EW's staff sizes up the biggest new music of the week

By Nolan FeeneyDylan KickhamDana GetzAriana Bacle and Eric Renner Brown
July 26, 2016 at 05:19 PM EDT
Earl Gibson III/WireImage; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images; Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

Every week, EW’s music staff takes a hard listen to the biggest new tracks and offers up our unfiltered opinions. Read on for reviews of new tracks by Diplo, Die Antwoord, Rick Ross, Skrillex, De La Soul, and more.

Die Antwoord, “Banana Brain”

South African oddballs Die Antwoord are known for their off-the-wall fusion of dance music and rap, but here they dole them out in disjointed parts: Yo-Landi Visser kicks off the track with what sounds like the creepiest Dance Dance Marathon song choice ever, while Ninja handles the hip-hop portion with a timely, if perhaps accidental, Pokémon reference. It’s the best song they’ve released in a while, but that isn’t saying much after you give May’s Suck on This mixtape a spin, and it doesn’t come close to matching the seamless, shape-shifting freakiness of 2012’s “I Fink U Freeky.” B- –Nolan Feeney

Skrillex & Rick Ross, “Purple Lamborghini”

Like some of the trailers for DC’s upcoming supervillian melee Suicide Squad, “Purple Lamborghini” is a colorful blast of sensory overload. Rick Ross brings his bombastic flow to Skrillex’s equally bombastic beat — but while the song may work in the context of the film, it’s an overstuffed and chaotic standard-issue EDM banger a la carte. C+ Eric Renner Brown

Regina Spektor, “Bleeding Heart”

Regina Spektor has performed vocal gymnastics throughout her singing career, transforming her voice into a vengeful battle cry or even a barking dolphin. It’s the lack of that daring experimentation that makes her new single feel a little underwhelming. “Bleeding Heart” is perfectly pleasant — Spektor’s voice flutters over bouncy synths with a delicate grace — but it lacks the excitement of past releases. B- –Dylan Kickham

Sun Kil Moon, “God Bless Ohio”

Mark Kozelek announced last week that he’ll release another album as Sun Kil Moon in February 2017. And though that date may be a long way off, the cantankerous alt-folkie shared a new song, the acoustic reverie “God Bless Ohio.” While the track includes plenty of the hyper-detailed lyrics that define Sun Kil Moon’s best work — at one point Kozelek recollects “the old Mansfield prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed” — it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as the cuts on his 2014 opus Benji. Dark lines like “Young girls held as slaves in a basement by a guy / until a neighbor ratted him out” are textbook Sun Kil Moon, but Kozelek’s observations about Velveeta cheese, Wonder bread, and Dominos pizza lack the heft of the personal narratives on his best songs. B –ERB

Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber and MØ, “Cold Water”

For “Cold Water,” Major Lazer re-tapped the team that drove home some of their biggest hits: MØ helmed Peace Is the Mission earworm “Lean On,” while Bieber led club staple “Where Are Ü Now” from frontman Diplo’s side project Jack Ü. Their latest release sounds simultaneously nostalgic and fresh, coating their bangers’ slick vocals with a subtle homage to an early ‘00s smash; those opening bars are peak Jesse McCartneyB+ –Dana Getz

De La Soul, “Royalty Capes”

Legendary alternative hip-hop trio De La Soul shared another new track from their anticipated album And the Anonymous Nobody… on Wednesday — and it further suggests that the project will be worth the decade-plus wait. Loose and groovy, the saxophone-laden beat underscores lyrical gems like “Us three be omega like fish oil” and “Androids read raps off iPhones.” A- –ERB

Third Eye Blind, “Cop Vs Phone Girl”

Rock outfit Third Eye Blind, who recently trolled Republican concertgoers at a concert near the GOP convention, gets political on “Cop Vs Phone Girl,” a track that looks back at 2015, when a school resource officer violently removed a teenage student from her seat. It has a similar spirit to Macklemore’s “White Privilege II” — frontman Stephan Jenkins references to supporting Black Lives Matter as a white person — but his added snark and a poppy chorus that almost makes you forget that what he’s singing about aren’t as radio-friendly as the track’s lighthearted tone makes it sound. B –Ariana Bacle

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, “A 1000 Times”

Since departing Vampire Weekend in January, Rostam Batmanglij has road-tested a number of sounds, from the soft, ethereal swing of “EOS” to the pop rock clamor of Ra Ra Riot collab“Water.” “A 1000 Times,” the debut single from his new band with The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser, ditches his pristine falsetto for rough-hewn rock and Leithauser’s graveled howl. It’s his grittiest and most divergent track to date, but one that proves Rostam is more than a one-trick pony. B+ –DG

Father John Misty, “Real Love Baby”

Josh Tillman, the 35-year-old troubadour better know as freak-folkie Father John Misty, has released plenty of tunes since putting out his cynical sun-drenched opus I Love You, Honeybear in early 2015. But from Velvet Underground-style covers of Taylor Swift to a faux Toyota commercial to absurdist lullabies written for Stephen Colbert, Tillman’s recent output has been mostly tongue-in-cheek — that is, until now. “Real Love Baby,” which he shared a draft of in May, got a proper mastered release this week and hits all the pleasure centers he’s become known for: blissed-out vocal harmonies, yearning romantic lyrics, and instrumentals straight out of the ’70s Laurel Canyon playbook. –ERB

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