Songs You Need in Your Life: December 2023
Our rolling list of this month’s essential new tracks.
Songs You Need in Your Life: December 2023

The FADER's Songs You Need In Your Life are our picks for the most exciting and essential new music releases out there. Every day, we update this page with new selections. Listen on our Spotify playlist or hear them all below.


Leon Vynehall: “Duofade”

Vynehall’s release schedule in 2023 was a quiet one, but each of his three songs released this year showcased the producer and DJ’s wildly creative approach to the dancefloor. “Duofade” utilizes mutated, pleading vocals — one of his signatures — and a similarly distorted perspective on two-step melody and techno rhythms. Here’s to progress. — Jordan Darville

Panopticon: “The Blue Against The White”

Part of me wants to attach a “spoiler alert” label to this one — the concluding track from Panopticon’s new album The Rime of Memory is the sound of a heart fit to burst that’s arguably best enjoyed after listening to the entire project. But for listeners who may not be aware of the different shapes that black metal can take — and how, for years, Austin Lunn’s project has been at the forefront of that progression — “The Blue Against The White” is an ideal entry point. For just over 15 minutes, the song creates a landscape that aims to be as vivid as the natural world Panopticon’s music is so inspired by. In the song’s first movement, an icy floe of post rock, the band channel their awe at the miracle of life on planet Earth without hiding their despair at its impending demise. Existential questions creep in: “Is this so sacred because we can’t keep it?” Lunn snarls in an echo “Do we only love because we will lose?” The resulting fusillade of rage ebbs and flows, generating new power each time. — Jordan Darville

Teejay & Davido: “Drift (Remix)”

Nigerian Afrobeats icon Davido adds a stellar verse to Montego Bay rising star Teejay’s dancehall summer smash “Drift.” It’s one of those collaborations that feels predestined, bridging the trans-Atlantic divide organically and with impeccable finesse. — Raphael Helfand

AKTHESAVIOR & sagun feat. Mick Jenkins: "Tetsuo's Ways"

The newest single from rapper AKTHESAVIOR and producer sagun’s forthcoming joint project is a lo-fi, moody reflection on betrayal, inspired by the traitorous character of Tetsuo in the classic anime sci-fi film Akira. AK and guest artist Mick Jenkins trade elite verses, musing on the perpetual distrust they feel for humanity after witnessing a world full of snakes and rats. These venomous lyrics lend the track an edge not immediately apparent from Mick and AK’s even-keeled delivery and sagun’s mellow guitar beat. — Raphael Helfand

4batz: "act ii: date @ 8"

Dallas-based R&B vocalist 4batz is the kind of guy who wants his date to know how much the night cost him. Hair? $500. Nails? Another $200. Might as well throw in a pair of shoes, too. It would feel like a debt climbing up if he didn't sing so sweetly, adding a "I buy you shit because you rare" to his romantic invoice. "act ii: date @ 8" clocks in at under two minutes and is only the second song 4batzhas dropped so far, but there's a smoothness to his storytelling and delivery that is magnetic. Right now 4batz keeps promising big things and delivering. — David Renshaw

Lerado Khalil: “Cant Come Back”

St Paul rapper Lerado Khalil makes noise work for him across his new project Dog Days. The tempests he creates have the menace of Goth Money Records and the rap-as-sonic-sculpture leanings of Slauson Malone, yet there’s an accessibility that’s cognizant of modern rap’s affection with the mosh. “Cant Come Back” is an oasis at the project’s center: opening with a beat that sounds like it was recorded near a malfunctioning water heater in a jazz club’s basement, Lerado treats regret like a mantra: “Sent a text when I should’ve called” he repeats in the introduction before kicking off his haunted verses. — Jordan Darville

Eyedress and The Marias: “A Room Up In The Sky”

Eyedress has a preternatural gift for crafting sleek, psychedelic grooves that complement his silky vocal instrument. On “A Room Up In The Sky,” he joins forces for a second time with fellow Californian vibelords The Marias for a blissed-out jam that snakes around itself, caressing every corner of any room it occupies. — Raphael Helfand

OsamaSon: "All Star"

2023 has been the year rage rap progressed, and for all the flowers Ken Carson got for A Great Chaos, OsamaSon more than deserves a share. “All Star” from OsamaSon’s new mixtape Flex Musix is half-throwback — the lead melodies and thundering orchestration are pure Lex Luger-era trap — but the blown-out subs and OsamaSon’s addled, Auto-tuned drawl keep it firmly on the underground’s cutting edge. — Jordan Darville

