Y!: Doja Cat, “Streets” — There’s a meme on TikTok, which involves the chorus of Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulders.” The first verse plays through, and then the bass drops and it turns steamy and seductive. No wonder the queen of TikTok Doja Cat used it for the intro to her extremely fucking cool new single, “Streets.”
I’ve said it before: Doja Cat is extremely fucking cool. After a highly successful album (Hot Pink) and media tour in 2020, during which “Say So” continued its reign as the most instantly catchy song in human existence, Doja is back with “Streets,” a slower jam. The first few renditions of the chorus are excellent, the sparse beat pattering over her smoother-than-ever vocals. But it’s the rap verse that truly stuns.
In the video, she performs it while spider-crawling over hunk and Queen Sugar star Kofi Siriboe, who is maybe the hottest man alive. Look at her go! We’re all right there with you, Doja.
If this single is predictive of what’s next for Doja Cat, this girl hasn’t even shown the rest of us 1/100 of what she’s got in her. Grab a front-row seat while you can! — Joan Summers
Y: Laura Mvula, “Safe Passage” - Without Roxette’s 1990 single “It Must Have Been Love,” it’s doubtful that the big lunk of a drum sound in this one would have been possible. Add that to a Peter Gabriel-evoking bass and synth and British singer-songwriter Mvula’s shamelessly open-hearted delivery and you have a recipe for nu-AC done perfectly. I love being old!!! —Rich Juzwiak
Y-y-y-y: Dance System, “Strings 4 Love” - Will I feature every new Dance System release in this column as they roll out? Possibly! The euphoria James Connolly achieves with his unbridled retro floor-packers is a salve. I’m not hearing traces in the club classic that this one ostensibly references, Raze’s “Break 4 Love” (from 1988), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there in Dance System’s Daft Punk-like patchwork of samples. Worth digging into, at any rate. —RJ
Y(ee haw!): Mitski, “The Baddy Man” - Mitski’s Texas roots really jumped out in her new track, “The Baddy Man,” and you don’t have to be into twangy down home country music to like it. The song, which will be featured on her upcoming soundtrack for the sci-fi graphic novel This Is Where We Fall, l shows off a side of her voice that I certainly don’t recognize in any of her previous releases. Refreshing, honestly! Mitski’s underlying... how do I put it... spookiness? Eeriness? Whatever it is, it permeates through the song in a way that kind of reminded me of Karen Elson but never overwhelmed it. I know her last album was called Be The Cowboy, but I’d definitely be here a true blue country era for Mitski. —Ashley Reese