It’s Thanksgiving and I’m typing this week’s column from my parents’ computer in my childhood home. It feels novel to reflect on the week in music while in the house I spent most of my life headquartered in, back in the eras of CD binders and Napster and iTunes Singles of the Week. But this nostalgia isn’t what you came here for; you came here to hear my hot takes on bringing non-canonical Thanksgiving foods to Thanksgiving potlucks. No?
The Saxophones: “Singing Desperately”
Sleepy and quiet, “Singing Desperately” would be a great coda to put in the final spot of your next playlist. Because The Saxophones are comprised of one married couple, there’s an added layer of closeness in the music of this Oakland duo. And there’s somewhat of a Kinks-via-Yellow House vibe in their music which I find terribly charming. Their great debut album Songs of the Saxophones was released this summer to little fanfare (if either of The Saxophones are reading this, I’m sorry) and “Singing Desperately” will head off a February 2019 7” EP I recommend putting on your radar.
Zayn feat. Nicki Minaj: “No Candle No Light”
It’s been a few years now and Zayn Malik still seems to be searching for his footing as a post-One Direction solo act. He’s had a couple great tracks, though none have made as much of a splash as his big kickoff single “PILLOWTALK.” Oh, what an era! It takes me right back to early 2016… incidentally the last time Zayn made much of a cultural impact outside of his Fifty Shades Taylor Swift collab. A lot of Nicki’s Cardi-beef-era output has been pretty iffy, but at least 6ix9ine isn’t on this track. Add the anodyne Spotify-core production into the mix and what we have here is a trifecta of once-dominating, now-fading cultural forces at risk of falling further from grace since their introduction earlier this decade. “No Candle” will be a fun moment to revisit when looking back on the late 2010s.
The Chemical Brothers: “Free Yourself”
By my estimate, the pantheon of so-bad-it’s-good CGI-laden music videos is four classics deep: TLC’s “Unpretty,” Linkin Park’s “In the End,” Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” and The Chemical Brothers’ “Hey Boy Hey Girl.” This week, ’90s UK big beat legends The Chemical Brothers returned to their roots by dropping a video for their first single in two years, “Free Yourself.”
Listen, I’m not gonna waste your time by delving into any kind of sonic exploration here. The real highlight here (and there’s no question about this) is the video. I have no idea who still thinks it’s a good business move to invest in a high budget Chemical Brothers video in 2018, but I’m terribly grateful. Essentially, the “Free Yourself” video is a riff on the “Hey Boy” video, which features silly dancing skeletons, this time subbing in silly dancing robots instead.
Hey, what’s wrong with you? Why haven’t you watched this yet?