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So Necessary: New Music From the Cranberries, MorMor, and Chris Crack

Our weekly roundup includes haunting tracks from a Toronto indie star and the late Dolores O’Riordan, as well as rap from a Chicago upstart and a Lizzo-Missy collabo

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Because he has nothing better to do with his time, each Friday, Micah Peters riffs on the most awe-inspiring, confounding, addictive, or otherwise hilarious moments from the week in music. This week: Chris Crack returns with another static blast of private thoughts, Lizzo and Missy Elliott get everyone on the floor, and MorMor makes us think about death and get sad and stuff.

Any Part of Chris Crack’s “Black People Can’t Be Racist”

The fuzzy easy listening horns, split in half by thumping drums and crowded by obscure sound bites, immediately imbue Chris Crack’s newest album, Crackheads Live Longer Than Vegans, with the irreverence of a pirate radio show. This isn’t even counting his song titles, which, much like the album title and the Chicago rapper’s writing, don’t exactly scream “done under close supervision.” A sampling from the track lists of Just Gimme a Minute and Thanks, Uncle Trill, two of the six (!) projects he released in 2018: “Turning Down Pussy Builds Character”; “Masturbate Before Making Decisions”; “Niggas Ain’t Really Happy”; and “Hennergy,” a personal favorite. “A quarter-pounder, pan of flounder it’s all poison / We won’t even get into soybeans,” he raps. “Joy means livin’ life at your own speed.”

Minute and Uncle Trill both clock in at around a half-hour; Crackheads is only 18 minutes, so just listen to all of it. “Black People Can’t Be Racist” is another short burst of witty and wonky music from Crack, whose stream of consciousness remains wildly enjoyable to swim in. “My favorite rapper was Misdemeanor, she take me tease me / I need some pizza,” he thinks aloud on “Black People.” And then: “For the record Papa John’s was never decent.” Amen.

MorMor’s Polite Desperation on “Outside”

From the moment you start listening to “Outside,” the first new song of 2019 from Toronto’s reticent indie-pop-star-in-waiting MorMor, you can place it. You’ve heard it before—it was raining, maybe, or just overcast. Maybe it was nighttime? In any case, the two leads in a rom-com are apart, feeling miserable about another meaningful connection they’ve wasted, either through hesitation or with self-loathing.

Aside from the electric and weightless melancholy of the production, it’s the quiet urgency in MorMor’s voice when he sings “I’m scared to die / Despite the moonlight / It leaves me blind / How can I find the sun?” that makes you think about, say, Adam Driver staring at his reflection in a shop window. The next scene is a race to the airport or a train station, probably.

Missy Elliott Purring on Lizzo’s “Tempo”

The third single from Lizzo’s forthcoming debut, Cuz I Love You, is a dream collaboration between a soon-to-be-deified talent and her spiritual predecessor, Missy Elliott. “Tempo” starts with a howling guitar riff, indicating that a show is about to begin. Then the curtain parts, and Lizzo lets fly: “Slow songs, they for skinny hoes.” If you have any annoying objections to that:

In the early to mid-2000s, Elliott was yanking everyone onto the dance floor with her. Likewise, “Tempo” is geared toward getting every ass out of its seat. The air of the song is moody and bossy, but you get a sense of warmth and of a circle being completed when Elliott purrs, “Look good, look good, look grrrrrrd,” and Lizzo answers back: “LOOK GOOD!”

The Cranberries’ “Wake Me When It’s Over”

In The End, the final Cranberries album, comes out next month. It’s apparently composed of songs Dolores O’Riordan had been working on before she drowned to death in January 2018. This makes “Wake Me When It’s Over,” the first offering from In the End, particularly chilling.

I don’t think I can do better than my colleague Rob Harvilla in describing the storied Irish band’s sound—“the ethereal glamour of Enya, the sentimental skepticism of Sinéad O’Connor, the football-stadium grandiosity of U2,” he wrote. “Wake Me” is duly haunting and gorgeous and full of thundering dissatisfaction, but allow yourself to get lost in the chorus: O’Riordan’s voice rises high above the song, above earth, and takes off to some distant galaxy. “Wake me when it’s ooooooverrrrrrrrrrr.”

Burna Boy Rapping on “Innocent Man”

As it turns out, L.A.-based electronic duo DJ Dodger Stadium—DJDS for short—works as a great foil for Nigeria’s preeminent genre agnostic. On the Steel & Copper EP, Burna Boy intones over production with a little harder edge (read: trappier) than usual, and it works all four times. Also: He’s rapping rapping. From “Innocent Man”: “Stereotypical fucked from the get-go / took a long time but I’m ready now / you either get down or you get low.”

BONUS: Whatever This Roddy Ricch and Young Thug Song Is

A crucial part of a Young Thug rollout is watching him perform barely intelligible but very promising snippets from whichever upcoming project he’s working on via his Instagram story, usually from the front seat of his car. This one, supposedly featuring Roddy Ricch, sounds uniquely promising.

Thug has seven solo commercial mixtapes out, but—ultra-maddeningly—no actual debut album. But what is an “album,” anyway? I literally could not tell you. Just give me this song.