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John Preston’s picks his favourite seven releases of the moment, including bangers from Beyoncé and Madonna, Madonna and Saucy Santana, Doechii and Rico Nasty, King Princess, Dragonette, Tommy Genesis and Charlie Heat, and Hayley Kiyoko.
Beyoncé and Madonna ‘Break My Soul (The Queens remix)’
Who knows what Beyoncé is putting on her cereal these days but never before has she been so tirelessly creative and unpredictable! Minutes after the release of her seventh album Renaissance, this remix appears. It’s essentially a rework of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’, including the iconic rap but replacing the callout to white movie stars with one to Black female singers – a magical makeover.
Madonna and Saucy Santana ‘Material Gworlllllll!’
Madonna is not a fan of her still often-referenced 1984 hit ‘Material Girl’ but has cleverly teamed up with Saucy Santana to reimagine his 2020 dance hit of the same name. Neither the Saucy Santana track or this new rework samples the original ‘Material Girl’ song and instead this unexpected duo have a lot of fun making something completely new.
Doechii and Rico Nasty, ‘Swamp B*tches’
Doechii’s new she/her/black b*tch EP showcases the Florida singer and rapper’s versatility, and her ability to hop across styles with ease whilst retaining her outsized persona and charm. Rico Nasty is a good companion for Doechii – they both possess a fearlessness that is admirable and thankfully increasing but be warned, this pair aren’t for crossing.
King Princess, ‘Let Us Die’
It’s taken a while for King Princess to truly establish her sound and on her second album Hold on Baby, she sounds more confident and in control than previous releases. This is also a cohesive, structured genre record and with producers such s Aaron Dessner and Mark Ronson involved, there are plenty of interesting, sonic moments to discover.
Dragonette, ‘New Suit’
It’s always a good day when Dragonette announce new music. Now a one woman venture, Martina Sorbara returns with an immediately recognisable blend of left-field synth pop and pure, major-key mainstream songwriting. Sorbada’s vocals are uniquely hers and her ability to switch from joy to melancholia will always be a stamp of the Dragonette soundscape.
Tommy Genesis, Charlie Heat, ‘All the Bands’
Producer Charlie Heat (Madonna, Kanye West and Kehlani) has an enduring relationship with underground artist and rapper Tommy Genesis, and on this EP release he actually appears as a named artist. Genesis takes a detour into a more concentrated house sound, her fondness for trap is abandoned here, and the results are invigorating.
Hayley Kiyoko, ‘….s.o.s’
Panorama, the second album from Hayley Kiyoko, is not as good as her unexpectedly solid 2018 debut, Expectations. With production from Danja on almost every track, Panorama has an oddly unfashionable R&B sound – one associated with Danja and his numerous production credits from the early 00s. That’s not to say that there aren’t nuggets of gold here, ‘…s.o.s’ in particular has a Nelly Furtado flavour which hits in all the right places.