Culture / Entertainment

Rihanna’s Real Inspiration, a Music Legend’s Goodbye and a New Afrobeat Genius

This Month’s Must-Hear Songs

BY // 02.04.16

PaperCity Magazine hits the stands with an evocative theme every month. Images and words designed to enlighten, entertain, and inform. With PaperCity Sounds, we present a music playlist inspired by the month’s happenings, from fashion shows to society galas and balls, new beginnings and things that come to an end. Happy reading and listening!

We’ve just endured Houston’s hottest Christmas ever, and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which means we’re not in for a long winter. 2015 was also the hottest year on record. It’s unfortunate, but safe to say we’re experiencing global warming.

It’s not as if Houston is known for its long winters anyway, and I’m sure February, perhaps even March, will see a few intense cold snaps. But venture into any store, and they’ve already got pastel-colored shorts and polos for sale. Time to start thinking about spring’s thaw after winter’s chill.

In January Chairlift released another album of immaculately produced pop, four years after opening 2012 with another expertly made piece of indie-rock. Find the best headphones or speakers you can to faithfully listen to their great Moth. Wizkid, a Nigerian singer, is absolutely worth checking out if you have ever listened to an Afrobeat record or follow the legendary Lagos music scene.

His “Ojuelegba” is here to instantly put you in a better mood. If you listened to Dr. Dre‘s Compton album last year, then you know the name Anderson Paak, a half-singer, half-rapper clearly taking cues from the familial, positive vibes of Chance the Rapper and the sprawling, adventurous album-statements from Kendrick Lamar. His Malibu at times feels as if it’s too similar to those artists, but if you like vintage-sounding Dilla-inspired beats, then dive in.

And unfortunately, Rihanna‘s excellent new record Anti is exclusively streaming on Tidal, but she covers a great Tame Impala song, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” on it, and the original is here. Tame Impala sound a little too “clean” for me for their psychedelic/Beatles rock they’re making, which is why Rihanna’s cover is such a revelation — she saps the pop instincts out of the song, adding another great riddim in her repertoire (see also: the sample that inspired “Work“).



Finally, a few days after our January playlist went live extolling how essential Blackstar is, David Bowie passed. I couldn’t think of a way to properly eulogize him, and every possible angle was worked by great writers all across journalism (including our own James Brock).

Even if I wanted to be cool and honor him with “deep cuts” playlist, that angle was taken; a “greatest hits” angle was taken; and so on. I added five Bowie songs at the end of this playlist; they are the songs I immediately reached for in the days after hearing about his death. It’s not much, or very deep, but it’s the songs of his that I wanted to hear.

Home, chic home.

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