Three tracks to get lifted to, including a return to form for The Weeknd and disco-country(?) from Kacey Musgraves.
The Weeknd – Privilege
Abel Tesfaye is no stranger to mood music. While his recent career turn has been more in a pop direction, The Weeknd started as music for a 3 a.m. bedroom headspace. His trilogy of mixtapes in 2011 pushed a genre forward, turned Drake’s head, and eventually turned him into one of the most sought after Canadian stars. With surprise album My Dear Melancholy, coming this week, Tesfaye returns (slightly) to the style of music that got him his start. On stripped back closer “Privilege”, he really embraces his roots for what sounds like a House of Balloons b-side. The album strives to emote a breakup, but feels a little one note; on this conclusion, though, the listener leaves on a high note.
Kacey Musgraves – High Horse
While The Weeknd is going back to where he started, country star (former country star?) Kacey Musgraves couldn’t be further from her prior sound on “High Horse”. With new album Golden Hour, Musgraves has big dreams — trying to “create a world where Daft Punk meets country“. While the song doesn’t meet those lofty expectations, it is an absolute joy — reminding listeners of the indie turn by Carly Rae Jepsen a few years back, where genres melt into something that’s just pure fun. There’s still some country references here — John Wayne, “giddy up”… horses — which makes it kind of exciting and offbeat. The whole album follows a similar path, and tries to nail down a new turn that country artists can take.
Leon Bridges – Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand
The king of smooth music for dinner parties, Leon Bridges makes a long-awaited earnest return after 2016’s Coming Home with a two-track EP this week. The first track, “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand”, revisits the modern soul that’s earned Bridges attention from Nashville to Chicago. A shimmering start gives way to Bridges’ falsetto, which soars higher than we’ve heard from him in the past. While it isn’t quite as hook-driven as Coming Home, it’s just nice to have some string-laced music with Bridges’ voice over it.