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Time for the Best Songs of the Week—Now With 1 Bonus Bad Song!

5 great new local songs, 5 great new songs from everywhere else, and 1 song that totally sucks.

Bandcamp; YouTube|

Absolutely Yours; Beyoncé

Some songs are bad, and most bad songs are not worth mentioning. But some are wretched enough to acknowledge with disgust. So I’ve added a new feature, Worst of the Week, which I’ll tack on at the end of each column. After you’ve heard the week’s best new music, recoil in horror with me at the worst, and then refresh yourself by returning to the playlists. 

Local Picks

Absolutely Yours, “Field of Nothing”

Bridget Collins floats through the diaphanous pop of Absolutely Yours’s new EP, Mirror Maze, like a ghost mixing with the vapor in the clouds. Her timbre makes it sound as though she’s recalling one of those sad dreams that are too understated to be nightmares, and reminds me just slightly of Wendy Robinson from forgotten ’90s indie-pop band Popinjays

Bushido.Chop, “CRASH DUMMY” 

The title track from this rapper’s January EP showcases a tremendous flow. Over a hard 808 beat from producer BloodOnDaTracks (now that’s a Minnesota name) he raps fast and hungry and self-assured. 

Maria Isa, “Unlock The Chamber”

As in “legislative chamber” I guess, a metaphor the St. Paul state rep doesn’t push too hard here because she’s too busy getting you to dance instead. Legislators who own HVAC companies or law firms continue on with their jobs, why shouldn’t she?

True Green, “My Peccadillos”

Dan Hornsby knows his way around a lyric, setting a shaggy-dog story driven primarily by the cleverness of its rhymes to a Malkmusian melody with appropriate guitars attached. And the moral lesson that the chorus offers up is pretty clear: “'It’s a dog-eat-dog world,’ said the dog with a taste for dogs/'Every man for himself,' said the man for himself.” True Green are throwing an album release show for My Lost Decade at the Eagles 34 on Friday.

Zora, “Fastlane”

This dancefloor burner snuck past me at the end of 2023. BPMs justify its title and burns like “You just an intermission, bitch/I’m the full show” prove why she shouldn’t be fucked with. Zoom!

Non-Local Picks

Beyoncé, “Texas Hold ’Em”

No, not “R&B/country” or “country-tinged” or whatever other racist dodge-words you wanna toss at it. This is Bey’s straight country move, a long time coming, and if “16 Carriages” is just a fine ballad, this is a real two-stepper, Lumineery “hey ho” and all. If nothing else it should make for a fun year in the clubs. Like the lady says, “Don’t be a bitch, come take it to the flo’ now.”

Jlin, “Auset”

As a 54-year-old adult who clings to a tiny shred of professional dignity, I don’t stan anyone on principle—you’ve got to maintain some critical distance, folks. But if someone came up with a ridiculous name for Jlin fans (Jlinsiders? Jlinfantry? Jlincels?) I’d be tempted to apply it to myself. As for “Auset,” it’s just another genius post-footstep arrangement of breakbeats. Yawn. 

Little Simz, “Mood Swings”

The lead cut from the British rapper’s new EP, Drop 7, is one of those tracks where the hook is all in the flow. Simz weaves hypnotically in time to percolating electronics on the chorus, then elbows her way to the front of the mix to the accompaniment of dancehall-style snare.

Kacey Musgraves, “Deeper Well”

What is this world coming to? First Snoop, now Kacey’s giving up weed? As lyrics go, this New Year’s resolution of a song isn’t quite that deep a well. But you don’t turn to Musgraves for profundity, just familiar truths restated in that placid (dare I say stoned) voice of hers.

A Savage, “Black Holes, the Stars, and You”
A leftover from the sessions for Savage’s slightly overlooked 2023 album Several Songs About Fire, which the Parquet Courts frontman recorded with frequent PJ Harvey collaborator John Parrish. I continue to dig Savage in solo singer-songwriter mode; here he muses “I am feeling more observed than understood” as though he’s in communication with distant alien scientists.

Worst of the Week

Benson Boone, “Beautiful Things”

Over hushed acoustics, this Imagine Dragons protégé warbles about his fear of losing you like he’s got Noah Kahan stuck in his throat, and you’re pretty sure you know what kind of awful song you’re in for. Then the chorus whomps you over the head repeatedly like a Nerf sledgehammer. Absolutely not.

Wanna get a local song considered for the playlist? To make things easy on both of us, email keith@racketmn.com with MONDAY PLAYLIST in the subject header. (Don’t, as in do NOT, DM or text: If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just ask you to send an email; if I’m in a bad mood I’ll just ignore it.)

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