Just in time for Monday’s mid-afternoon slump: some fresh-squeezed selections for your sonic sweet tooth. This week’s Aural Fixation is a potpourri of groovy tunes that range from a tag-team triumph by Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift to the lesser-explored depths of the internet’s many indiepop playlists. What these tracks all have in common is that I’m loving them all—and loving sharing new music with Literally, Darling readers every week, so thanks for reading!
From insanely catchy displays of songwriting to some really tremendous duets, this week’s a great example of what my philosophy on music is really all about: Keeping preconceived notions out when you put those headphones in. (And great music every Monday, of course.)
If you think you’ve got our musical tastes pegged here at LD, think again! I’ll try to keep keeping the spread dynamic and diverse, because that’s exactly what we are. Why should our music be any different?
Don’t forget to let me know what you’re loving on Twitter @Litzwich, and as always:
“You Know You Like It”
Reminiscent in some ways of fellow Aural Fixation fixture Charli XCX, AlunaGeorge‘s “You Know You Like It” is a divine helping of indie-dance, dressed in all the right bleeps and bloops to make the track glitter like a disco ball. It’s quirky, but it’s major; you’ll have the hook down halfway through. AlunaGeorge flirts with the dark, sexy side of indie-pop, delivering all the right elements of a track with tons of potential: accessibility, intrigue, and a mad-catchy chorus. In a nutshell: You know you like it.[divider]– [/divider]
“My Kind Of Love” [Acoustic: iTunes Session]
If you take nothing else away from Aural Fixation: Take away Emeli Sandé. The tremendous singer-songwriter recently recorded an iTunes Session (essentially a live-recorded collection of acoustic renditions), primarily made up of tracks from her tremendous debut album ‘Our Version Of Events.’ Sandé transforms the already emotional “My Kind Of Love” into a dark, plucky acoustic affair, reducing the song to a simple arrangement and one hell of a vocal. Get your hands on the whole session on iTunes—you don’t want to sleep on Sandé.[divider]– [/divider]
“Bad” [Remix] Wale feat. Rihanna
Wale‘s Rih-done “Bad” with the Barbadian powerhouse herself—and to tremendous effect. It’s hard to name another star more suited for the subtle, searing slow-burn of Rihanna‘s take on the track’s hook. Rih straddles the line between sexual and vulnerable, with mesmerizing vocal production; she rises like heady, hedonistic smoke over the sizzle of Wale’s verses. So bad—but it sounds so good.[divider]– [/divider]
Rebecca & Fiona
Apparently they grow Swedish ladypop duos on trees in Stockholm—not that I’m complaining! “Dance” is an understated slice of slow-jam ambience; it has a rhythmic, repetitive heartbeat that hums throughout, and the track’s strings are put to particularly effective use. It’s a cool and eclectic addition to any playlist celebrating the cinematic side of pop, offering elements found in the music of more familiar artists like Lana Del Rey and Sky Ferreira. The production shines, and this last-minute addition to this week’s Aural Fixation already has me curiously looking into more of the pair’s music.[divider]– [/divider]
Ra Ra Riot
While we’re on the topic of tremendous indie-pop surprises, give Ra Ra Riot’s “Beta Love” a spin (or six). Bright, uplifting synths back a nostalgic vocal melody, but there’s plenty here to discover listen after listen. More than anything, it’s just a jam—the stuff of summer soundtracks, for sure. I’m a big fan of how the song straddles the sonic line between sticky-sweet and serious, giving the emotional groove plenty of complexity to get into (or get lost in).[divider]– [/divider]
“Highway Don’t Care”
Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift (w/ Keith Urban on Guitar)
I’ll admit I’m a little late to hop on “Highway Don’t Care.” (Humility’s rare in music bloggers, so take it where you can get it.) But here’s the thing: I had to include it in this week’s Aural Fixation after seeing the trio perform on the Country Music Awards. There are few hooks more inherently killer than Taylor Swift‘s on this track, few seamless narrative feats in songwriting that make this duet with Tim McGraw seem such an effortless exercise in storytelling. Keith Urban‘s here somewhere (kidding—that solo on the bridge is sick), but the chemistry between the industry veteran and the biggest teen-pop idol in the world couldn’t make more sense in context. A solid country song, through and through, and one of the genre’s best duets—maybe ever.[divider]– [/divider]
Speaking of teen pop, the blogosphere’s gotten their first listen to Selena Gomez‘s second offering from her forthcoming solo album (sans ‘The Scene’ of ‘Selena Gomez & The Scene‘). Enter “Slow Down”: a club-ready, remix-friendly dancefloor banger with . Trendsetting it isn’t, but what it lacks in forward-thinking freshness it makes up for in timely appeal and Selena’s ever-magnetic cheeky, coyly sexy recording persona.[divider]– [/divider]
“Analog Or Digital”
This one’s been kicking around for a minute now, but trust: You don’t want to miss out. Composed using irresistible powerpop chords and an absolutely criminal bass line, Wildlife Control‘s “Analog Or Digital” is a sharply produced and smartly presented track, successful in every way. I heard it in a friend’s car, and now I can’t get enough—of the song or Wildlife Control.
(As a bonus, you can also check out the band’s “Ohai (Do I Know You?),“ since the the SoundCloud widget won’t embed otherwise!)[divider] [/divider]
Aural Fixation is a weekly music playlist put together for Literally, Darling.
With a background in stage acting, professional experience working in PR & marketing, and a number ofsongwriting and recording projects to his name, this jack-of-at-least-several-trades currently lives—where else?—in eclectic Austin, Texas. He has recently taken the plunge and made the daunting but inevitable decision to put the "professional" in professional writer.
Austin writes and rants about music, identity, pop culture, dating, social media, gender and sexuality, and muggle studies.
You can read his poetry and personal essays at Litzwich.Wordpress.com, or follow his erratic but often entertaining stream of consciousness at your own risk at Twitter.com/Litzwich.
- Aural Fixation: 11/11 (A Moment Of Silence For Veterans Day) - November 11, 2013
- Aural Fixation: 10/28 (An LD Halloween Playlist) - October 28, 2013
- Album Review: Katy Perry, “Prism” - October 23, 2013