April 19, 2024

Over these first few weeks of the year, a few songs by big-name artists with highly-anticipated albums due to be released later this year have surfaced, generating a lot of hype about what we can expect from these artists in 2015. If the three songs I’m about to share are any indication, I am extremely excited! Enjoy this small taste of what will definitely be an interesting year for music.

Album artwork of Björk’s 2015 album Vulnicura

  1. Björk – “History of Touches”

Icelandic experimental pop pioneer Björk shocked the Internet when she surprise-released her highly-anticipated album, “Vulnicura,” her first in three years, three months early in response to a leak. My favorite track from the album, “History of Touches,” documents the fragile last moments of her relationship with long-time partner Matthew Barney. During the song, Björk relives through every intimate moment she’s ever shared with him as she comes to terms with the way things have transpired. Her unique voice is caressed delicately by jittery production from Venezuelan electronic artist Arca, which sounds very broken, evoking the fractured bond between the song’s central characters.

Single artwork for the song “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney

  1. Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney – “FourFiveSeconds”

Three of the world’s most famous musicians spanning three completely different genres pushed themselves even further into new musical territory over this three-minute-long likely future radio hit. “FourFiveSeconds,” the product of several songwriting sessions hosted by Kanye West and Paul McCartney — which also resulted with Kanye’s equally amazing single released a few weeks back “Only One” — is sung from the perspective of two people who are completely disconcerted with the conditions of the world they live in. That’s right. Kanye doesn’t rap, but sings, and Rihanna’s vocals without all the effects seen on many of her bigger hits sounds especially gritty and soulful. McCartney contributes a minimalist acoustic guitar and organ riff which allow Ye’s and Rihanna’s lyrics about “all of their kindness” being “taken for weakness” to be the focus of this excellent track.

Image of Frank Ocean

  1. Frank Ocean- “At Your Best (You Are Love)” (Isley Brothers/Aaliyah cover)

On what would have been Aaliyah’s, thirty-sixth birthday, Frank Ocean released a charmingly-reverent cover of one of her first hits, a cover of the Isley Brother’s 1976 single “At Your Best (You Are Love).” Frank Ocean’s infectious falsetto reaches stratospheric levels over a cavernous piano melody as he weaves his way through the verses and chorus, but it’s at the bridge when his voice dips into his lower range when the chills really set in for me. It is a gorgeous and endearing tribute to a star who was taken from us way too soon. This beautifully haunting track will have to hold us over as we yearn for his long-awaited follow up to his amazing debut album, “Channel Orange.”

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