Suk Hong: “Three Movements for the Play Deprived”

South Korean post-classical composer Suk Hong’s debut single with the NYC/Baltimore-based label/collective unseelie is a gorgeous piece of songcraft and sound design that plays with extraterrestrial echoes and abrupt silences in service of exploring “the paradoxical comfort found in discomfort,” per its bio. A symphony of texture compressed into a six-minute runtime (and mixed to perfection by Fire-Toolz), “Three Movements for the Play Deprived” contains flashes of Ferraro, Lopatin, and Ligeti but feels totally original when taken as a whole — a tempoless, disjointed groove for a spaceship’s strange yet graceful first landing on earth. “The heartbeat of the world is irregular,” Hong writes. “Only by swaying and dancing can one truly walk in harmony with it.” — Raphael Helfand

AKAI SOLO: "Black Flash"

My favorite Akai Solo flow is the one that falls over his beats like gumballs falling out of a machine. The spillage of thoughts and passions contains its own rhythm, not concealed but not announcing itself either, content to let the words smear together in an impressionistic haze. On “Black Flash,” a song from his new Bandcamp-only album Verticality​/​/​/​Singularity, Akai Solo carves indelible, impromptu verses over a glitchy beat produced by Black Noi$e, merging flexing with anecdotes, personal philosophy, and introspection into a hazy and glorious slurry that gets more urgent as the song progresses. — Jordan Darville

PinkPantheress: "Ophelia"

When Shakespeare meets a jungle beat meets a voice like silken rain and a bedazzled K-pop-esque topline, you get “Ophelia.” It’s a dainty, melancholic, and still-danceable bit of PinkPantheress perfection. The English-born artist relishes in the divine tragedy of the song’s namesake, a woman stuck in a torrent and manipulative love affair. — Lila Dubois

Jade Bird: “Find A Way”

Her first release since the 2021 drop of sophomore album, Different Kinds of Light, Jade Bird’s “Find A Way” reminds us just how gusty a good rock and roll song should be. Though a notable songwriter herself, Bird was called in just to perform this one, bringing gritty skyscraping vocals and the all-business drive of her guitar playing to writer and producer Linda Perry’s latest work on the Netflix biography, Nyad. “Find A Way” doesn’t mess around, with a churning drive reminiscent of an epically pissed-off Stevie Nicks circa the 1980s. — Lila Dubois

Sideshow: “LEX (Every Workhouse Go To Heaven)”

When a rapper is “locked-in” on a rap song, it means they've perfectly matched the beat’s energy by pulling some part of themselves out and onto the track. That doesn’t mean it has to be a cerebral song — Soulja Boy was absolutely locked the fuck in on “Crank Dat" — but it does make the more contemplative tracks a more richly human dimension. Washington D.C-based rapper Sideshow turns in a masterclass in the art of locking in on his new song “LEX (Every Workhouse Go To Heaven),” released in September. For just under a minute-and-a-half, Sideshow glides with a freestyle's energy over a melt-in-your-mouth sample of psychedelia — if the beat wasn’t created on a Roland SP 404 found in someone’s attic, it certainly sounds that way. “I’m a n**** from around the way,” Sideshow says, referencing the immortal Denzel Washington Oscars story. “When I leave here I’m leaving with something / When I’m coming, I’m coming with thunder.” — Jordan Darville

Jahari Massamba Unit: “Stomping Gamay”

The latest single from the dream duo of Madlib and Karriem Riggins arrived with the news of their second joint LP as Jahari Massamba Unit. “Stomping Gamay” pairs Riggins’ shuffling yet precise pocket drumming with some familiar gadgets from Madlib’s totally distinctive but always expanding toolkit: syncopated double bass, atmospheric Rhodes piano, and a flute chorus that’s ever-so-slightly out of sync. — Raphael Helfand

Chuquimamani-Condori & Requisit: “Red Road”


Chuquimamani-Condori is on an insane late-autumn tear: Following their phenomenal November album DJ E and an equally astonishing Fact Mix, the cutting-edge sound collagist has joined forces with the more groove-minded Queens-based producer Requisit for “Red Road.” The new track that strips away the more chaotic layers of the Condoriverse, setting slightly less alien synth work to the huayño rhythms that formed DJ E’s exoskeleton. — Raphael Helfand

