We're in the dog days of summer and keeping things cool by blasting "Bad Intentions" by Niykee Heaton, "Guns" by Nice As Fuck, and the quintessential '90s hit "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas.
What Lena Dunham is listening to:
My current jam is "Bad Intentions" by Niykee Heaton. I randomly discovered her video on Vevo during repeat perplexed viewings of "M.I.L.F.$," and "Intentions" worked its way under my skin — what on the surface is a typical low-tempo pop jam is actually an aching meditation on what it means to self-destruct. Choice lyric: "You say you love the way the storms blow / but when it comes you close your window." We've all been the storm. We've all been the window closer. Both hurt like hell.
What our editor at large Mikki Halpin is listening to:
Full disclosure — I am friends with a couple of women in this band. But I'm pretty sure I would love them nonetheless for their devotion to '60s-style revolution on 2016 issues. Nice as Fuck, known as NAF to prudes, is made up of Tennessee Thomas, Jenny Lewis, and Erika Forster, who all have strong indie-rock cred and intense political views. They've been touring the past few months, opening for M. Ward and making the usual new-band rounds. I particularly love "Guns," with its refrain of "I don't wanna be afraid, so put your guns away," because of how it combines Lewis's groovy, hymn-like intonations with Thomas's crisp beats and the comforting, solid sound of Forster's bass. It's an instant anthem, and who doesn't love an anthem with a message you can get behind?
What our deputy editor Laia Garcia is listening to:
Some people have always thought it was cool to hate "Smooth" or whatever, but I remember heartily singing along to it with my mom in the car when it was first released. Although by then I had outgrown my Rob Thomas "Push"-era crush, I still felt things when I heard his sexy-as-heck voice. Then I became a music snob in college, so I rejected this song and the joy it had brought me. No more! This is the year I've come back around and embraced this song for the real gem that it is. How could I not love those sweet Latin grooves, Santana's mad guitar riffing, and of course the ICONIC line "OR ELSE FUGETABOUTIT." This song is summer and life.