It’s been a couple of days since we passed the halfway mark of the year, and despite how 2018 seems intent on being another dumpster fire of a year, we’re still holding out hope that things would turn around.
Listening to something enjoyable and even informative definitely helps keep us from imploding with frustration, and these new (and new-ish) releases can keep you entertained whenever you feel the need to tune out a bit from the constant barrage of shitty news.
Keynian Lonsdale, “Preach”
Debuting just before the end of Pride Month, our current favorite bisexual prince Keynian Lonsdale‘s newest single is a better showcase of what he can really do compared to his more mellow previous release “Kiss the Boy.”
The music video for the soul/R&B-tinged (and Frank Ocean-reminiscent) “Preach” has the 26-year-old Love, Simon actor serving some really serious moves—he was a recurring cast member in the Australian teen drama series Dance Academy, after all—to lyrics that speak of emotional openness and vulnerability. Lonsdale also sports two distinct looks in the MV: one in all-black as he pirouettes and slinks across a deserted bar, and the other as a bare-chested Rainbow Boy gleefully leaping and cavorting in the outdoors. In an email interview with The FADER, he reveals that his second single was something he had unknowingly written for himself almost a year ago, and that it’s about “fucking with your own soul, agreeing to be on the ride together no matter what, and discovering/remembering that magic is real if you believe it so.” Preach.
Tierra Whack, Whack World
Remember Missy Elliott’s “One-Minute Man”? Hip-hop artist Tierra Whack would have to be the “One-Minute Woman,” though her title would definitely not be about her lack of prowess or skills.
The 22-year-old presents a buffet of sounds with her debut audiovisual album Whack World, with 15 cuts that run the gamut of trap music, doo-wop, slow jam R&B, mumble rap, and more, with even some country twang thrown in. While on paper, all of that sounds like a headache to listen to, Whack World is pleasantly cohesive: It’s testament to Whack’s talent and overarching vision how smoothly each song transitions into the next to form not just a Whack world (pardon the pun) but a complete Whack universe.
Another key is the song length: Each runs for only one minute, deliberately made short to catch the listener’s ear and sustain their interest. It’s a pretty practical tactic, on top of being a creative one too: In an interview with Pitchfork, Whack admits, “I just didn’t want to overwhelm the world. I’ve seen people drop their first projects where it’s like 17 songs, and I don’t want to hear that shit. And, to be honest, when I’m listening to new albums, I’m only listening to the first 30 seconds before I know if I like it or not.”
The corresponding videos are also digestible for the Instagram crowd. Their surrealist aesthetic and palpable sense of humor are positively Seussian—Whack credits the children’s book author and illustrator for getting her into poetry as a kid—and also calls to mind the avant-garde/absurdist appeal of Missy Elliott’s MVs. It’s difficult to look away even for a moment, given the knowledge that they’d run for only 60 seconds—a classic case of someone who’s masterful at leaving people wanting for more.
Whack World was released back on May 30, so stop sleeping on it. Listening to the whole album could easily be the best 15 minutes of your day.
You Must Remember This new season
Karina Longworth returns with a new season of her podcast, and its scope is quite timely. Titled “Fake News: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon,” You Must Remember This delves into Hollywood urban legends in an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff, and is also an exploration of gossip culture and the tenuous relationship that people tend to have with the truth. Anchoring the series is the infamous 1959 book Hollywood Babylon, an “exposé” of some of Tinseltown’s darkest and best-kept secrets, written by avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger.
The first episode is now available on the You Must Remember This website.