OK, this column is called Playlist, so I thought that it should feature an actual playlist once in a while. Novel idea, right? So here are a handful of recently released tracks that are worth a listen.

Childish Gambino – “Bonfire”

Donald Glover’s alter ego is killing it on his latest album, Camp, and the first single is easily one of the best songs on there. He took a page out of the Kanye success book with the underlying tribal-sounding chants. But what makes the track really good is the ferocity of his rapping and lyrics. Plus, the video is awesomely creepy and you can listen to all of Camp at NPR.org.

The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”

Speaking of awesome videos, the “Lonely Boy” video is low-end production magic. But what’s America’s hottest new dancer without the right music? “Lonely Boy” is the right music for this guy, and you, and me, and everyone else with a pair of ears and a soul. The Black Keys ditch the blues they do so well on this song, and pump out some seriously catchy rock ‘n’ roll.

Bonus: As I was writing this, another track, titled “Run Right Back,” was released from El Camino, and it’s also worth a listen.

Deer Tick – “The Bump”

This is the kind of song you drunkenly belt out when it comes on at a bar. First of all, it features the line “We’re full-grown men, but we act like kids.” More importantly, “The Bump” has all of Deer Tick pounding out the beat in grungy, loud unison. Just listening to this song will have you itching for a rowdy night in a dive bar.

Amy Winehouse feat. Nas – “Like Smoke”

In case you missed it, the Mr. Jones of Winehouse’s hit “Me and Mr. Jones” turned out to be Nas. Pretty great, and it gives some extra significance to “Like Some,” one of the first tracks released off her posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures. Start listening for the novelty, but keep listening because Winehouse sounds phenomenal as always and Nas is in top form.
 
Jack White covers U2’s “Love is Blindness”
This cover shouldn’t even need an explanation. Even someone who’s not a U2 fan has to acknowledge the band’s powerful songwriting skills. Give one of those songs to Jack White and let him rip it to shreds with his guitar, and the results are almost guaranteed to be a violent assault on your ears — in a good way.

R. Kelly – “Shut Up!”

R. Kelly had emergency throat surgery this summer, and he was understandably sad about this. Naturally, these feelings ended up in a song. The lyrics are basically in letter format. Unedited, not at all poetic letter format. It actually sounds like an R. Kelly parody, and not even a good one. Really, it’s great that he’s alright, but this is as sad as the circumstances that lead up to it.

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