Kehlani ft 6lack
This lean slice of frosty R&B analogues role-playing games, in which both parties are merely playing a character, probably a mage or wizard or space-Hobbit or something. Underpinned by a clacketty-clack beat like Massive Attack’s Teardrop after one too many shoefuls of Buckfast.
The lyric of the week award goes to “Take the hit, you’re full of shit, sucking on your momma’s tit”, which does a decent job of summing up the V-signs-aloft wallop of this early-Hole snarl of vast sloppy chords, bilious antisocialism and a chorus that is both epic and petulantly disinterested. It’s brilliant, but you get the impression that it doesn’t give the slightest toss what you make of it, because it thinks you’re a massive dick. Which only makes it brillianter.
Rebranding himself as strut-pop’s creepy uncle gave Beck one of the best albums of his career with 2017’s Colors. So where next? Well, he has found a kindred spirit in fellow crap hat enthusiast Pharrell, and the result is a slightly awkward but not unpleasant mishmash of Beck’s 90s country honky-tonking with the no-synthpad-left-unprodded production of Phazzer. It’s not bad, although it does give a harrowing insight into what it might be like if Diplo called Seasick Steve and said: “Man, I like your dungarees. We should do a thing.”
Four Tet simply does some more Four Tet, and it’s as lovely as you’d expect. It’s 4.23am. The pinger wore off an hour ago. You’re facing a 20-minute walk home. Stick this on and you’ll be grand.
Madonna ft Maluma
This opening salvo from Madge’s new Madame X alter ego is an embarrassment of Latin-pop cliches, meaning that whether you’ll like it or not depends entirely on the extent to which Despacito makes you want to obliterate your own crotch with a half brick. Pronouncing the “ll” in Medellín with a soft “J” sound will win props with those appalling backpackers who went to Colombia for three weeks in 2013 and still see themselves as unofficial envoys to South America. Other than that, there is little here to invoke love, hate, or any feelings at all.