Welcome to SPIN‘s Singles Mix! Once again, the SPIN staff has rounded up their favorite, must-hear tracks for your mid-week playlists. From funk-filled R&B to no-fucks-giving scowl-pop to re-emerging indie-rock legends, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Charli XCX, “Famous” (Neon Gold Records)
Self-awareness oozes from this track’s core as the British sure-to-be superstar sneers through bozo “fuck the cool kids” rhymes such as “Need some neon lights / Wanna feel like I’m electrified.” Drinks on Charli, if her radio-ready songwriting nonsense sticks. BRENNAN CARLEY
D’Angelo, “1000 Deaths” (RCA Records)
The war-themed “1000 Deaths” probably isn’t the funkiest song on D’Angelo‘s surprise-released Black Messiah, but it is the song where the funk is the thickest — a swampy thicket of wiki-wiki guitars and drum clicks, with bass popping unexpectedly out of the wilderness like sniper fire. The Messiah himself sounds like he’s already gone, too scared to raise his voice above a garbled croon, too deep in the trenches to impart much wisdom beyond “A coward dies a thousand times / But a soldier only dies just once.” You could probably convince Sly Stone pretty easily that this was a pissed-off early ’70s B-side of his that he just forgot about. ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Erase Errata, “My Life in Shadows” (Kill Rock Stars)
With “My Life in Shadows,” the scratchy, Gang of Four-indebted dance-punks return after an eight-year hiatus to provide a swelling dose of reverb-washed guitars and jagged rhythms. DAN WEISS
KLOË, “Grip” (Unsigned)
This mononym’d newcomer fuses dark-pop melodies with raw sentiment in her infidelity-themed confessional. Plinky, patterned samples subdue the 18-year-old Glasgow native’s sugar-sweet vocals, cocooning her shimmering reverb and high harmonies in a seemingly infinite soundscape. It’s as unending as the heartache of which she sings. MAGGIE ROGERS
Little Brutes, “Make Our Own Way” (Unsigned)
Little Brutes‘ new single is going to be the theme music for an Elisha Cuthbert-led NBC sitcom called One Big Happy, but don’t let any misplaced snobbery stop you from enjoying this sleek nuovo-’80s track. It’s fairly sparse and deliberate without a ton going on — the basic melody knows to get out of the way and let Rachael Cantu’s tender vocals and Harlan Silverman’s crisp hook carry the song. It’s a confident tune, and that might just be enough to give Cuthbert’s show a second-season renewal. JAMES GREBEY
Modest Mouse, “Lampshades on Fire” (Epic Records)
With the first cut from Strangers to Ourselves — the long-awaited full-length follow-up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank — Modest Mouse sounds refreshed from spending the last seven years hibernating. Opening with retro organ strains and a stompy series of “ba-bup-bup-bup-ba-da-das,” Isaac Brock’s jerky chants come accompanied by crashing piano melody and plenty of nihilistic candor: “Keep it wild then make it hurt / Yeah we have scars, yeah we have bones / This is how it’s always gone / And this is how it’s going to go.” It’s a trait he’s never strayed far from, and it sure is nice to hear again. RACHEL BRODSKY
Nicki Minaj, “The Crying Game” (Cash Money Records)
In no uncertain terms, enlisting Jessie Ware to sing the hook of her third album’s third track was Nicki Minaj‘s slickest feat. The duo’s voices mesh improbably well, with Young Money’s First Lady serving savvy, heartbroken sizzle on a sinewy skillet. “Another slap to the face, another uppercut / I’m just abusive by nature / Not cause I hate ya,” Minaj deadpans. Watch your backs, boys. B.C.