HTRK : Mentions
Ambiguity and evocation have long been the name of the game for HTRK. ‘Mentions’ could be a takedown of social media dependency with lines like, “Even with another mention, it’s not enough attention.” But even if the exact meaning isn’t blatant, the song creeps its way under your skin. Jonnine Standish sounds numbed by the constant deviations of the psyche, while Nigel Yang’s lo-fi electronics cultivate uneven ambience. The beat never steadies, but momentum comes from reverb-heavy guitar work and Standish’s increasingly urgent forecast: “You’re passing up on the real stuff, it’s not physical enough.”
Troye Sivan ft Ariana Grande : Dance to This
More low-key than one might expect from an all-star collaboration, ‘Dance to This’ is an infectious ode to intimacy. Sivan’s point is plain from the off: forget the party scene, let’s just stay home and get close to each other. Grande’s input is reasonably minimal, but both singers succeed in actualising the song’s understated brilliance (rather than bigging themselves up). It lacks a belting final chorus and is all the better for it, leaving you lusting for more at the end of each replay.
The Babe Rainbow : Supermoon
Sometimes you see flowers in bloom and the colours are so vivid, the petals so lustrous that you assume they’re fakes. The Babe Rainbow’s music engenders a similar sense of disbelief – paisley-streaked psychedelia so entrenched in ‘60s nostalgia that you expect it’ll be exposed as paper-thin. But the Byron trio again proves the tangibility of their lustre on ‘Supermoon’. It’s all Syd Barrett melodies and Eastern flourishes a la George Harrison’s Magical Mystery Tour contributions.
Kids See Ghosts : Fire
‘Fire’ isn’t an obvious hit, but it’s an absorbing production and one of Kanye’s best moments behind the boards in years. It has a man-made feel, nodding to spiritual music, bebop and Bjork’s organic-electronic signature. ‘Ye holds it together on the mic and Kid Cudi provides worthy support, including the apt couplet, “Let ‘em hate, this the type of shit that they couldn’t make.”