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Top 10 Songs of the Month: Cardi B, Drake, Janelle Monáe, and Prince

on April 30, 2018, 12:00am
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05. Prince – “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Release: Single out now on NPG

We’ve all heard the brilliant opening line to “Nothing Compares 2 U” countless times. It’s a lyric that perfectly depicts the painful precision with which we ache and pine when our hearts have been broken. This month, after years of hearing Sinéad O’Connor’s definitive ’90s version and numerous covers, the “Prince Vault” cracked open to release The Purple One’s original studio recording of the classic for the first time ever. Gone is the dramatic sweep, powerhouse vocals, and cold isolation of O’Connor’s take, replaced instead by plodding raindrop percussion, gospel harmonies, and tear-soaked sax that conjure the image of a crushed man aimlessly wandering through a world that has lost all direction since he’s been left. It’s a breathtaking reminder of Prince’s abilities as a performer and a credit to his genius as a songwriter that such disparate versions of the same song could be equally powerful. –Matt Melis


04. Janelle Monáe  – “I Like That”

Release: From Dirty Computer, out now on Bad Boy

Janelle Monáe is back with a vengeance and not taking anything from anyone in advance of her new album, Dirty Computer, the artist’s third full-length. Songs like “I Like That” showcase Monáe’s brash individualism and knack for fusing smooth R&B and slick rap into one futuristic mix ridden with catchy hooks and melodic virtuosity. The song is worth a listen based on technical skill alone, but mostly for Monáe’s pure swagger, which oozes from every lyric. –Clara Scott


03. Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry”

Release: Single out now on Republic

Just when we thought nobody could touch Drake or The Weekend this month when it comes to sheer clicks and listens, Ariana Grande dropped a late April game-changer in “No Tears Left to Cry”. Bolstered by a dazzling debut at Coachella, Grande’s latest single finds the pop star deftly shifting between vocal cadences, one second giving a pep talk and belting out the song’s titular refrain the next. Between losses in her family and the tragic bombing at her 2017 Manchester concert, Grande clearly knows the feeling of being totally cried out. But you can forget about there being any hint of defeat in “No Tears”. It’s climbing charts now for the same reason it’ll still be relevant come year-end time and beyond: it nudges us toward hope and resilience at times when we feel our most hopeless and powerless. –Matt Melis


02. Drake – “Nice for What”

Release: From Scorpion, out this summer from Cash Money

“Nice for What” has been sitting cozily atop the charts, and it’s easy to understand why: it has a certain infectiousness to it that’s nearly impossible to shake from memory. The beat seeps into the veins like a jolt of adrenaline, and Drake’s rapping over the smooth-sounding background vocals serves up some serious stylistic juxtaposition. “Nice for What”, which features the work of noted producer Murda Beatz, will be included on Drake’s upcoming album, Scorpion, set for a summer release. If this track is any indication of what Scorpion has to offer, then this year might just end up being pretty nice for Drake. –Lindsay Teske


01. Cardi B – “I Like It”

Release: From Invasion of Privacy out now on Atlantic

What can anyone say about Cardi B that hasn’t already been said? The woman is becoming a legend, riding the wave of fame during a month that may be the most successful of her life, from a dramatic pregnancy reveal on SNL to every song of her debut album landing on the charts. The gem of Invasion of Privacy, club banger “I Like It” meshes B’s Latinx roots with brutal and striking rap skills that could make anyone dance, creating a memorable track among an album full of star power. –Clara Scott

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