Songs of the Week: Shlohmo & Jeremih, Karen O & Ezra Koenig, and More Loving Couples
Shlohmo and Jeremih, “No More”
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The unlikely power couple — the former an indie bleep-bloop maestro, the latter a radio R&B escapee — do it again: Fueled by falsettos and skrcchhss and plinks, “No More” is a thrilling, sharp little thing. And it kicks off Valentine’s weekend right here at Songs of the Week, with our first of a string of loving (but, OK, OK, yes, platonic) collaborations.
Karen O and Ezra Koenig, “The Moon Song”
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In Her, we get “The Moon Song” as rendered by Theodore Twombly and the enchanting disembodied vocals of his OS. In real life, it was Karen O who crafted the lovely tune, and who’ll soon be performing it at the Oscars as well. Now, perhaps as an amuse-bouche to the big night, we get a new version with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig jumping on the track. Karen tells Rolling Stone: “Singing this song with Ezra felt like fulfilling a wish of my die-hard romantic junior high self. It’s a dreamy tune.”
Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, “I’m Moving On”
As Stereogum explains, this number comes to us from Out Among the Stars, “a collection of Johnny Cash songs from a lost session in the early ’80s.” With this kind of thing you always wonder, of course, if it should actually have seen release, or if it’s just a case of a back catalogue being mined up to and through its very last nook and cranny. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say just hearing Cash talk his shit on the track — “I asked Hank Snow if he wrote ‘I’m Moving On,’ he said yes, I wrote it all. Huh” — makes it all instantly worthwhile.
Uncle Murda and Troy Ave, “Self Made”
What’s that? You think New York City knucklehead rap is maybe not the most romantic thing to throw on your V-Day playlist? Sir, you are DEAD WRONG: In many situations, the guttural sounds of Uncle Murda talking about how to “throw bullets” without, hopefully, hitting “women or little kids” is a perfect mood-setter.
Que ft. TI and Young Jeezy, “OG Bobby Johnson” (ATL Mix)
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Que’s street hit has grown beyond Atlanta, and so it’s only right that two of the city’s old guard put their stamp on the proceedings and allow it to take flight even further. I’d like to imagine this process as an actual municipal proceeding: Any and all Atlanta mixtape rappers interested in acquiring zoning permits outside Georgia have to come to a community board meeting staffed by TIP, Jeezy, plus maybe 2 Chainz, Gucci, and Big Boi, and present the case. We can let Ludacris take the meeting minutes.
VV Brown and Kele Okereke, “Faith”
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Brit up-and-comer VV Brown’s “Faith” was plenty infectious already, but now that Bloc Party’s Kele has graciously gifted some vocals, it should get the additional ears it always deserved. Go ahead. Put the kettle on, hit play, and zone out blissfully.
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Kelis never really disappeared, but she’s never quite been a mainstay either (her last album was 2010’s Flesh Tones), so one can’t help but feel that her new album, Food — produced in collaboration with TV on the Radio’s ever-busy Dave Sitek — is a bit of a comeback. New single “Rumble” is a slow burner, but it shambles its way to a punchy little chorus. After Kelis laments a relationship at its near-crumbling point, the horns kick in and we get the payoff: “And I’m so glad you gave back my keys.” Guess she’ll be staying the night after all.
Thee Oh Sees, “Penetrating Eye”
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Here’s some thematically appropriate heartwarming stuff: Despite announcing in December that they were going on an “indefinite hiatus” that sure did sound like a breakup, Thee Oh Sees are already back with a new, thumping joint, and a new LP, Drop. But then … oh wait … you find out they recorded this all before breaking up. Hmm. Maybe true love hasn’t yet conquered all.
Mariah Carey, “You’re Mine (Eternal)”
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The world turns. The leaves change. The snow falls, sticks, melts, turns to slush, disappears, and comes back again. A baby is born, grows big and strong, has children of his own. The Rollerbladers Rollerblade around the Rollerblading track. Again. And again. And again. And, through it all, Mariah Carey keeps on putting out Mariah Carey videos. Not an iota of the formula has changed for Mrs. Cannon since her late ’90s heyday. And God bless her for that.
Beverly, “Honey Do”
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Explains Gorilla Vs. Bear: “We are psyched to introduce Beverly, the new project from Drew Citron + Frankie Rose” — who’ve dropped a ton of stuff, both solo and as part of Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls — “that is currently re-sparking our love of infectious, sweetly buzzing pop melodies [and] heavenly girl-group harmonies.” This is exactly what we all need this holiday: a little bit of oooh oooh, oooh oooh, oooh oooh.