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Songs of the week

Thom Yorke – “A Brain in a Bottle”

It all started with a mysterious photo posted on Tumblr. Thom Yorke, frontman of Radiohead, posted a picture of a white vinyl record spinning, leading everyone to speculate about what it could all mean. The answer came sooner than anyone could have expected though, as Yorke released a new album with no real warning via BitTorrent a few days later. The album is being sold for $6 and along with it came a note, describing the album and online release as an “experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around. If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.” The approach is different from the Run The Jewels release that was written about last week, but once again shows that artists are trying different ways to make money for their work.

Kendrick Lamar – “i”

Setting the bar high can be a great thing but can also be the beginning of the end. The success of Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, good kid m.A.A.d. city, has made a lot of people nervous about what he will come up with next. How can Kendrick ever follow up an album that tells the story of his life? Well the new chapter begins with ‘”i,” the lead single off of good kid’s follow up. And as you would expect, people either love it or hate it. Overtop of an Isley Brothers sampling beat, Kendrick declares: “I love myself” and comparisons quickly shift from Nas and Andre 3000 to Macklemore and Pharrell Williams. The song is upbeat and maybe it’s not the “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” track people were hoping for, but it shows that Kendrick’s story is not over. good kid ended with the ominous feeling that Kendrick may never escape the city that he grew up in and the gangs that inhabited it. The only way out was music, and he has now achieved that. Now he has a new confidence and perspective, and when he says “the world is a ghetto with guns and picket signs, but it can do whatever it want whenever it want, I don’t mind,” these aren’t empty words but a statement that has taken him his whole life to figure out.

Theophilus London – “Do Girls”

Oct. 27 will see the release of Theophilus London’s sophomore album, Vibes. The record will be executive produced by Kanye West and it is he who did the arrangement of “Do Girls.” The beat itself features a lot of different sounds that come in and out of the song, from strumming guitars to playful echoing vocals in the background. London’s mission on the song is to convince a female who likes girls to go home with him, and though it may not work out in the end, London has a lot to be happy about anyway. With convertibles, dinners at the MOMA, and girls staring at him, things could be a lot worse in Theophilus London’s life.

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