by Dom Jones
Summer is that time of year where everyone is hoping to get a hit on the radio to ride through the season. A lot of music is released, and consequently, a lot of music gets lost in the shuffle. Here are four songs that should rise to the top of your playlist as we coast to the end of this heat-filled season:
Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Overload”
Georgia Anne Muldrow came into view for me (and for many) as the writer of and featured artist on Erykah Badu’s song “Master Teacher.” This song became anthemic in black culture, and after hearing it, I started listening to more of Muldrow’s work, finding that this kind of song was indicative of the artist, herself. Other songs, such as “Break You Down,” also had encouraging messages and would make many easily confine Georgia to the box of “conscious artist.” What I like about “Overload” is that Muldrow steps out of what I’ve typically heard from her production-wise, without seeming disingenuous. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, I can write a love song. Yeah, I can get down over these trap drums.” I love the elasticity that she has as an artist, and considered her highly underrated.
Chaka Khan – “Like Sugar”
Chaka Khan is a vocal legend, yet she hasn’t released any music since 2007. Though she’s continued to perform and tour, her catalog seemed at a standstill, until recently, when she released “Like Sugar.” It’s an interesting juxtaposition, in that it seems retro to us, but futuristic when thinking about Chaka’s catalog. She has very much been an R&B/Soul traditionalist, and this track plants her squarely in the center of hip-hop (albeit early hip-hop, sonically). This is not to say that Khan doesn’t like hip-hop or vice-versa, since one of her best known songs “Through The Fire” found new life in Kanye West’s early career with his single “Through The Wire.” “Like Sugar” is a fun, danceable, b-boy/b-girl tune, perfect for breakdancing battles at summer cookouts.
The Internet – “Come Over”
The Internet has a big following. I just don’t think it’s as big as it should be. Their latest single, “Come Over,” is just another notch in their belt of consistency. The mid-tempo groove is perfect for a summer coastal drive and the lyrics are just right for that summer crush kept secret in a hidden journal. What I enjoy so much about this group is that, while they’re extremely musical and creative, their music is still accessible to the masses.
Jane Handcock – “Function”
Jane Handcock is known as an amazing songwriter by other legendary musicians and songwriters. Her writing has a lot to do with the success of burgeoning heartthrob, Adrian Marcel, but she’s also an incredible singer. I’ve known Jane since I was throwing parties as a young entrepreneur in Oakland, and even then, I thought her talent was head and shoulders above a lot of the people around us. Recently, Jane released an EP called Where’s Jane? Series 1, and though all of the songs stand out, “Function” is the summer party song that will get everyone dancing in the backyard or in the nightclub. It plays to what’s on trend, sonically, but adds Jane’s vocal and harmonic flair.