Big Boi & Theophilus London featuring Tre Luce, "She Said OK." Big Boi remains committed to bulldogging "like them Georgetown Hoyas," only there's no longer anyone by his side making sure to "stimulate and activate the left and right brain." That was my first reaction to the hook of "She Said OK," which deadpans its way awkwardly between second- and third-person sexcapade tales. "Let me see ya titties/She said, 'Okay'/Now let me see ya pussy/She said, 'Okay.'" The slow luxuriousness of the very "Prototype" groove underneath put me off at first (to the extent that nothing sounds less sexy than something trying to sound sexy and failing), but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized something: "She" actually said nothing. This song is a hip-hop Lars and the Real Girl. Eric Henderson
Tune-Yards, Angelique Kidjo, ?uestlove, & Akua Naru, "Lady" Of all the Fela Kuti cuts you could cover, "Lady" might be the most politically risqué. Midway through an infectious, slow-burning Tony Allen groove, Fela unleashes a litany of complaints about African women who claim they're "equal to man." Detractors say it lays bare Fela's misogyny; apologists say it's more of a class thing, that Fela was critiquing elites for trying to find freedom through the master's tools. Regardless, the controversy makes this recent cover, produced by Merril Garbus of Tune-Yards for the upcoming (Red) Hot + Fela album, all the more interesting. Garbus enlists Beninoise songstress Angelique Kidjo and Ghanian-American rapper Akua Naru, who transform Fela's complaints into calls for black women's liberation. Manan Desai
Balam Acab, "Ass Pop." Let's say for the sake of argument that I was wrong in my interpretation of "She Said OK" above. Let's say it actually happened as Big Boi and Theophilus London said it did. Let's say she did just say "okay." Why would that be so far-fetched? Why can I not accept that sort of bluntness when I can easily digest (not literally) the slippery, viscous, percolating butt noise of Balam Acab's (almost totally wordless) "Ass Pop"? Why is this stereophonic chunk of dub-fart a preferable form of seduction? It either means I truly subscribe to the "show, don't tell" school of musical exxxplanation, or maybe I'm truly just an ass man. EH
Parakeet, "Shonen Hearts." Yuck's sole female member, Mariko Doi, takes the rejuvenated '90s indie-alternative framework of her main venture and instills her own specialized brand of fuzzy, nostalgic, musical jubilation by way of a uniquely charming voice and an enamored lo-fi aesthetic. After "Paper, Scissors, Stone" and "Tomorrow," "Shonen Hearts" is the first Parakeet track to very nearly replicate the magic Doi conjured up on Yuck's standout rocker "The Wall." Imparting a hint of her Japanese heritage into the song's ambiguously romantic theme ("shonen" loosely translates to "young boy"), Doi hammers out a flurry of dynamic guitar work that packs a significant wallop without lessening the strangely elegant, alluring qualities of Doi's accented vocal harmonies. Mike LeChevallier
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.