“I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I am something that you’ll never understand”. The opening line of Prince’s 1984 stone cold classic “I Would Die 4 U” somehow manages to be both a grand yet frustrated declaration from a higher power and a definitive mission statement from the purple one explaining what he himself is and isn’t. It remains gloriously ambiguous, full of desperation, glitter, euphoria and pure melodic love, an otherworldly pop song.
Anderson .Paak – Old Town Road (Lil Nas X cover)
Given how thoroughly “Old Town Road” dominated the summer – the longest-reigning Billboard #1 in history, for those under-a-rock-dwellers among you – it seems shocking that it took until now for the first truly great cover to emerge. Less shocking: that it came from rapper/singer/drummer extraordinaire Anderson .Paak. Back in May, he performed a more straightforward version with Lil Nas X himself, but for BBC’s Live Lounge he and his band The Free Nationals reinvented it into a soul groove with shades of D’Angelo.