Missouri singer SZA has been a firm favourite of mine since discovering her in the early half of 2014. She makes wavy, psychedelic R&B and neo-soul, similar to Kelela and Jhené Aiko, and she has a voice that will say with you for days.
SZA, whose real name is Solána Rowe, has released three EPs to date: See.SZA.Run EP, S EP and Z EP. The latter was one of 2014’s finest releases, featuring standout tracks ‘Child’s Play (feat. Chance the Rapper)’, ‘Babylon (feat. Kendrick Lamar)’ and the Marvin Gaye-sampling ‘Sweet November’.
‘Drew Barrymore’ is the first single to be taken from SZA’s long-awaited full-length album – initially expected to be titled “A”, but now known as Ctrl. After a rocky period of uncertainly, when it looked like she may have parted ways with her label, Top Dawg, SZA sounds bolder than ever on this hard-hitting song about insecurities.
Drew Barrymore is available now on Top Dawg Entertainment.
Special Recommendation: Gorillaz – Hallelujah Money (feat. Benjamin Clementine)
Gorillaz return after six years (or four if you counting 2012 single DoYaThing)!
Released one day before the inauguration of Donald Trump, ‘Hallelujah Money’ is a protest song, with an accompanying music video, that features the vocals of 2015 Mercury Prize-winner Benjamin Clementine. Backed by a languid drone, Clementine sings with sombre diction, while behind him, projected on walls of Trump Tower’s gold-plated lift he is standing in, clips are displayed of the animated version of Animal Farm, KKK marches, and the faces of dictators and wailing zombies.
Some have assumed this is the first single from Gorillaz’ forthcoming fourth album. That is not the case, according to a press release. It’s a one-off special release.
Stylistically, it’s certainly one of Gorillaz’ more left-field piece of music – like the band’s many B-sides, which most people never venture to listen to. Sombre, apocalyptic and powerful, it’s great to have Gorillaz back, and pleasing to see them addressing the most challenging issues of our time.
Hallelujah Money is available to stream now.
Image: Top Dawg Entertainment