Having just gotten back to the states from a service trip to the Bahamas, the first thing I needed to do was catch myself back up on all the news and releases that I missed in those ten days. Thankfully January is a slow month for music and movies both, and I was able to collect all the information that I missed while out of the country. But even though January might not be filled with huge releases, it gives us plenty of time to look forward to another great year of music. 2013 will be a hard year to beat, but I don’t doubt 2014 can give it a run for its money. So I’ve picked three tracks that are all different: one a new remix to an already-released song, the second a single for a highly anticipated 2014 release, and the final one of the best hip-hop songs to swagger out of 2013.
1. “F For You (Ft. Mary J. Blige)” – Disclosure
I’ve recently become more and more addicted to Disclosure’s hell of a debut album, Settle. The problem here was that I actually couldn’t settle (see what I did there?) on just one of the many incredible tracks that are scattered throughout the album. Fortunately, Disclosure decided to release a new studio version of “F For You”, but this time featuring Mary J. Blige! It’s more of the same infectious beats that the Lawrence brothers implemented to the original track, but with a more soulful hook thanks to Blige. What can go wrong with that combination?
2. “Birth In Reverse” – St. Vincent
With 2013 behind us, it’s only fair that we get amped for some great releases of 2014. For me, one of these albums is St. Vincent’s latest, a self-titled album that now has two singles. “Birth In Reverse” is the first (and superior) of the two, and I really can’t stop listening to it. It begins with the lines: “Oh what an ordinary day/ Take out the garbage, masturbate,” so what’s not to love about it?! It’s a witty and catchy tune that puts Annie Clark’s excellent guitar talent to use while the groove of her last album, Cruel, is still fully intact. “Birth In Reverse” is a great song to jam to, and will only get you more excited for St. Vincent’s upcoming album in February.
3. “25 Bucks (Ft. Purity Ring)” – Danny Brown
Old is one of the few hip-hop albums released last year that caught me completely off-guard. I was never much of a Danny Brown fan, but after a few listens I was completely hooked. While many might remember it for the intense bangers on the second half of the album, the third track, “25 Bucks”, is the song that I can never get out of my head. With guest vocals from Megan James of Purity Ring sprinkled between Brown’s introspective verses, the track proves both how great a writer Brown can be while also providing a glimpse into his poverty-stricken past. It’s one of the most compelling songs on Old, and will resonate with you long after the final verse.