PACKS: “Paige Machine”


“Paige Machine” comes as the 3rd single released ahead of PACKS’ forthcoming LP, to be released in 2024. Meshing the disaffected cool-girl sleaze of 90s alt-rock with bright production and swimming guitar reverb, PACKS' new song serves as a representative of the world of modern indie-grunge. The band frontwoman Madeline Link leads the chorus’ meditative drone, her repetition of “gotta restart, gotta restart” ringing out like the defeated mantra of anyone who has ever screwed something up (i.e. probably all of us). — Lila Dubois

Softcult: "Heaven"

Mercedes and Phoenix, the two members of Canadian shoegaze duo Softcult, dream of a paradise where a person's appearance is free from judgement on their latest single. The quietly epic "Heaven" is the sound of a wish that starts close to home, with dysmorphic thoughts ("I was given a body that doesn't fir on me") making their dreams feel like more of an escape plan. Musically, Softcult lean into the goth-ier side of shoegaze, leaving a haze of black smoke in their path toward a kinder future. — David Renshaw

Liquid Mike: "K2"

"K2" by the great Liquid Mike, a Michigan-based pop-punk band where the emphasis is on the punk part, is written about the things kids in small towns do for entertainment. Devoid of big city attractions, you find yourself coming up with inventively dumb activities. For Liquid Mike, it's more about playing the blackout challenge and smoking the synthetic weed the song is named after. The buzzy and energetic "K2" will appear on the band's upcoming Paul Bunyan's Slingshot, due on February 2. — David Renshaw

Tems: "Not An Angel"

New Tems music has the quality of a rare lunar event: spectacular enough to outshine everything else in your periphery even as you wish you could experience it more often. The Nigerian songwriter has been newly active of late, in October sharing “Me & U,” her first solo release in two years, followed by “Not An Angel” on December 8. Breakup pop songs usually stress empowerment, but Tems is bold enough to face reality: that even saying goodbye to a toxic person can sometimes feel like a Pyrrhic victory. That sense of loss helps define the mournful Afrobeat groove of “Not An Angel,” Tems acting as the resigned conductor: — “I’m not an angel / I’m just a girl who knows the truth.” — Jordan Darville.

GRRL: "Ultra Heaven"

The latest two-pack from NYC-based DJ and producer GRRL is a pair of endlessly fun, pulse-pounding joints for club nights that take place in the Wipeout video game series’ universe. “Ultra Heaven” is an overcharged battery of rave throwbacks, steely techno synths, and fat, relentless kick drums. Even without the harpsichord sections, it would still feel luxurious. — Jordan Darville

Discovery Zone: “Mall of Luv”

Recent RVNG Intl. signee JJ Weihl’s new single as Discovery Zone is an ingenious collage of synthetic components. An angelic chorus pulls back the curtains onto a soft riverbed of drum machine and sub bass. Weihl floods the scene with tidal synth pools, a crystalline vocal stream, and splashes of sax, evoking varying degrees of Enya, Wendy Carlos, and Kero Kero Bonito. — Raphael Helfand

Quelle Chris and Cavalier: “Purple Robes”

Black Cottonwood, the 2022 tape from Quelle Chris and Cavalier now on streaming platforms, is brimming with warped and wonderful chemistry. On “Purple Robes,” the cigar-driven sample seems to melt and distort from the elliptical presence of the rappers, Chris growling like a hungover soothsayer and Cavalier with his dagger-worthy delivery. — Jordan Darville

MX LONELY: “Papercuts”

MX LONELY make music that bruises beneath the surface. In a hardcore sweet spot between post-punk and shoegaze occupied by the likes of Chat Pile and Protomartyr, their songs are unwieldy yet efficient vehicles for heavy emotional loads. “Papercuts” — a relatively straightforward song the group’s singer Rae Haas wrote after having a nightmare in which a friend got “a papercut that wouldn’t stop bleeding” — is shattering and direct but leaves room for reflection in its echoing recesses of reverb. — Raphael Helfand

Hovvdy: "Bubba"

Hovvdy write with a specificity about a familial relationship forged in fire at a young age, as well as the bittersweet ways they change with independence. The Texas indie-pop duo's songs once lamented the passing of time, as if eternal youth was an opportunity they missed. On "Bubba," however, there is acknowledgement that looking back is not always filled with memories of good times. Bubba, the character at the center of the song, shares painful recollections with his sister but is no longer close enough to comfort her. "I’m not around, God I hate it," singer Charlie Martin laments, knowing that no text message, FaceTime, or even song lyric, can ever replicate the feeling of siblings spending time together. — David Renshaw

