Baker's Dozen: Mach-Hommy, Faye Webster, and Terrible Trends in Pop

Baker's Dozen: Mach-Hommy, Faye Webster, and Terrible Trends in Pop

Baker's Dozen is a weekly thing where I send out a playlist for paid subscribers, along with some thoughts around the music I've been listening to lately.

Aya Nakamura, "Mon Lossa" [ft. Ms Banks]‎

Aya Nakamura's Aya was a grower for me, but this one stood out to me immediately—love the production, everything sounds like it flows like water.

Lil Durk, "On Your Mind"

The Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack was a disaster on many levels, I thought this review summed it up really well. But even when Durk is on autopilot, as he very well may be here, he's still delivering something compelling and solid—a reminder of why he's so huge right now.

Mourning A BLKstar, "When the Bell Tolls"

Good example of an overlooked record from 2020, hard to describe what they're doing all the time but at its core it's very post rock-y in an expansive, epic way. This song reminds me of Portishead a little.

Dylan Henner, "Two Trains Came Through the Station at Once and It Felt Like a Hurricane"‎

Didn't connect with Dylan Henner's The Invention of the Human all that much but this track really got me, a little bit of the R Plus Seven epiphany-type stuff going on here, love that yo-yoing melodic line in the middle too.

Shawn Mendes, "Wonder"

Your regular reminder that I'm not always posting music I like on here. Jokes about Chipotle bowls aside, I've enjoyed Shawn Mendes' music in the past—"Lost in Tokyo" is a bop—but ‎‎this is part of a truly insufferable trend in white male pop, to me. You also hear it in Harry Styles (whose music is, it must be said, extremely mediocre and buoyed by his genial ability to be famous), and you hear it in recent-era Jonas Brothers (who are fine, all things considered). Specifically: An obsession with classic rock bombast (see: the Beatles or Queen-esque breakdown near the end of this) that scans as pure whitewashed nostalgia, zero interesting or forward-thinking ideas going into this type of music. Very boring, although at least JoBros are making it kind of interesting by ripping off the Police, who were cool—but, it makes you wonder where pop's next Timbaland is and if there could ever even be such a thing.

Nilüfer Yanya, "Day 7.5093"

Nilüfer Yanya has a new album out, so you know what that means: Time for me to post something from her last release. ‎I'm excited to check out the new one, I think she is brilliant in general, this track from the Feeling Lucky? EP has been on repeat for me lately. The chorus kills, the whole thing is very plastic new-wave but delivered with a distinct kind of energy that she's pretty much owning right now, like King Krule with a few sodas instead of a hundred cigarettes.

The Neighbourhood Character, "The Lesson (Recovery)"

Love this jam from Ari Robey-Lawrence's 2020 EP There Will Be Magic, which collects some of her work from 2013 to 2015. The kind of groove I love getting lost in.

Hikaru Utada, "Somewhere Near Versailles"

Song of the year so far from one of the best albums of the year so far. Incredible production from Floating Points on here, we always need more music that sounds like this.

Thom Yorke, "Dawn Chorus"‎‎

A Moon Shaped Pool was a big Sad Older Guy record for music critics of the middle-aged persuasion to sink their teeth into, the same sensation you witnessed with works like Benji and A Crow Looked at Me. I wasn't a fan, but I much prefer Anima, which is bizarre because I also think Thom Yorke is pretty bad at electronic music when left to his own devices. But it delivered a potent dose of the post-Caribou sound that's floated in and out of indie over the last five years, leavened by that sense of dread that he's so good at conjuring.

Mach-Hommy, "Marie"

The massive praise around ‎Pray for Haiti seemed like the result of a paying of dues to me, less "this is an incredible album" and more "it's time to pay this increasingly huge underground figure proper respects." Not saying it's not good! Just saying this happens in criticism sometimes and it's part of playing catchup. Anyway, good song.

I mean, what else do you expect a band named after the Dutch word for SIDS to sound like? (It really does sound like a carousel, though.) Great album here, some seriously intricate black metal going on.

Earl Sweatshirt, "Fire in the Hole"

Beautiful song, this run of lyrics stands out to me particularly: "I couldn't toast a drink to demise/ I heard the clink/ Life could change in the blink of an eye, I'm wrinklin' time/ I'ma leave it to y'all to get hoodwinked and surprised/ Threw on some Bootsy, I rather be with you when I'm high/ I went ahead and mixed some Beetle Juice with the wine/ Skin contact, peeling her eyes, squeeze down/ It's been a minute since I blew up your line‎‎."

Faye Webster, "Overslept" [ft. mei ehara]

I really like Faye Webster's music at this point, and I say that like everyone else doesn't—but the criticisms I've heard of her from peers (she's boring, every song sounds the same, are the songs really that clever to begin with) have sunk in, making me doubt my own impulses at every turn. The dangers of being open-minded! Anyway, songs like this touch on a similar sound that Camera Obscura were so good at conjuring, although Faye Webster's music does not feel the same way. Love the way this song ends.‎

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Jamie Larson