Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”
Listening to “West Coast” makes it difficult to disregard Lana Del Rey: even if you can’t stand her self-made mystique or dismiss her hazy vocals, she has co-written an undeniably rich new single, and knows exactly how to approach the tale of ditching a relationship for big-city dreaming. Dan Auerbach’s production folds in on itself midway through each half of the song, letting Del Rey float back to earth while never giving her the satisfaction of setting her feet down. Disruptive, invigorating and intoxicating.
Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
No, it’s not “SuperLove,” but then again, few things are. “Boom Clap,” from “The Fault in Our Stars'” soundtrack, returns Charli XCX to the fizzy kind of love that she felt at various points on “True Romance,” but she sounds even looser here, especially on the suspended bridge.
Twin Shadow, “To The Top”
“Epic” is a word too often used in music description, but Twin Shadow’s canyon-sized “To The Top” has lofty goals and proceeds to soar straight past them. It’s almost unfair that this song is being released in 2014, because “To The Top” is an 80’s arena thumper through and through.
Hundred Waters, “Xtalk”
Hundred Waters’ 2012 debut album was sparse, dreamy and divine, but “Xtalk,” from upcoming album “The Moon Rang Like a Bell,” pushes the group forward by putting more pressure on the percussion, and although Nicole Miglis’ voice remains hauntingly brittle, the singer sounds more confident, demanding, “I can’t and I won’t take this feeling.”
How To Dress Well, “Repeat Pleasure”
Tom Krell’s How To Dress Well project has long mined commercial pop hooks out of the murkiness of experimental soul music, most memorably on “& It Was U,” one of the best songs of 2012. New single “Repeat Pleasure” careens toward accessibility even more steadfastly, Krell’s falsetto begging someone to explain the illogic of romance while steering a succulent track that could work for one of Krell’s biggest idols, Janet Jackson.