Ciara – “Anytime” (feat Future)
CiCi and her baby daddy Future pair up on a track that feels fundamentally different from last year’s grand slam “Body Party”. “Anytime” is more subdued, less sensual than its predecessor. However it speaks directly to their current relationship status. As they’re expecting their first child, the track is the ideal soundtrack as they coo “Baby I’ll go to war for you in this life.” How’s that for romance?
Banks – “Brain”
It’s been all about Banks since the London EP landed last year. Her latest “Brain” delivers a similar vibe as her EP, which is slowly becoming the signature unique Banks sound. With the erotic blips of Shlohmo’s production, our Banksy glides through her verses like singing on ice. Only set on fire once the intense hook rolls around. That’s just how Banks does, making us all the more eager for her debut album.
Naomi Pilgrim – “Money”
When Dazed opted to premiere Naomi Pilgrim’s remake of Lady’s “Money,” it was knowing damn well that the Swedish singer had a tune on her hands. Pilgrim’s take on “Money” is electronic and dreamy, as producer Frederik Okazaki smoothes out the edges while Pilgrim delicately takes the track down a few notches. The result is a cut that arguably highlights the lyrics much more than the original.
Kelis – “Jerk Ribs” (Mount Kimbie Remix)
While we anxiously await Kelis to deliver her Food to us, she kicked off the new year with the sexy “Jerk Ribs.” Well, Mount Kimbie turned it into something so much more on the remix. Dubby horns, delicate synths, and plush keys give these “Jerk Ribs” a solid kick in the ass. While the original was delicious, the remix is everything and more.
Ellie Goulding – “Life Round Here” (feat Angel Haze)
On “Life Round Here,” Goulding takes James Blake’s hit and pairs it with seductive vocals, and Angel Haze chimes in for some self-reflective bars that speak to the nature of Blake’s opus. A match made in heaven.
Ella Eyre – “All About You”
Want to know what a woman scorned really sounds like? Throw this track on. Ella Eyre gives the proverbial “fuck you” on the shit-kicking single, as her full-bodied vocals are aggressive in the best way possible. Ella rides the thuds of the beat as she targets her egomaniac ex. It’s the ultimate middle finger set to music, and whoever it’s about must be shamed into a corner by now.
Tinashe – “2 On” (feat Schoolboy Q) [Prod. DJ Mustard]
Whenever DJ Mustard attacks a track that isn’t categorically Hip Hop, his beats hit a much higher level. Tinashe is the latest to utilize that technique on “2 On,” where the new school siren channels earlier R&B ladies in a soulfully Poppy way. Then ScHoolboy Q jumps in to toss some bars around, and really gets the party started. The cut feels like an upgraded version of a traditional 90s R&B track, complete with a rap solo.
Neneh Cherry – “Everything”
At the end of this month, Neneh Cherry will deliver her first album, Blank Project, in almost 18 years. Gone are the days of the “Buffalo Stance” and “Buddy X,” yet the same quirkiness we loved about Ms. Cherry still lives on with “Everything.” Hums, quips, and scats embody Neneh’s latest, as she channels her inner lounge lizard to bring us some jazzy new flavor.
Kelela – “The High”
Is it possible to literally get high off a song? If so, then Kelela could bag “The High” and sell it in dark alleys. Gifted & Blessed provide the moaning soundbed as Kelela gently rides the beat through her verses. Then she hits two octaves higher on the hook, with unbridled passion, sonically embodying that moment when “The High” really hits. What high are we speaking of? Well, pick your poison and it’s that.
GEMS – “Don’t Cry”
When Seal first released “Don’t Cry” back in 1995, it felt like a total power ballad. GEMS' remake of the classic almost two decades later is fundamentally different, with Lindsay Pitts providing breathy vocals that sail along a twisting beat. While it’s undeniably romantic, there’s a bit of torment in the lyrics that are showcased much more when given her touch.
Follow Kathy Iandoli on Twitter here @kath3000