Justin Bieber, “All Bad”
And on the sixth Music Monday, Bieber laid back in the cut. The latest song from his weekly series (leading up to the Christmas release of Believe, the movie) may not be the best one yet—“Heartbreaker” comes closest to “Cry Me a River”—but it’s the eeriest of the frankly downbeat, uniformly pretty collection. The line “females like to run their mouths” might be a deal-breaker coming from the weekend-warrior Justin seen in the tabloids, but hearing it from The-Weeknd-wannabe Justin on record, it actually starts to make sense. Behold the man-boy Bieber.
If it’s more of a grown-man vibe you’re seeking, check out this differently-downbeat B side to 24-year-old London singer Sampha’s cover of Drake’s “Too Much.” Somewhere in his bottomless, falsetto-skewing voice, a Loch Ness monster lurks, and here it thrillingly surfaces as he furiously works the piano.
Disclosure feat. Nile Rodgers, Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes, “Together”
Togetherness is wonderful, but the ideal realized here strictly relates to the funk. FUNK. Put it in capital letters. More importantly, put it on your headphones. Or on the hifi, after you invite friends over the use your hot tub. That’s togetherness as this song envisions it.
Angel Olsen, “Forgiven/Forgotten”
For anyone who knows Olsen—a melancholy folkie credited with a gripping presence in concert—these two chugging minutes (counting the wailing micro-solo) will come as a surprise. But when you yourself are ready to forgive and forget a slight, you’d do well to keep this song’s unhurried economy in mind.
Mariah Carey, “The Art of Letting Go”
If it weren’t for her demanding, fabulously, that a “trifling” man “go to Mimi on your contacts, and press delete,” you might never know that the second single and title track off Mariah’s long-delayed fourteenth album came together in 2013 and not 1993. So what? It’s church she’s taking us to, not the Apple Store, and when this Sunday drive of a ballad gives way to organ and her upper registers, time itself feels like a trifle. (We posted the song earlier this week; hear the final mix here.)