5 Songs to Hear This Week: Heavy samples, heart-thumping beats, and ‘love, sweet love’

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The love reverberates from Nina Simone, Black Thought and Leon Michels, and Gilligan Moss. Photos by Youtube, courtesy of the artist, and Sesse Lind

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our current obsessions, including 5 Songs to Hear This Week, Bent By Nature: Deirdre O'Donoghue and The Lost SNAP Archives (The Music), and our weekly sampler of KCRW’s Top 30 most played records

De La Soul – “Eye Know”

You know we love you baby! Read on for a special Valentine’s edition of 5 Songs to Hear This Week to keep the love going, with songs for crushes, lust, flirtation — however love finds you this season. This upbeat and posi-vibed track from De La Soul (R.I.P. Dave Jolicoeur a.k.a. Trugoy The Dove) is a head boppin’ take on a classic love song, a great track to send to your boo to express yourself without the usual cheese. Featuring happy brass, breezy bars, and, of course, De La’s trademark samples, come for the Steely Dan bars that you remember, stay for the Otis Redding whistles you may have forgotten.

El Michels Affair & Black Thought – “That Girl” 

Who is she? Experience the power of being overcome by desire in this sensual-cool new track from production powerhouse El Michels Affair. Listen in as The Roots’ Black Thought spins the tale of meeting a “spiritual twin,” mentally losing his cool while still keeping the rhymes tight. Soulful sampled backing vocals keep this track sweet in the chorus before swinging the pendulum back to distinctly tough-guy territory. If you’re feeling the collab as much as we are, stay tuned: The full-length Glorious Game comes out April 14.

Gilligan Moss – “Love Song”

You know that tingly, sparkle-vision feeling that comes over you when you meet someone you just know is gonna be special to your life? Yeah, been a long time for us, too — get yourself back there with this sweet and bouncy electronic track from dance-duo newcomers Gilligan Moss. Layered vocals, a toe-tappin’ beat, and a chant-worthy chorus make this a perfect pick for anybody who might be caught catching feelings. Fans of TEED, Hot Chip, Caribou, and other good-time electro-pop take note. 

Nina Simone – “Be My Husband (Hot Chip Remix)”

Speaking of Hot Chip… Queen Nina Simone needs no notes — we love her just as she is. But it’s quite a vibe to hear her iconic voice and unmistakable delivery couched in sultry synths and electro-beats supplied by some of our favorite UK dancefloor lads, Hot Chip. Play this one to find yourself in two worlds at once, and discover sweet harmony in the dissonance. Bonus points for a mesmerizing and meaningful visualizer. 

Dionne Warwick – “What The World Needs Now”

Where else could this list possibly end? The magnificent Dionne Warwick is captured here in a 1966 performance of her mentor Burt Bacharach’s honey-sweet ode to love. Bacharach died this week at the age of 94, and was memorialized by Warwick, who called him her “dear friend and musical partner” in a touching statement. The two collaborated on love songs that swooned the world for decades. Revisit Chris Douridas’ 1994 interview with Bacharach, and put a little extra love out into the world.