Listen Up

Powerful hip-hop, uplifting pop, French disco and more new music from the week

Little Simz: Introvert

Little Simz (aka Simbiatu Ajikawo) makes a powerful return with “Introvert” from her upcoming album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. “I’m not into politics, but I know it’s dark times,” she raps over an expansive orchestral opening before the dramatic song explodes into a soaring political anthem. Exploring inner turmoil and exterior catastrophes, “Introvert” triumphs with arresting moments about identity, unity and hope. “My speech ain’t involuntary / Projecting intentions straight from my lungs / I’m a Black woman and I’m a proud one / We walk in blind faith not knowing the outcome / But as long as we’re unified, then we’ve already won,” she rhymes on the track, which also features Cleo Sol and Emma Corin.

Kele: Nineveh

From Kele’s forthcoming fifth solo album, The Waves Pt. 1, comes the stunning “Nineveh,” an arrestingly spare but dramatic song about moving on. The piano-led song shifts two minutes in, as the vocals finish and guitars and synths begin—taking the tone from melancholy to uplifting. “There is an undoubtable sadness in the first half of ‘Nineveh’ but that sadness is turned into pure exhilaration in the second half of the song, like a proverbial weight being lifted from one’s neck.” Kele says in a statement. “It ends in a place of optimism.”

Bertrand Burgalat: L’Homme Idéal (Yuksek Radio Edit)

Prolific musician, composer and producer Bertrand Burgalat, founder of French label Tricatel (known for the future-retro “Burgalat sound” that influenced the likes of Daft Punk), is poised to release his first new album in four years. Rêve Capital will be out in June and features “L’Homme Idéal’ (or “The Ideal Man”) which has been released as two versions. The radio edit by French producer, DJ and singer Yuksek (aka Pierre-Alexandre Busson) is faster than the album version and adds handclaps and bongos, while maintaining the song’s overall breezy disco vibe. Burgalat’s speak-singing style adds the perfect level of nonchalance to the playful lyrics, in which he brags, “L’homme idéal, c’est moi / Encore faut-il trouver quelqu’un qui me mérite,” meaning “The ideal man, it’s me / I still have to find someone who deserves me.”

Jessie Ware: Please

Jessie Ware announced the deluxe version of her divine disco-pop album What’s Your Pleasure? along with the release of “Please.” It’s one of the many songs that didn’t make the record (Ware initially wrote between 40 and 50 for the project) but oozes that same lush, glittery, disco vibe—along with squiggly synths, spacey bleeps and tinges of ’90s house. She says in a statement, “I had such an amazing response to the What’s Your Pleasure? record that I didn’t want the lights to go up and the party to be over just yet! ‘Please’ is full of optimism and ready to be played in a place where we can all be together and flirt, dance, touch, and kiss. A wonderful excuse not to stop the party from ending.”

Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel. Hero courtesy of Little Simz + Salomon Ligthelm