Aural Fixation: 5/27 (A Weekly Music Playlist)

Here at Literally, Darling, Mondays mean new music!

From the slow-burning best of R&B right now to early-listen looks at the latest from some of our favorite artists, this week’s Aural Fixation is all over the sonic landscape. What these songs do all have in common, though, is that they’re great—some fresh (and definitely some funky) sounds to spruce up your old weekly music playlist or update your iTunes library.

Don’t forget that you can catch up on new music right here, every Monday; we’ll scour the blogosphere every week and comb together an eclectic selection of new sounds for you, where you can find them all in one place.

Happy listening—hope you hear something you love!

“Grown Woman”
Beyoncé

First premiered as the soundtrack to Beyoncé‘s killer #BeyHereNow Pepsi commercial, “Grown Woman” definitely does not disappoint in its full form. Beyoncé’s continual willingness to experiment in new sonic territory and expand her repertoire of musical influences is one of the (many) reasons for her incredible success. “Grown Woman” is a rollicking, drum-driven affair that flirts playfully with African stylings, creating an electrically entertaining sound that’s as engaging as it is interesting. All hail the Queen.

“Queen of Disaster”
Lana Del Rey

This track, which we tweeted earlier this week, is the latest from Lana Del Rey. (I still can’t get enough of “Young And Beautiful,” which was featured a couple weeks back.) This lighter sound suits Del Rey remarkably well, offering a much-needed buoyancy to her sometimes hyperserious catalog. The new tone is still steeped in Del Rey’s favored bittersweet nostalgia, but it’s nice to hear her experimenting with something a bit different for her next studio release.

“Recover”
CHVRCHES

A rich, digitally glittering affair, “Recover” is reminiscent of t.A.T.u.‘s enjoyable brand of dramatic electrorock vibe in all the best ways. There’s plenty to lose yourself in, and the dramatic delivery is just indulgent enough without being too sentimental. It’s a quick-forming favorite, with all the makings of a solid electronic indie pop-rock staple.

“Royals”
Lorde

The 16-year-old (!) New Zealand artist Lorde delivers something intriguing here, playing it sharp and cool with the eclectic “Royals.” An array of indie subgenres are bubbling under in the influences found on the track, offering an accessibility that’s sure to please all sorts of tastes, and the catchy, M.I.A.-esque groove is kind of undeniably great. Playing into the chic, in-the-moment appeal are clever lyrics coyly flirting with materialism and cheeky jabs at society. It’s delightfully clever, at once whimsical and forward-thinking.

“Easier To Cry”
Emeli Sandé

Emeli Sandé has a sensational voice—her debut album, ‘Our Version of Events,’ is staggeringly well-crafted—and it’s displayed front and center on the driving, big-belt ballad “Easier to Cry.” It’s like an updated Leona Lewis number—a bit sharper, fresher somehow, but with the same satisfying vocal clarity found in those open-throated notes. “Easier To Cry” is from Sandé’s most recently recorded material, presumably for her next album, which by the sound of things will be no sophomore slump.

“Beauty Queen”
Foxes

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A dreamy, psychedelic solo record from the oft-featured Foxes, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her on her own. I first discovered Foxes on Fall Out Boy‘s “Just One Yesterday” (a tremendous song—don’t miss it), and she’s been on a number of other successful tracks in the past year. To my delight, I found a sampling of intelligent, ABBA-esque pop sensibilities interspersed with some indentifiably indie elements, placing Foxes right at the crossroads of “unique” and “shareable.” I’m looking forward to following her, wherever she goes.

“Dirty Laundry”
Kelly Rowland

Pitchfork commented that the latest from this week’s second Child of Destiny is “chilling”—I couldn’t agree more. Within a sensationally straightforward (but contemporary and slick) R&B delivery, Kelly Rowland channels R. Kelly‘s conviction on an unapologetically raw track detailing her troubled friendship behind the scenes with former bandmate Beyoncé and a history with an abusive ex. You can tell it feels good for Rowland to air her dirty laundry, and her sincerity makes it gratifying to go along for the ride—vicarious catharsis.

“Instant Crush”
Daft Punk ft. Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes)

A cool, remarkably polished electrogem from Daft Punk‘s new release ‘Random Access Memories,’ “Instant Crush” is every bit as charming as its name. For me, it was love at first listen. The chorus is the most sensational auditory ambush—a clever use of chords that so brilliantly articulates the appeal of Daft Punk’s sound across such a range of projects, An array of retro synths gives the song the feel of an instant classic, and the remarkably romantic use of AutoTune grants the track a timeliness that keeps it fresh and one step ahead.

Aural Fixation is a weekly music playlist put together by Literally, Darling.

Tweet @LitDarling, or me (@Litzwich)/Melissa (@MellyPeacox), with the hashtag #AuralFixation to give feedback or let us know what some of your newest favorites are.

Katie
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