Now Hear This: Black Futures, Lana Del Rey, Kano and Ezra Furman

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Black Futures
Black Futures

After a few weeks on hiatus, the Now Hear This column is back! And what a great week for it, because… there are SO MANY BAD SONGS OUT. Benny Blanco and Juice WRLD, I mean… what did the class of 2019 do to deserve “Graduation”? It’s essentially a big slog of a brag-fest, “hey, look at me now, suckers!” except you feel less like cheering them on than clobbering them over the head with a mortarboard. It’s an F from me, boys.

It’s almost impressive, then, that Jason Derulo’s new single is worse than “Graduation”, not least because it manages to destroy the 1992 dancehall classic “Murder She Wrote” (although the lyrics to that track are pretty appalling). Derulo, who is apparently incapable of singing about anything that doesn’t involve sex or how hot he is (usually it’s both), simply drones how it’s “too hot for clothes” over the original hook. Oh, and it recycles his old line about being around the world and never seeing anyone as “fly” (yep, there’s dead slang too) as the girl he’s singing too.

Of course, there’s plenty of fantastic new music, too. Lana Del Rey has released Norman F***ing Rockwell (The Independent’s style guide demands that I star-out the expletive, which is f***ing s**t) – you can read my colleague Alexandra Pollard’s fantastic review of that here, and my other colleague Helen Brown’s equally excellent feature on Del Rey’s music here.

I like Brazilian DJ Alok’s collaboration with US producer and multi-instrumentalist Harrison (Devonne Harris), which remixes the Supermode track of the same name that samples two Bronski Boys tracks: “Smalltown Boy” and “Why?” And I LOVE the funky new joint from Duckwrth, which reminds me of every good R&B track I listened to through the Nineties, maybe with a sharper 2019 hip-hop edge.

I’m a tad emotional because rock legend Sheryl Crow has just released her final album (she’s still releasing new music, just not in the traditional format), and it’s really great. Favourite songs include her Chris Stapleton collab “Tell Me When It’s Over” (redeeming himself after the Ed Sheeran mishap), and her team-up with Maren Morris and Stevie Nicks on “Prove You Wrong”.

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There’s also Ezra Furman’s frenetic punk record Twelve Nudes, which I reviewed earlier this week, describing it as “his most urgent to date”. On it, he turns rage at political goings-on in the US into a howl of resistance.

Black Futures (seen in the main image) just dropped their debut Never Not Nothing, which is definitely worth a listen – it’s dark and moody and shows off the band’s innovative approach to “future-punk” (which is how they refer to their music). Other new albums you should check out over the weekend: Kano’s long-awaited return with Hoodies All Summer, and Serge Pizzorno’s project The SLP. Enjoy!

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