Hard to believe that it’ll be October the next time you read one of these. This is, in fact, the last weekend in September; you can now cook with pumpkin and buy holiday paraphernalia and start making winter playlists without seemingly overly gloomy. However will we function, knowing we’ve only got three months of music left in the year? Well, fair warning: a lot of this playlist is shameless ’90s nostalgia. But not all! For instance…
1. DEMI LOVATO FT. MISSY ELLIOTT, “ALL NIGHT LONG”
We know that “Who’s That Boy” is the single. It’s also got maybe Dev’s eighth-best verse. Besides, you’ll have heard it 500 times within a month and still be no closer to figuring out who, in fact, that boy is (or that chick, or that girl, or anyone else from the other times this song was written.) “All Night Long,” being the first track and an obvious future single, will probably become just as familiar, and its three-notes-from-”Toxic” riff and frantic vocal–the only way to write out the pre-chorus and be true to the song is “I LIKE YOU PUT YOUR NUMBER PUT YOUR NUMBER IN MY PHONEPHONEPHONE…”–are much more assertive. And anything with the words “ft. Missy Elliott” and without the words “Last Friday Night (Remix)” gets our approval, no matter how much Elliott is sorta squandered here.
2. KATY B, “EASY PLEASE ME”
Hypothesis: Whenever a singer names a friend by name in a song, it’s automatically great. Evidence: when Katy played this at her first real Stateside show earlier this month, she’d already gotten at least two loud people in the crowd to shout “OLIVIA!” right before it came on. Even if you think we (and them!) are slightly too taken with one line, “Easy Please Me” and its laid-back charms make it an ideal entry point into album On a Mission, just released in the States.
3. EN VOGUE, “MY LOVIN’ (YOU’RE NEVER GONNA GET IT)”
There were great and terrible auditioners. Simon and Paula showed up as expected, and Nicole also pretty much met the public’s expectations of her. What we didn’t expect from The X Factor was for R&B girl group 2Squard to show up, do decently and make us long for a time when (’90s nostalgia alert!) the R&B girl group still got traction in the United States beyond, say, Electrik Red or the ever-teased, ever-denied Destiny’s Child reunion. En Vogue was one of the best, and the sashay of a riff made this track one of their most successful.
4. PAULA ABDUL, “STRAIGHT UP”
Last X Factor tie-in, we promise. Paula Abdul’s career of highs and lows needs no reassessment, having lodged a couple genuine classics in the musical canon. This is the most classic. Don’t believe us? That link’ll let you watch her at the VMAs. Not convinced, and not swayed by the track itself? You probably didn’t pay enough attention to the choreography.
5. SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA, “ONE”
Did you know dance group Swedish House Mafia have surfaced far enough out of the underground to play Madison Square Garden? We didn’t. (It was an actual office debate.) What’s undeniable, though, is how their sound’s built for arenas that size. Pharrell’s feature on “One” hardly warrants the feature credit, but are you really listening because of him? You’re listening to dance and to be overwhelmed. This will do.
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