Joanna Sternberg: “Without You”

Few contemporary artists can distill emotions as pristinely as Joanna Sternberg does routinely. Their new song “Without You” echoes with the forlorn charm of the American Songbook, covering precisely the depth and breadth it needs to in just under two minutes’ time. — Raphael Helfand

Nettspend feat. Xaversobased: “idgaf” (prod. evilgiane)

Novagang affiliates Nettspend and Xaversobased join up to tag team a kickless beat from Surf Gang scene leader evilgiane. Over a hollow sub bass, machine-gun hi-hats, and four-on-the-floor hand claps, Nett’s Auto-Tuned, monotone drawl bleeds into Xav’s resonant, baritone bars for a satisfying sample of what’s brewing in the PRIME-soaked studios of Gen-Z’s most promising class of hip-hop innovators. — Raphael Helfand

Spook: "Move"

On Spook’s new track, the Atlanta rapper sounds like she’s about to ash a blunt on a new velvet couch. Like the corners of her mouth are fixed in a permanent smirk, inviting anyone pressed to try her and make her day even better. As unbothered as she sounds, Spook raps nimbly over the flaring, retro synths, flexing a new thing who’s “sexy but not a sexist” and turning the mall into her own personal wardrobe. “I’m solid, don’t got shit to prove” she raps on the hook, and it’s hard to doubt her. — Jordan Darville

Stiffy: "Celo"

No one’s happy that Chief Keef has delayed Almighty Sosa 2 yet again, but we can take some comfort in keeping up-to-date with the rappers who wear his influence proudly and with style. Stiffy is an Argentinian rapper who in 2023 shared Stiffyhoven, a project of frantically supercharged Chicago drill. The second track on that project “Swag De Sosa” interpolated the melodies of Keef’s hit “Love Sosa,” and on his latest project Stiffy Bravo, Stiff uses track number two to pay tribute to another Keef classic. “Celo” taps the melodies of “Love No Thotties,” down to the loping electric guitar lines and endlessly pretty synth chirps. — Jordan Darville

Adrianne Lenker: "Ruined"

Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker steps behind the piano for "Ruined," a hushed and broken outpouring of torment that paves the way for an upcoming solo album. Lenker leaves quiet drops of detail in her verses — a tentative finger over the "call" button, the gift of a purple quartz, memories of a tree peeking through a bedroom window — to loosen the thick and stubborn feeling of dejection at the heart of the song. "Can’t get enough of you/You come around and I’m ruined," Lenker sings over and over. Not even time can heal the pain, with every passing hour intensifying the hurt. The repetition of the chorus eventually begins to feel like a looped and inescapable thought that you just have to ride out. — David Renshaw

Meth Math: "Myspace"

Taken from Meth Math’s forthcoming album Chupetones, “Myspace” sees the Mexican trio using the rhythms of reggaeton and dembow as building blocks for what feels like a surprisingly pleasant K-hole in Y2K purgatory. A haunting deconstructed club track that relies heavily on bold percussive elements, “Myspace” is defined by its familiar but foreign sound through the transmutation of warm Afro-Caribbean beats into icy harbingers of a (very danceable) apocalypse. That said, there’s still a cold yet sensual quality to “Myspace,” amplified by Ángel Ballesteros’ hypnotic, alien-esque vocals, which slinks its way through the slowed-down and sludged-up production to create a track that’s the sonic equivalent of a one night stand with a succubus you spotted from the other side of Hell. — Sandra Song

Jennifer Vanilla: “Jennifer Pastoral” (Love Injection Remix)

“Jennifer Pastoral” is the most purely joyful song on Jennifer Vanilla’s August debut LP, Castle In the Sky, a galactic transmission from an eternal ’80s dimension. On the record’s extended edition, Love Injection (the DJ duo of Barbie Bertisch and Paul Raffaele) stretch the five-minute cut out to a relaxed 7:19 run time, padding it with languid slow builds that chip away at the song’s sense of urgency. Notably, the original song’s most distinctive aspect — a syncopated whistle flutters around the beat — is moved to the back of the mix here, making room for hand drums and lush synth washes that suffuse the celestial cut with an earthy glow. — Raphael Helfand

Kent Loon feat. Chester Watson: “Free YSL”

