Beyoncé's 'Already' Presents a Joyful, Powerful Celebration of Blackness


Obviously: Beyoncé feat. Shatta Wale & Major Lazer, “Already” – Beyoncé’s latest opus Black Is King, a visual album following a young African king on a journey of self-discovery, dropped at 3 a.m. Eastern Thursday night. Some of us (myself) have not yet had time to watch it even though our trusted colleagues (Clover Hope) co-wrote it, but until then, “Already” stands as the breakout video: A collaboration with the revered Ghanaian dancehall/afrobeats singer Shatta Wale in which the duo celebrates the king in question (Beyoncé, and a phalanx of beautiful young men) while executing typically phenomenal choreography in brown Marine Serré catsuits and cowprint. My only problem with this song is that there is now a worthy competitor to “Black Parade” as my go-to Summer 2020 Bey jam, but these singles work as companion pieces in Beyoncé’s affirming vision—joyful, powerful celebrations of Blackness. “Long live the king, you a king, you no wait,” she sings. “King already, already, you no wait.” We’ll have a Black Is King review on Monday; until then, I know what I’m doing with my weekend. —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Yes: Angel Olsen, “Whole New Mess” – Leave it to Angel Olsen to find new and creative ways to unleash romantic devastation on her listenership. “Whole New Mess” considers a period of self-reflection that follows the dissolution of a couple, when all surrounding relationships require reevaluation. In this new, socially distanced world, however, that idea doesn’t need a catalyst or even a breakup: it’s the sound of figuring out who your friends are and what your needs are—not an easy subject matter to tackle. Of course, Olsen is a master of articulating what feels so challenging. —Maria Sherman

Y: Agent blå, “Atopos” – Much of Swedish band Agent blå’s repertoire feels like a philosophy lesson, but no matter, their music is free of pretension—or, at least, it aims to define obscure concepts with real-world examples. “Atopos,” for example, is goth-y dream-pop centered around a miscommunication. Singer Emelie Alatalo repeats, “It was a privilege to never make sense to you” in the song’s shoegaze-y chorus as if she herself is the Socratic idea of atopy. Give it a listen, and it will all make sense. —MS

N: Lauv, “Love Somebody” – I wish Lauv would Lauv Somebody who could write him a memorable hook. This is pleasant and inoffensive and desperate for some texture. It’s objectively fine, but when has that been the end-all-be-all for any artists? —MS

Ja: Ace Tee, “Hunnies” – I’ve kept an eye on Ghanian German rapper Ace Tee ever since her song “Bist Du Down?” went viral a few years back. So I was excited to watch the buildup to the release of her new track “Hunnies,” which debuted Friday. What a comeback. The visuals are so fun—very Afro-futurist with a dash of Yee-Haw Agenda, a big change from the more ’90s/Moesha vibes of the “Bist Du Down?” video. And the song is pretty addictive. I don’t understand a lick of German, but I know a bop when I hear it. —Ashley Reese

Hell yeah: Ganser, Just Look At That Sky – I’ve gushed about Ganser on Jezebel before, and I’m pleased to report that their new album Just Look At That Sky didn’t disappoint. The post-punk band from Chicago came in strong with chaotic, guitar-heavy “Lucky” as the opening track, and while a few songs on the album lack the kind of frantic energy that I think suits Ganser best, tracks like “Emergency Equipment and Exits” offer a cooldown without feeling boring. This is an album that makes me want to get tossed around in a pit and drift off into space in lockdown hell. If you want something a tad more accessible as an intro to Ganser, however, check out their EP You Must Be New Here. —AR

Yup: Fontaines D.C., A Hero’s Death I was so excited to discover Fontaines D.C. earlier this year that I was enraged upon discovering that I was kind of late to the party. This band out of Dublin is just one of many that are proving that “post-punk revival revival” is real and here to stay, and they made a great case for it with their debut album Dogrel last year. So their sophomore album, A Hero’s Death, had a lot to live up to, and it delivered for the most part. Honestly, if I had never listened to this band before, the first two tracks of this album would have given me pause and made me wonder if I should continue; they’re not bad, just a bit sluggish. But by “Televised Mind” and—my personal favorite—“A Lucid Dream,” I was back in it, ready as ever to sing this band’s praises. Do I like it as much as their previous album? Probably not. Maybe the opening tracks warned me of this album’s more pensive tone, one that is nice enough to listen to but not necessarily what I’m in the mood for from a band that makes me want to get up and move my body. Still, it’s worth a listen. —AR

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