats and instrumental are heavily rooted in R&B.
5) Ariana Grande – “Be My Baby feat. Cashmere Cat”
I’m going to fully admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Ariana Grande’s sophomore effort, My Everything. She has become something of a perfected pop formula and there’s almost too much calculation behind her sound and image but that has not stopped me from jamming to “Bang Bang” or “Love Me Harder” (I try to stay away from “Problem” because of she-who-must-not-be-named but that song still goes hard) and “Be My Baby” tops them all. The combination of piano and the electric undercurrents paired with the hard hitting rhythms makes it my favorite song to dance to.