P.O.W. Recordings signees Kent Loon and Chester Watson sound like a single entity as they trade gravelly fours over Watson’s minimal, foreboding beat. The song’s title doubles as a political statement and a mood board, directing the track’s energy more than its lyrical content. “We made this one pulling an all nighter,” Loon explains. “We were really just creating and wanted a song where we could test our bars and go back to back. Young Thug’s eclectic and eccentric music is an inspiration to be yourself and to try new things with your voice and your sound. He embodies fearlessness in all creative things. Thug has shifted the mindset in hip hop in a lot of ways and we just wanted to give him his flowers.” — Raphael Helfand

Ouri: "Blueprints of Us"

Montreal musician Ouri's latest single is as sparse and expensive as a high-end boutique. A piano loop plays over and as Ouri explores the silence between the notes, stretching out and making herself at home inside the padded beats. "First time dancing with no gravity," she sings as the tempo increases ever so slightly, "grace found its way into our bodies." That tiny shift up jolts the song from an almost ambient pace into something a little livelier but make no mistake; "Blueprints of Us"soothes as it mesmerizes. — David Renshaw

Wishy: "Spinning"

Shoegaze has enjoyed a mini resurgence thanks to bands like Hotline TNT and feeble little horse, while also spawning its own offshoot of "country-gaze" led by the likes of Wednesday and Ratboys. It's time, then, that shoegaze's second cousin, jangle-pop, is getting its own moment thanks to Indiana's Wishy. Their latest track "Spinning" is a hazy, charming dream-pop number directly inspired by The Sundays, and their influence is palpable: Hooky pop vocal melodies swirl around shimmering guitars as singer Nina Pitchkites copes with everyday existential crises by simply basking in the song's intoxicating, glistening glow. — Cady Siregar

Wizz Havinn: "Flaw"

On this track from Wizz Havinn’s new tape Super Wizz, the Florida rapper sounds completely at ease, like he’s laying down his verses from the massage table (the rattling ice cubes at the song’s beginning should cue you in on what’s really going on, but still). Wizz is resting on a cloud dreaming of the cars he’ll cop and the jewelers he’ll casually spend a once-unthinkable amount of money at, while never forgetting the struggle he came from or the people who made him: “He got a bag and still ain’t help his man / Damn that n**** flaw,” he mutters, the disgrace the only thing that comes close to shaking Wizz from his reverie. — Jordan Darville

Veeze feat. Luh Tyler and Rob49: "ATL Freestyle 1"

The new two-pack from Veeze, Luh Tyler, and Rob49 feels like the first NBA game of the regular season with three hotly tipped draft picks hitting bucket after bucket. Despite the title of “ATL Freestyle 1,” the beat is pure Michigan — fluttering percs, skittering hi-hats, and harmonic menace up the stakes as the rappers trade bars and flex their pedigrees. Rob49 has been “getting money before PSP handhelds,” Luh Tyler is in the holiday spirit (“So many hoes, I feel like Santa, I might pull up on a sled”, and Veeze is hand-waving away the perks of rap game: “You wanna fuck that bad, then book the flight yourself.” There’s a difference between talking shit and shit talking, and all three rappers are the endlessly compelling residents of the former camp. — Jordan Darville

@: "Soul Hole"

Sometimes a stylistic shift can be stark yet convincing enough to make you revisit the artist’s earlier work in the search for clues. I’m not immediately hearing any on @’s 2023 Mind Palace Music, a humble yet deceptively ornate album of folk-pop, but what’s clear is the duo’s borderless affection for melody; in each song, they search diligently for earworms in unusual pockets. @’s new single “Soul Hole” is a glitchy orchestral pop track — think Superorganism meets Grandaddy — perfectly suited for the next Katamari Damacy soundtrack. “I’m going to the Soul Hole and I’m never coming back,” sings Victoria Rose in a glazed AutoTune as a toy chest of sawtooth synths and vocal samples unfurl around her. Who knows where the “Soul Hole” is, but @ sound right at home there. — Jordan Darville

MVW feat. TiaCorine and Lil Cherry: "Tru Tru" (DJ Sliink remix)

DJ Sliink puts a Jersey club spin on “Tru Tru,” a February track from New York classical composer turned hip-hop producer MVW and two emcees: South Korean’s Lil Cherry and North Carolina’s TiaCorine. Originally a tactile slow jam, the track becomes a dance-floor destroyer in Sliink’s hitmaking hands, overflowing with shotgun percussion and nuclear sub bass. — Raphael Helfand

