It's weekend playlist time again! Normally we'd write some sort of catchy and possibly mildly funny intro here, but in this case, we'd prefer getting right to the first track, because it is that good:
1. MISHA B, "HOME RUN"
Misha B was a contestant on the British X Factor before, in that season, the British voters decided they didn't like exciting contestants. Situation like these don't necessarily guarantee that the debut single will be any good, but this? Influenced more by stuff actually going on in U.K. urban music than the syrup pool from which Simon Cowell draws from for standard X Factor winners, this singlehandedly justifies every use of the word "swag" on that show.
2. KYLIE MINOGUE, "TIMEBOMB"
You don't have to care which career anniversary Kylie's on by now (25th, though, which is really impressive) to recognize this as the best dance track she's put out in years. Would it have killed last year, when the apocalyptic dance trend was peaking? Yes, but you can't exactly hold that against 25-years-younger Kylie.
3. KIM WILDE, "YOU KEEP ME HANGING ON"
The 25-years-younger Kylie would probably have heard this Supremes cover at some point as she started her career, considering it was the No. 1 song in the U.S and Australia 25 years ago. This is a complete coincidence. But you can't say they don't kind of sound alike.
4. JAY-Z AND KANYE WEST (OH ALSO AND FRANK OCEAN AND THE-DREAM), "NO CHURCH IN THE WILD"
Yes, there's a really good chance you've heard this before. But you'll probably be expected to be able to talk about this video, considering it's got a bit of a concept.
5. THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, "THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS"
We can't be the only ones who, upon reading that this was nominated for an MTV Movie Award, thought "wait, these guys are still around?" Of course they are. The news cycle stops for no band. Turns out it was on the soundtrack for the thriller Hanna, though it's not quite an action-film track per se; it's made of clinking-clockwork synths and coos, and it makes much more sense when you consider Hanna was inspired by fairy tales: "I’ve known them for a long time, so we have an understanding. For the strip-club theme, for instance, I said to Tom [Rowlands] something like, “I want a theme for a hermaphrodite, sadist strip-club owner that’s a fucked-up fairy tale” — and that’s what he came up with."
For songs that do not involve sadist strip-club owners, including Bieber and Erykah Badu, click NEXT.
6. JUSTIN BIEBER, "DIE IN YOUR ARMS
Is this song as "hater-proof" as Bieber's people claim? No, probably not. (Haters respond to things like Title and Artist tags; vocal timbre's about as close as they ever get to the music.) Is it a little obvious in how much it wants to be early Michael Jackson? Sure, but so was Timberlake's old stuff. The real question: can you think of anyone else currently making music like this? Not really.
7. CUTTING CREW, "I JUST DIED IN YOUR ARMS TONIGHT"
This '80s track, unlike Jackson's stuff, was not an influence on Bieber. (For one, he wasn't even born then.) It's still the song you know must be mentioned, the same way that when Bieber releases "As Long As You Love Me," everyone will mention BSB. Learn your musical references, kids.
8. ERYKAH BADU, "WINDOW SEAT"
That Flaming Lips video didn't even have Erykah Badu in it, and the song is an acquired taste (as most songs on a deliberately, self-consciously experimental Record Store Day compilation might be.) This song, though, is immediate: relaxed, airy and sang less than sighed, the musical equivalent of lying back in a hammock all afternoon. Oh, fine: the video even has nudity, if that's the part you cared about. Shouldn't be.
9. SHONEN KNIFE, "POP TUNE"
Japanese alt-pop-punk group Shonen Knife's been around approximately forever--well, 30 years, which is another way of saying "since the '80s". Their music's somehow still as exuberant as ever, and this is no exception, a raucous pop track about how awesome it feels to listen to raucous pop tracks. It's also got a key change, and those can feel awesome too.
10. CATCALL, "THE WORLD IS OURS"
It is June. We can have summer songs again.