Written by: Ally Johnson, CC2K Music Editor
August, while far from being an uninspired month for music, didn’t land as many instant winners as July (though that could all be due to where and when we looked for new music, because surely there are gems we’ve failed to unearth). That being said, the month had its fair share of dance-worthy tunes and heart-breaking love songs; from Swedish songwriters to a genius trio of women, there’s always something worth checking out. Here are just six you must listen to.
Robyn – “Missing U”
It’s been eight years since Robyn, the electro-funk, Swedish singer-songwriter, released her dual albums Body Talk and Body Talk pt. 2. With “Dancing on My Own” dominating the social zeitgeist the year it was released, fans have been waiting for a similarly euphoric dance number and “Missing U” comes as close as one can get. Breezy and deceptively sweet in tone with heart-aching lyrics, “Missing U” presents the universal duality of the best of Robyn’s discography, where the soundscape presents bright, flashing lights while the deeper meaning hits closer to home.
Mitski – “Two Slow Dancers”
Mitski is one of our greatest musicians working today and her latest album, Be the Cowboy was a total encapsulation of what defined her as such a tremendous talent. With a steady dance groove building the backbone of the album and soulful lyrics that are equally as intimate as they are wide reaching, “Two Slow Dancers” stands out among many greats. An ode to nostalgia with the happiness and pain it can bring, Mitski ends her album by lamenting the past in ways that hint of Regina Spektor’s warbles. The song is so distinctly her own that we can’t help but hit the replay button the moment it ends, no matter how heavy the words “It would be a hundred times easier. If we were young again” weigh on you.
Boygenius – “Me & My Dog”
If Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers or Lucy Dacus release a song we pay attention, because all three are at the top of their game – with an edge, perhaps, to the fabulous Baker who is deconstructing folk music on an epic level. Put all three musicians together for a collaboration and it’s magic. Any of their songs would’ve been worth choosing, but it’s “Me & My Dog” that stands out with its impeccable vocal layering unifying all three distinct vocalists. It’s melodic and whimsical, building itself from the ground up as each element is added, beginning with Bridgers’ voice and stripped down instrumentals until it becomes increasingly towering. A trademark skill of all three is their ability to transcend their image by filling the room with their powerful vocals harmonizing together.
Blood Orange – “Orlando”
Both the opener and the most experimental song on the new Blood Orange album Negro Swan, “Orlando” is a textured mix of melodies and rhythmic styling that refuses to mimic Dev Hynes (the mind behind Blood Orange), but also draws inspiration from influential musicians from the past. Playful as well as a fantastic intro into an album that will continue to surprise listeners who think they have the musician figured out, perhaps Hynes said it best in an interview with Pitchfork, “I wanted to see the words and then just fly and see what could happen.”
Adrianne Lenker – “Cradle”
Known best for her work in the relatively popular alternative/indie band Big Thief, lead singer Adrianne Lenker is side stepping her main musical project for an even more stripped down sound with her single, “Cradle”. Her angelic vocals breeze over the plucking of the guitar, not too far removed from her general sound in Big Thief but allowing her a greater sense of face value intimacy between vocals and instruments, with the lyrics “Baby, you’re still too proud to come down. Maybe I’m still too loud to hear. All the waves ascend and disappear” heart enchantingly personal.
Troye Sivan – “Animal”
First a Youtube sensation before rising in the ranks of the rare modern male pop artist, Troye Sivan has amassed quite a following. Making his sexuality pivotal to the stories he tells through songs and offering a welcome vulnerability in his styling and raw lyrics, Sivan in equal measures can create an unquestioned bop while also speaking truth into a genre so often misguidedly thought of as little more than bubblegum fluff – elastic but tasteless over time. Only on his second album, his song “Animal” captures what makes Sivan such an intriguing voice, utilizing a synth aesthetic in breakdowns and choruses while leaving the verses bare-boned. It’s a full out, unabashed love song, sweeping and sensual and the perfect accompaniment for those late in the month August nights.