Militarie Gun feat. Bully: "Never Fucked Up Twice"

Militarie Gun's "Never Fucked Up Once" is an instant emo-slash-post-hardcore classic (that isn't shoegaze or Britpop), intended to be enjoyed during one of those nights in the mosh when the next-day bruises are just worth it. "Never Fucked Up Twice," then, is a new version that gets transformed into a soft, stipped-down ballad, featuring vocals from Bully's Alicia Bognanno which turns the number into something of a duet. It's a great refresh; the headbanging, high-octane characteristics of the original get repackaged as something emotional and tender in the updated version, and Bognanno's backing vocals give it an added ethereal quality. — Cady Siregar

Billie Marten: "Just Us"

A stand-out from Marten’s 2023 album Drop Cherries, “Just Us” is 2 minutes and 27 seconds of indie-folk heaven. Like the album, the song bridges the gap from eerie from angelic, playing up ambient strings and production in all the vogues of the boygenius-era indie-folk scene of today while still remaining entirely her own. The wonderfully impossible love child of Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, and Phoebe Bridgers, Marten has released four studio albums since 2016 and collaborated with artists like Tom Rosenthal and Flyte. — Lila Dubois

Sarah Jaroz: “Columbus and 89th”

The second single released ahead of Jaroz’s 2024 album, “Columbus and 89th” encapsulates all that makes her music an integral part of the modern bluegrass canon. The single leans on Jaroz’s soaring vocals, earnest lyricism, and delicate picking style, while also hinting at a new era of more extensive production. In addition to “Columbus and 89th,” the EP includes “Jealous Moon” and “When the Lights Go Out,” together forming a collection of equal parts pop, rock, folk, and bluegrass. Jarosz has announced tour dates for the spring in anticipation of the upcoming album, Polaroid Lovers, available January 26th. — Lila Dubois

jawnino: "2 trains"

London rapper jawnino dreams of blue skies from the glare of police lights in his fleeting but impactful new single. "2trains" is a moody moment of late-night introspection, with a conversational flow painting vivid images of danger and excess in equal measure. The percussion over the top of the murky beat chirps nicely while a growling vocal echoes the phrase "see you on the other side." jawnino sounds like he's crossing over. — David Renshaw

Iglooghost feat. Mariana Herlop: “Collision Data”

According to the ever-irreverent Iglooghost, “Collision Data” is supposedly “a very fast song about germs and larvae,” which the London-based producer chooses to express through a series of sharp kicks, glitches, and squeaks. A fun throwback to the future bass era of the mid-2010s, it’s an aggressively erratic production that brings to mind a malfunctioning printer or the dying breaths of an ancient desktop computer. Yet at the same time, this onslaught of error messages feels right when paired with Marina Herlop’s breathy vocals, so spectral and otherworldly that you’d believe there’s an actual ghost in the machine. — Sandra Song

Bb trickz: "Llorando en la prada"

If the main criticism of sample drill is that many of its biggest hits flip songs that are too well-known, it shouldn’t be shocking when artists respond with some more left-field choices. Catalan rapper Bb tricks crafts the luxurious heartbreak of “LLorando en la prada” with the help of a sample of “By This River,” a ballad from Brian Eno’s 1977 classic Before And After Science. It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it works: Trickz’s blasé plays effortless jumprope with the rattling bass, transforming the tearstained melody into something approaching flex territory. — Jordan Darville

Kirin J Callinan: "Crazier Idea"

On “Crazier Idea,” Kirin J Callinan is chasing renewal. “So kill the man that you once were,” he bellows, “Or else he should return / To this game of fools.” Such a sentiment won’t be a surprise to fans: his solo debut Embracism had a skronky industrial-pop sound that was ditched for sunburnt EDM on the brilliant follow-up Bravado (his third full-length Return To Center was a collection of lovingly crafted covers, sometimes faithful, other time completely revamped). “Crazier Idea” is the fourth single from the upcoming If I Could Sing and the strongest track from that project we’ve heard yet. Callinan wears the song’s glossy sophisti-pop as comfortably as his own birthday suit, plucking words in each line and using them as homonymic inspiration for the next. “Classy” might not be the first word that comes to mind with Kirin J Callinan, but “Crazier Idea” proves that he cleans up nice. — Jordan Darville

Songs You Need in Your Life: December 2023