EVERY THURSDAY, here you’ll find a short list of three little birds singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true — a mini-comp covering the best new music, music videos, albums, underappreciated songs, and so on. These might be big-time artists with big, new hits, small-time musicians we stumbled across on social media, or even iconic musicians from the past whose songs may help us better understand today. This Thursday’s Three Little Birds are Anderson .Paak (“Jet Black” Feat. Brandy), FKA twigs (“Cellophane”), and Mannequin Pussy (“Drunk II”).

To share music, talk music, etc., head to the “Songbirds” forum in the AVIARY (link here).

“Jet Black” by Anderson .Paak feat. Brandy

Released last month, Anderson .Paak’s smooth groovin’ Ventura features guest musical appearances from Smokey Robinson, André 3000, Brandy, in addition to posthumous vocals from Nate Dogg. Much of the album’s soul feels like an appreciative call-back to the P-Funk/G-Funk days, the sort of jazzy funkadelic sound (re)mastered by Kendrick Lamaar in his To Pimp a Butterfly. More importantly, the album feels good, as demonstrated by our favorite song from Ventura:

Lyrics

Yuh, yuhShe was a fan, but her friend didn’t care
I like the ones who buy they own damn beers
If you wanna toast to the life that you live
Pour enough shots for the whole year
Jet black hair, baby, jet black hair
Matte black Jeep with the Rubicon grill
Ooh, it’s been a while, baby, don’t go there
Ooh, it’s been a while, baby, come hereShaped like pear, baby, jet black hair
You bought the drinks and I paid no care
Hold a nigga down, don’t go nowhere
Ooh, it’s been a while, baby, come here

We peakin’
Hands above us
Feels like someone lifted me
We peakin’
Arms like lovers
Feels like someone sent for me

Yuh, yuh
We goin’ in there from the window sills
I don’t mind if they watch, I don’t care
Who gon’ love you when your love ain’t there?
Baby, that ass is just unfair
Jet black hair, baby, jet black hair
At least two grams in your blunt wrapped there
These two hands always land up on the small of your back
Should I ask if eyes can go there?

You bought the drinks and I paid no care
Couple more shots, we can all get to bed
Yes, Lord, like you livin’ on a prayer
Play too much, baby, come here

We peakin’
Hands above us
Feels like someone lifted me
We peakin’
Arms like lovers
Feels like someone sent for me (Sent for me, yeah)
We peakin’

If this is the mood, then you should know that
To be honest, I love it
We peakin’
If this is the mood, then you should know that
To be honest, I love it
We peakin’

And the coldest part is I’m not even there
I watch your feed, but I don’t feed into that
Just give me the news
I miss all the parties, but I’m still the best dressed, clean
As the curtain on him pulls back

Hands above us
Feels like someone lifted me
Arms like lovers
Feels like someone sent for me
We peakin’
Hands above us
Feels like someone liftin’ me
We peakin’
Arms like lovers
Feels like someone sent for me
We peakin’

***

“Cellophane” by FKA twigs

Is the pole-dancer oppressed by gazing eyes or is she the master of our gaze? For the duration of Cellophane’s music video, it is FKA twigs who entrances and thus owns our eyes (and ears), as her sexual female energy transforms her vulnerability into strength. As a song, “Cellophane” has a powerful visual identity, captured by a music video whose arc is a frown-like tragedy, such as a bird that gains flight only to inevitably plummet back down to earth.

Lyrics

Didn’t I do it for you?
Why don’t I do it for you?
Why won’t you do it for me
When all I do is for you?They want to see us, want to see us alone
They want to see us, want to see us apart
They want to see us, want to see us alone
They want to see us, want to see us apartAnd I, just want to feel you’re there
And I don’t want to have to share our love
I try, but I get overwhelmed
When you’re gone I have no one to tell
And I, just want to feel you’re there
And I don’t want to have to share our love
I try but I get overwhelmed
All wrapped in cellophane, the feelings that we had

And didn’t I do it for you?
Why don’t I do it for you?
Why won’t you do it for me
When all I do is for you?
And didn’t I do it for you?
Why won’t I do it for you?
Why won’t you do it for me
When all I do is for you?

But I, just want to feel you’re there
And I don’t want to have to share our love
I try but I get overwhelmed
When you’re gone, I have no one to tell

They’re waiting
They’re watching
They’re watching us
They’re hating
They’re waiting
And hoping
I’m not enough

***

“Drunk II” by Mannequin Pussy

Post-breakup hedonism, nihilism, and despair — this is the sound of Mannequin Pussy’s “Drunk II,” which opens to the lyrics: “I’ve been going out almost every night / I’ve been drinking everything I can get my hands on / I pretend I have fun” — only to soon confess: “I still love you, you stupid fuck.” And like any good love-focused punk song, “Drunk II” works by rendering heartbreak as something fun, like an event for drinking and dancing — and then way more drinking.

Lyrics

I’ve been going out almost every night
I’ve been drinking everything I can get my hands on
I pretend I have fun

And do you remember the nights
I called you up?
I was so fucked up
I forgot we were broken up
I still love you, you stupid fuck

You don’t look at me
You don’t talk to me
And I know it’s ’cause you’re weak, baby
You feel guilty
It’s pathetic

And everyone says to me
“Missy, you’re so strong”
But what if I don’t want to be?
And everyone says to me
“Missy, how do you stand?”
There’s so much you don’t see

I was getting swept into emptiness
I was taking time, I was practicing living with regret
Something you’re so good at

At the end of the night I am walking home
I pretended that I am wet I am wanting them
No means please stop
I need to be alone

And everyone says to me
“Missy, you’re so strong”
But what if I don’t want to be?
And everyone says to me
“Missy, how do you stand?”
There’s so much you don’t see

Half pitcher down
I drink to drown
I am alone
Half pitcher down
I drink to drown
I am alone
Half pitcher down (Everyone gather ’round)
I drink to drown (I have the answer now)
I am alone (I have the answer now)
Half pitcher down (Everyone gather ’round)
I drink to drown (I have the answer now)
I am alone (I have the answer now)