Songs of the Week: Justin Timberlake Fights for Rights, Robin Thicke Will Help You Pick Out Underwear, Britney Spears Is Friends With the Smurfs

Justin Timberlake, “Take Back the Night”

Just when you thought JT couldn’t get any more lady-friendly, the dapper young man goes ahead and lifts the name for his new single — as in, the first one off his quickie-follow-up The 20/20 Experience, Vol. 2, out September 30 — from the women’s rights movement dedicated to “end[ing] sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.” Yeah, sure, Justin’s version is less focused on taking back the night via self-empowering marches, and more focused on doing so via early-MJ-type dance parties. But, hey: Activism is activism.

Robin Thicke, “Take It Easy on Me”

And then, just when you think JT has the whole “blue-eyed-soul-crooner/friend-to-women everywhere” thing locked up tight, Mr. Robin Thicke comes along and makes a bold little promise: “I wanna shop for your underwear.” That’s a power move, people. That’s a power move.

Autre Ne Veut, “On & On”

To complete our opening “white dudes doing R&B” triptych, here’s Autre Ne Veut — a.k.a. Brooklyn’s Arthur Ashin, the man behind this year’s eagerly gobbled-up Anxiety — dropping a new joint for Adult Swim’s single series. Listen over at EW, then immediately begin choreographing a dance routine set to “On & On,” to be performed at whichever NYC subway platform boasts the freshest churros, to be performed by you and your 15 best friends.

Miguel and Jessie Ware, “Adorn”

Did “Adorn” need additional vocals from Jessie Ware, the U.K.’s most fetching young R&B starlet? No, no, it was doing fine on its own. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have her around, a truism that applies nearly everywhere. On your breakfast oatmeal? At the DMV? At your second cousin whom you secretly hate’s bat mitzvah? Just sprinkle a touch of Jessie Ware.

Islands, “Wave Forms”

Your up-to-date “pop culture island” rankings:

1. The island from Lost
2. Islands, the band, who’ve been making trickily confounding indie-pop for going on a decade now.
3. Michael Bay presents The Island. Jeez Louise, that movie sucked.

King Krule, “Easy Easy”

A couple years back, when he was still known as Zoo Kid, the ginger Brit teen Archy Marshall debuted hard with “Out Getting Ribs,” a plaintive, tortured yowl promising great things to come. Now, after a name change and a few more one-off singles, we get the proper first album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, out in August, and its lead single, “Easy Easy,” available above for you now. If you’re into prickly, marble-mouthed, wunderkind mope-rock, this is basically your Christmas.

Mike D, “Umberto vs. the New Reactionaries: Christine and the Queens Remixx”

Mike D hooked up with the fashion line Kenzo through his bud Spike Jonze, then ended up lacing their men’s spring/summer 2014 show with this bonkers instrumental influenced in equal measures, as he explains, by Bad Brains and trap rap. As part of the process, he also sat down for a charming little Q&A:

“K: Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere in the world?

M: So many places. Morocco and a lot of North Africa. Egypt. Certain surf breaks in Indonesia and Mexico that I have never been to.”

Azealia Banks, “ATM Jam”

An off-brand ATM with no service charges — now that’s a real ATM jam! (I’ll see myself out.)

Pearl Jam, “Mind Your Manners”

The lead single off Pearl Jam’s new album, Lightning Bolt, features an opening riff that honestly sounds like peak Papa Roach, and that is not something I’m mad about at all.

Britney Spears, “Ooh La La”

This new Britney track is from the Smurfs 2 soundtrack and, thank God, they actually went ahead and made a horribly weird thematic music video to accompany it. Her kids are in it, and she makes googly eyes at Smurfette, and, I mean, I don’t even want to spoil any more of it for you, it’s that ’90s-nostalgic perfect.

And, with that, we complete our journey, from Justin to Britney. Please, go ahead and start enjoying your weekend — perhaps aided by this 2013 Songs of the Week master playlist?

Filed Under: Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Songs of the Week

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad