June 2020 Playlist: Songs In Heavy Rotation

These are some of the singles that have been keeping us inspired this month.

Photo Illustration: Alex Kidd

Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande break out their umbrellas, Idles team up with hip-hop producer Kenny Beats to turn punk rock on its head, and Phoebe Bridgers starts to see things clearly following a significant breakup. These are the songs we can’t stop listening to this month. Follow along with our monthly Spotify playlist.

Lady Gaga – Rain On Me (Ft. Ariana Grande)

Blasting onto the charts at the top position, Lady Gaga recruits another pocket-sized pop star, Ariana Grande, for the second single off of the triumphant return to her extravagant dance-pop past on Chromatica. As Gaga’s powerful alto is enhanced by Grande’s smoother delivery, the two louder than life personalities pull out their umbrellas to weather the storm of whatever is raining down on them. 

Run The Jewels – yankee and the brave (ep. 4)

Run The Jewels have a knack for expertly balancing silly antics with serious political messaging. On “Yankee and the Brave” the rap duo envision a fictional TV show where they each assume the form of gun-toting embodiments of their local baseball teams. Production mastermind El-P advised listeners in a Tweet to “punch a hole in the wall” to this song, and RTJ are certainly back at it with their hard-hitting boom-bap beats and gleefully destructive lyrical barbs. 

Phoebe Bridgers – I See You

In a truly Fleetwood-Mac-Rumours kind of way, singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers pens a devastating track about her breakup with her drummer, who plays the backbeat on the very same track. Although you might never catch the fury behind her quieter vocal delivery, the indie-rock instrumental slowly builds in support to match her acerbic words. 

Crack Cloud – Ouster Stew

No, that’s not a typo in the song title—one of the outlandish post-punks’ most sonically chaotic tracks yet seeks to upend the social order. Giving off some definitively Devo vibes with some shouted vocals over a frantic synth hook, most of the brief track’s back half is taken up by a wild drum solo, before a sax rolls in out of nowhere. Crack Cloud has succeeded at capturing the sound of a post-truth world that is seemingly impossible to keep up with. 

IDLES – Mr. Motivator

British post-punk outfit Idles reach far across genre lines to team up with hip-hop’s most in-demand producer and longtime fan of the band, Kenny Beats, to deliver a song that certainly lives up to its title. With wholesome lyrics for the industrial sludge of guitars that make up the track, frontman Joe Talbot sounds refreshingly genuine as he doles out a much-needed kick in the butt to seize the day.

Bruno Major – The Most Beautiful Thing

Co-written by Billie Eilish’s songwriter-extraordinaire brother FINNEAS—who also happens to call Bruno Major one of his favourite artists—this track sees Major pouring his heart out to the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t met her yet. Tenderly singing a beautiful and simple melody over his strummed acoustics, Major weighs out all the different scenarios that might lead to the magical connection with heartwarming detail. 

Carly Rae Jepsen – This Love Isn’t Crazy

The sparks of picture-perfect pop music fly every time Carly Rae Jepsen steps into the studio with Bleachers founder Jack Antonoff. The opening track to her recently released collection of B-sides, Jepsen upholds tradition and once again drops some surprisingly dark lyrics for such a shimmering anthem as she falls so hard that even rejection sounds sweet. But behind that absolutely addictive central falsetto melody she could be saying anything at all.

Deadmau5 – Pomegranate (Ft. The Neptunes)

Two of the biggest and most influential producers from completely different worlds collide in a completely unexpected melding of the minds that is unexpectedly fantastic. Pharrell himself takes the lead vocal on a funk-heavy rhythm for the masked maestro in his first track in four years. With numerous lyrical references to romance on the beach, this one kicks off summer a little early. 

slowthai – MAGIC (Ft. Kenny Beats)

The disruptive firestarter returns with a rumbling bass-heavy instrumental from Kenny Beats and continues to blow out his voice on another one of his blisteringly-aggressive rap bangers. After dropping an impressive and highly technical flow in the second verse, slowthai fully assumes his role as the rambunctious bad boy of the rap game as he unleashes a series of taunting singsongy chants near the track’s end.

Kim Petras – Malibu

Many insist that this rapidly rising star will have a future place among pop royalty, and her latest track takes her one step closer to claiming the crown. With deliciously punchy disco-inspired synth-funk rhythms, Petras takes a break from the trap cuts and returns to the all-out bubblegum pop euphoria she does best with some truly impressive vocal moments.