After a brief hiatus last week for some serious chocolate bunny eating, Best Tracks of the Week is back in business. This week, the first full one of April, our headphones were dominated by the fierce women in our life. We’ve got the first taste of Azealia Banks’ upcoming Fantasea II mixtape in the form of “Anna Wintour”, a track that she has amazingly described as the “gay wedding anthem of summer 2018,” and that’s just the beginning.
Also up this week are the long-awaited debut albums from Cardi B and Kali Uchis (both filled with contenders for spots on this list) in addition to singles from Chynna and indie-pop outfit Melody’s Echo Chamber. And though he’s not a fierce female, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a special shout to A$AP Rocky, who has given us the best showing yet from his upcoming album.
All those and more can be found in this edition of Best Tracks of the Week.
After a byzantine release strategy, “A$AP Forever” feels like the first new song from A$AP Rocky we can assuredly say will be on his hugely-anticipated next album. It also happens to be the best, boasting a killer hook, references to Flacko smooching to Frank Ocean (aw), and an inspired Moby sample that brings the song to a close. A$AP forever indeed.
Tbqh, thank God. Thank whatever Lord you believe in that Azealia not only still has it in her, but all the hype surrounding the upcoming Fantasea II mixtape has been justified. “Anna Wintour”, the track that Banks has referred to as the “gay wedding anthem of summer 2018,” is like a healing salve, soothing all the Azealia-inflicted wounds of the past half decade and proving that yes, she is still gloriously spitting a kind of fire that no one else can.
Beach House have been extremely generous this album cycle; now just a month away from their seventh album – conveniently titled 7 – they have shared a whopping four songs from the project. Their latest, “Dark Spring”, is a thick wall of sound, presenting crisp guitars over vocals that, in stark contrast, are shrouded in a fog of feeling. Its title may imply something grim but this track is simply radiant.
Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy is finally here, but the Bronx MC was kind enough to give us one of the record’s best outings at the top of the week. Over a beat that mixes together trap snares, a flute line, synth-blares straight out of a MarioKart sound box, and a bass submerged at least 20,000 leagues below sea level, Cardi and the three Migos-musketeers are having a ball tallying all of their dripping diamonds; the fun is deliciously infectious.
The A$AP Mob and its affiliates have had a conspicuous lack of women in their ranks, and thankfully, Chynna is here to change that. Delivering a classic anthem on the virtues of cash, Chynna meshes beautifully with the ominous, heavy production – courtesy of Heaven in Stereo – that marks the Mob’s best. It’s a players anthem, but one where it’s quite clear you do not want to be messing around with the rules of this game.
There is a special kind of skill in creating beauty from abrasive, ugly qualities. Stray just a little too far and you’ve got a mess on your hands. With “Sumo”, Denzel Curry succeeds in pushing a harsh sound to the limit; he has crafted a single that is not easy on the ears but it glides on its own sense of internal, ordered chaos. Do not blast loudly if you’re wearing headphones.
Don’t let the title fool you, there is a lot of pain coursing through this song. Acclaimed Kanye-producers DJDS have unveiled a symphony of woe with this single from their forthcoming album, brought to the next level with the inclusion of such soulful voices as Khalid and Charlie Wilson. Keep the tissues handy.
Kali Uchis’ debut album Isolation more than delivers on the promise of her smashing singles released last year, and no better proof can be found than in “Miami”, a slice of the record that exudes tropical cool. Kali delivers the instantly-iconic line “Why would I be Kim / When I could be Kanye?” over a beat so lush you can practically taste the pineapple from a piña colada.
After delays caused by health problems, Melody (of the Echo Chamber) is thankfully back in the saddle and ready to prep for her long-awaited album Bon Voyage. “Breathe In, Breathe Out” is the second offering we’ve heard from the project but the first that has us truly excited; all the elements that made her self-titled 2012 album such a landmark listen are in place and fully loaded in their intent to cast the listener on a spellbinding, psychedelic odyssey. A very French one, of course.
Artistic partnerships like the one so effortlessly forged between Saba and Chance the Rapper are rare. The Chicagoans’ styles are just varied enough to spot differences, but together they create a truly harmonious whole. “Logout”, taken from Saba’s just-released LP Care for Me, mixes trap beats with jazzy piano, pitch-shifted vocals with spoken mutterings; it’s a meeting of the musical minds that together is more than its individual parts.
Be sure to check out the previous edition of Best Tracks of the Week right here.