Listen Up

A radical rework, an ode to a legendary singer-songwriter, a duo of mellow yet spirited tracks and more

Jamila Woods: Boundaries

New from Chicago-based singer, songwriter and poet Jamila Woods, “Boundaries” is the artist’s first solo track since 2020’s “Sula (Paperback)” and it’s smooth, soulful and mellow yet spirited. The song is about “the negotiation between private and shared space in a new relationship, the risk involved in letting someone get close enough to see your rough edges,” she says in a statement. “I think a lot about the Prentice Hemphill quote, ‘Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.’ The song is about learning the difference between erecting boundaries out of fear versus out of love.”

MAVI: Doves

The second single from MAVI’s upcoming second LP, Laughing so Hard, It Hurts (out 14 October), “Doves” is a jazzy, mellow track that boasts warm, polished production by Dylvinci. With jingling chime effects, pretty background vocals and a subdued beat, it’s a languid, rich and hypnotic track.

Thundercat: Thousand Knives (Ryuichi Sakamoto Cover)

From To The Moon And Back: A Tribute To Ryuichi Sakamoto—an album made in honor of the Japanese composer, musician, singer, producer and actor—comes a Thundercat (aka Stephen Lee Bruner) cover version of “Thousand Knives.” The title track from Sakamoto’s debut solo album, the 1978 version is a sweeping and swirling 10-minute electronic piece, while Thundercat’s cover is a radical rework—most notably adding English vocals—that still pays homage to significant elements. The album will also feature contributions by Devonté Hynes, Alva Noto, Electric Youth, the Cinematic Orchestra and others.

Warner Meadows: paloma’s dream (intro)

From Harlem with Love is pianist, rapper, singer and composer Warner Meadows’ debut album, an introspective project that flows from jazzy piano to soulful trumpets and rap. “paloma’s dream (intro)” is the second track from the LP which captures the artist’s versatility as he switches from laidback yet catchy verses to melodic vocals. Reflecting on society and aspirations, the warm, layered, lively and lush track is an easygoing jam.

Loretta Lynn: Story of My Life

The closing track on Loretta Lynn’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful 42nd solo studio album, Van Lear Rose, “Story of My Life” is a heartwarming example of the singer-songwriter’s deeply personal narrative lyricism. Lynn, who passed away at age 90 on 4 October, amassed a devout following over her six-decade career, commencing with her first hit single, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” in 1966 and including the beloved anthem “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in 1970. Lynn, who had no formal musical training, accrued 24 chart-topping singles and 11 number one albums. 2004’s Van Lear Rose, which was produced by the White Stripes’ Jack White (and can no longer be found on streaming platforms), was a grand return to form for Lynn—though it was far from her last masterpiece—her 50th studio album, Still Woman Enough, was released 19 March 2021.

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 image, a detail of To The Moon And Back: A Tribute To Ryuichi Sakamoto cover art