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10 songs you need in your life this week

Tracks we love, in no particular order.

10 songs you need in your life this week
"Diet Coke" – Pusha T

Death, taxes, and Pusha T rapping about cocaine. There's very few guarantees in life but that's three right there. Snowfights, stovetops, and quote prices all get referenced on "Diet Coke" as King Push announces his return in glorious fashion. It's been suggested that producer 88 Keys had this soulful, endlessly loopable beat on his hard drive for 18 years. Double it and it's still feasible, so timeless does it sound. Trying new things as an artist is all well and good but sometimes you come to own your niche and "Diet Coke" is further evidence that Pusha T is untouchable at this stuff. —DR

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"Billie Jean" – Lil Bean

San Francisco’s Lil Bean is a rapper with an ear for light melodies that makes me think of SOBxRBE’s Yhung T.O. and other breezy West Coast songbirds like Ty Dolla $ign and Blxst. On “Billie Jean,” the San Francisco rapper sounds like he’s talking to you while laid up in the VIP section of a club. His relaxed flow takes the edge off of his darted jabs and adds a touch of sentimentality to lines about his mom. When he raps, “If you was in my shoes, you’d probably curl,” it’s more of a shrug of disappointment than a teeth-sucking diss that ends up stinging a bit more. —BC

"Should've Been Me" – Mitski

On “Should’ve Been Me,” Mitski sounds like the star of her own one-woman show – only the soundtrack makes for a more high-spirited performance than the tale of grief and isolated detachment that accompanies it. The shimmering Laurel Hell cut sets a lonely scene, placing the singer along a walking track in front of a cardboard set of a city before she’s unexpectedly plucked off the stage and into a different headspace, singing: “I'd be going 'bout my day, until a hand / Would come and lift me out / And drop me in the middle of a labyrinth / Where I'd be stuck a while.” Throughout the song, she confronts the different versions of herself that she doesn’t have control over – the way she may be remembered and recalled only in the memory of others. It’s out of her hands, she resolves, and all she can do is apologize: “I’m sorry, it should’ve been me.” – LP

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“Saoko” – Rosalía

Transformation is at the heart of "Saoko," with Rosalía name checking Vivienne Westwood, Kim Kardashian, and LEGO as she looks at the way perceptions can be changed in an instant. The song, which will feature on her upcoming album Motomami, samples Wisin's 2003 song of the same name, taking the original intensity of the reggaeton classic and fraying the edges with additional percussion and distorted guitars. The result is a grinding and murky pop hit, something that, like all of Rosalía's best songs, feels like the past being forcibly dragged into the future. —DR

"Satan" – Andy Shauf

Andy Shauf is an expert on chipping away at society’s absurdities to get to their core. On “Satan,” the Regina, Saskatchewan singer-songwriter takes on the fervor with which certain sects of Bible thumpers oppose the celebration of Halloween and the practice of trick-or-treating. “Satan is waiting with Halloween candy,” he warns in his strange, subtle singing voice over a lonesome four-chord progression on an acoustic guitar. “All of the best parts make you sorry / All of the worst parts make you strong.” – RH

"FOREIGN EXCHANGE" – Junglepussy

When we reflect on failed relationships in our mind’s eye, our memories of ourselves can be amplified beyond reality. We can have the most feeble heart in history or be brave beyond all recognition as these emotionally charged moments cloud our judgment of who we really are. A consistent feature of Junglepussy’s flow is its definitive nature: her sonorous, classic NYC delivery makes her lines feel like they’re carved out of marble. That’s the kind of inner voice to aspire to, and on “FOREIGN EXCHANGE” Junglepussy employs it to detail her past love life. Over a syrupy neo soul beat, Junglepussy outlines the fuckperson, hashtag activist, and coulda-been she’s left behind, never sounding like anything less than a person fully cognizant of themselves. – JD

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"Softly" – Arlo Parks

On her latest single “Softly,” Arlo Parks clings to flashbacks of the hyper-specific details that surrounded a romance before it all began to collapse in on itself. Still in love and pleading for a painless landing, she wonders if she missed the warning signs that the spark was fading. But if she did, it’s only because she was taking stock of the colors that painted that amorous world. Arlo uses her memories to recreate and communicate the feeling of a rainy day in Berlin, or the aroma of lemon and ginger beer, and the light air of nostalgic R&B production pulls her right back to those moments. – LP

"Royal and Desire" – Animal Collective

The only track on Time Skiffs sung by Josh Dibb (Deakin), “Royal and Desire” is the platonic ideal of an album closer. Like The Who’s “Love, Reign o’er Me'' or The Doors’ “This is the End,'' there's no logical place for it to sit on a record filled with cheery jams but at the very end. Its simple and unhurried central cadence — two dreamy chords in an achingly slow 6/8 meter — underscore despairing lyrics delivered in a deceptively blissed-out manor. It’s not the catchiest or most interesting of Time Skiffs’ nine tracks, but it’s the perfect depression cherry to top off Animal Collective’s most understated pop album to date. – RH

“Bandthoven” - Bandmanrill

Turning on a Bandmanrill song feels like being dropped into a party right as its energy peaks. Usually, when a rapper’s longest songs are two minutes long, I’m constantly running songs back because I didn’t feel like I got enough out of the first three listens. But more than 2 minutes in Bandmanrill’s world might give you whiplash. The beat for “Bandthoven” was supplied by MCVERTT, the Newark Jersey Club producer behind most of Bandmanrill’s output up to this point. Here, MCVERTT takes a Beethoven sample and smushes it into a turbulent loop fit for Bandmanrill’s feverish rapping. Rappers from Jersey and Philly have been tapping into their respective city’s club production scenes in search of production that doesn’t sound like leftovers from an out-of-town producer’s hard drive. It’s a thrilling homegrown wave that keeps their city’s music scenes interconnected. —BC

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“Bloodclarrt Business” – Skiifall

At the beginning of the new single from Montreal’s most exciting rap talent, he sounds like he’s gently scolding a small child who’s interrupted him as he counts up his money, forcing him to start over. As “Bloodclarrt Business” progresses, Skifall zig-zags between bone-crushing aggression, passionate melody, and that same airy dismissal, mirroring the beat’s collage of intensity and subdued menace. The collision of dancehall and drill Skiifall perfected last year sounds as fresh as ever, suggesting that he’s been practicing what he preaches on the song: the importance of keeping your eyes on your own talents, especially if they don’t burn as bright as his. – JD

10 songs you need in your life this week