johan, "high in the woods"
Songs about getting high are a dime a dozen, but if I have to hear one, I'd prefer it be this one. Because, for once, someone's made it interesting. For one, johan's introductory harmonizing sounds like straight-up organs, and then there's his use of monkey screeches that feel like they've been ripped from the jungle. There are handclaps and a deep buzzy horn, too. I'd never heard of johan before this, but I'm into this experimental, dark R&B. Plus, the production comes from Robin Hannibal (of Quadron and Rhye, both of whom I love) and the story-telling is top-notch: "It's 1 a.m./ this town is dead/ it's Friday night inside my head/ but it's Tuesday night for everybody else/ now Johnny's back from marching band/ dropped his tuba at home, bought another gram/ climbed up the hill to save us from ourselves."—Danielle Cheesman
AlunaGeorge, "Mean What I Mean"
I gotta admit, I like the message behind the AlunaGeorge's "Mean What I Mean” more than the song itself. And I’m not sure why because it's got these island-esque drums and this wailing horn that sounds like an elephant's trumpeting which, under most circumstances, would get me moving but for now, at least upon first listen, it's not as catchy as I would've expected. Still, the lyrics are something I can respect. Aluna, herself, told BBC Radio 1 show host Annie Mac (who premiered the song) that the song was inspired by an incident in which she denied someone's advances and they denied, well, her denial. This is her send-off, her f—k you, and that's something I can get behind: "Not the time, and I'm not playing/ I know you've seen the signs, don't wanna read them/ It's not fine, it's not okay/ Boy, all you gotta do right now is listen/ I mean what I mean when I say so/ Not tryna be mean when I say ‘no’/ So don't play a fool and twist my rules." So maybe it'll grow on me. Hear it here.—D.C.
LEISURE, "Control Myself"
New Zealand collective LEISURE dropped a luscious, new single called “Control Myself.” This song follows their collaboration with GoldLink back in May. Everything about this song is seductive and provocative. From the bass and guitar’s eminent chords and riffs, down to the alluring vocals that sing: “I just can’t control myself around you.” This song is simply sex in the ears.—Erin Ashley Simon