This week’s New Music Monday features a groovy, ironically-titled new HAIM album, Jessie Ware’s latest record, which serves as proof that it’s time to bring disco back, and a glimpse into the future of pop courtesy of Arca.
“Women In Music Pt. III” — HAIM
HAIM is back and at their best following their 2017 record “Something to Tell You.” No, you didn’t miss the releases of Women In Music Parts I and II, HAIM is just really sick of dealing with sexist double standards in an industry that has tried (and failed) to place them in a class below their male counterparts.
“Women In Music Pt. III” is the group’s third studio album and by far their best. The trio of sisters branch out to explore new sounds, dodging the pop-rock monotony that hindered their previous work. The influence of Rostam’s production shines through on tracks like “Los Angeles” which evokes early Vampire Weekend. The group’s signature 70s-inspired, Fleetwood Mac-esque, summertime sound is still present throughout, but their experimentation with elements of R&B and funk definitely pay off.
“What’s Your Pleasure?” — Jessie Ware
Dua Lipa’s recent LP “Future Nostalgia” and chart-topping singles like Lizzo’s “Juice” and Doja Cat’s “Say So” have flirted with disco, but Jessie Ware’s latest album shows her commitment to going full Studio 54. The synth-soaked album embraces the four-to-the-floor beats and syncopated rhythms that defined the work of disco greats like Donna Summer and Diana Ross. Even the album art is a nod to the era, mimicking the style of Andy Warhol’s iconic Polaroid portraits.
Unlike other dance-pop records from recent years, “What’s Your Pleasure?” doesn’t bother with attempts to modernize or reimagine disco as a genre, making it bolder and much more fun.
“KiCk i” — Arca
Venezuelan performance and visual artist, producer, singer and songwriter Arca dropped “KiCk i,” her first full length record since her 2017 self-titled album.
In terms of genre, it’s nearly impossible to categorize “KiCk i.” The record’s features, which are perhaps more indicative of its sound than attempts to assign it a genre, include hyperpop pioneer SOPHIE, Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía, DJ and musician Shygirl and avant-garde legend Björk. The bass-heavy album is both sonically innovative and lyrically intense. Arca confronts the complexity of gender identity and the self on “Nonbinary” and “Machote” and she embraces her roots by using expressions common in Venezuela on “Riquiquí” and blending elements of traditional Venezeulan music and Reggaeton on the Rosalía-assisted “KLK.”