From Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” to Mika’s “Grace Kelly” to Jay-Z’s “Tom Ford,” musicians have a long history of giving shout-outs to famous peeps. But this month, name-checking seems to be all the rage. Here, our take on three new songs inspired by celebs.
“BILL MURRAY” BY PHANTOGRAM (from Voices)
With its moaning guitars and twinkling atmospherics, this slow-burner from the New York–based synthpop duo could soundtrack a moodier moment in Lost in Translation.
The Verdict: Pretty, but with lines like “If I look up, can you keep me alive?” these Debbie Downers may want to consider adding Caddyshack to their Netflix queue.
“HUEY NEWTON” BY ST. VINCENT (from St. Vincent)
Singer-guitarist Annie Clark was inspired to write this track after “meeting” Newton, a founding member of the Black Panthers, while hallucinating on Ambien in a Finnish hotel room.
The Verdict: The song starts smoothly, then seems to become possessed by Satan himself. It’s clear what sorta trip Clark is on: It’s more about black magic than Black Power.
“AALIYAH” BY KATY B FEATURING JESSIE WARE (from Little Red)
The silky-voiced dance divas don’t so much eulogize the departed R&B songstress as mythologize her, both as a Jolene-esque maneater and a spectral force of pure talent.
homage Ms. Haughton could have hoped for.