Björk Tries To Get Her Groove Back

Image via Getty
Image via Getty


N: Björk, “The Gate” - This is the single??? The utter tunelessness of “The Gate,” our first taste of Björk’s upcoming “Tinder” album Utopia, should dismay fans who long for the days when she was able to make alien sounds accessible to the masses, a true pop maverick. She’s still some kind of maverick, I guess—with a production assist from Arca, nothing in music (that I’ve ever heard, at least) ever quite sounded like the insect-wings flutter of what I suppose is meant to be the hook of “The Gate.” But it increasingly sounds like she’s just singing to herself as she goes about her day, without a care in the world, including whether listeners will actually want to hear her sing-song the same handful of words—“Care for you, care for you...”—over and over and over again. Like the vast majority of Björk’s post-Vespertine body of work, here’s yet another one I can’t imagine listening to again now that I’ve heard it. - Rich Juzwiak

Y: Nao, “Nostalgia” - It sounds like Nao took a sample from Meli’sa Morgan’s 1986 classic “Fool’s Paradise” and tinkered with it to make it sound like electro boogie circa ‘82. The nostalgia, then, is wrapped in nostalgia. Effective premise for a pop song, and the utter joy exploding from the chorus doesn’t hurt either. - RJ

N: Jessie J, “R.O.S.E. Confessional” - Jessie J’s all-encompassing passion for music meets Terrence Malick’s less expensive cousin Kenny in “R.O.S.E. Confessional,” the incomprehensible and overwrought announcement for her forthcoming album titled—you guessed it—R.O.S.E. (both an acronym for “Realisations Obsessions Sex Empowerment,” and a reference to her mother Rose). “I don’t wanna make music anymore,” she says in the video’s opening moments. Based on the four minutes that follow, her claim checks out! - Bobby Finger

OK: Jessie Ware, “Alone” - The third of Jessie Ware’s latest singles, “Alone” has a fun, singable chorus, cute finger snaps and some breathy “oohs” that add up to an altogether pleasant experience. Like most of her singles, it’s a little blah on its own, but in the context of her highly-anticipated-by-me album, I’m sure it will work just fine. Outside of that though, it’s whatever. Bring me the album! I’m ready for the album. Thank you. - Megan Reynolds

Sure: Shakira featuring Nicky Jam, “Perro Fiel” - It’s always nice to hear from Shakira and it’s always nice to see what new things she’s learned to do with her torso. Stray thoughts: the gold body paint is a nice look; the men playing three women as cellos is not supposed to be funny but I laughed. Good song. Classic Shakira. Do with it what you will. - MR

Y: Toni Braxton, “Deadwood” - Toni is working another album, titled Sex & Cigarettes and after decades I’m still obsessed with the tone and allure of her voice. “Deadwood” starts off sounding a bit country and gets more compellingly adult contemporary as it goes on, making me appreciate how consistently Toni has progressed, and with impressive, mature late-career material. (Listen to her album with Babyface Love, Marriage & Divorce). —Clover Hope

Maybe: Jessie J, “Think About That” - It’s commendable that Jessie J avoids taking her vocals to loud, harsh decibels on this spare song, which has kind of a lounge-performance feel to it. In the video, she’s slithering around the floor in fishnets and dressed in sheer, ropes and bondage. If anything, it’s artistic. —CH

Y: Priests covering Rod Stewart, “Young Turks” - I couldn’t care less about this Rod Stewart song but DC punk band Priests (who is also, IMO, the best live band in America) have done a great job covering it for the A.V. Club. Also shout-out to drummer Danielle on the synthesizer, the band should work that into their sound permanently. - Hazel Cills

Yes!-The Cuban-French twin duo Ibeyi, a Jezebel fave, has excitingly collaborated with rapper Mala Rodriguez on their first Spanish-language single, “Me Voy.” The visuals are typically beautiful, but the sound is poppier than we’ve ever gotten from them; it’s fully lush and innovative with harmonies and synths, but the rototom dembow riddim is something else, as they seem to commemorate an intimate but fleeting moment between lovers. “Recuérdalo,” they sing, in a neon-spectrum harmony, and remember it we will indeed. -Julianne Escobedo Shepherd


Y: Jarina De Marco’s “STFU” is a hyper romp for getting the party hype at like... 12:13, right as people show up and the dancefloor starts getting live. She’s rhyming about Lisa Frank and Tamagotchis, a flip from her past political steez (proceeds from her debut single went towards Standing Rock), but partying’s gotta be political too. Some people will try to tell you otherwise, pero like, shut the fuck up. -JES

Eh: Shania Twain, “We Got Something They Don’t”

Shania Twain’s comeback has been eagerly awaited by many, but so far, it’s been a lackluster one; country music’s one-time queen has been releasing song after song that sound exactly like what you’d hear on Lite FM, but somehow more derivative. Her latest continues her lyrical focus of turning a corner after heartbreak, but set against a deep drum beat, it’s an improvement on the tinniness of her first singles (even if the horns seem misplaced and the whole thing smells a bit of a karaoke cover of Bonnie Raitt). - Kate Dries



Kelly’s new song is great!