IAMDDB photography via Jenna Knight PR

This time of year is a weird one for music releases – it’s not quite a ghost town out here, but to be honest there’s not all that much that’s hugely notable out this week, in my humble opinion (give or take the very TikTok-baiting new Bieber track).

an animated ad for gal-dem's chosen family documentary series exploring LGBTQI+ histories in the UK

But there were two festive weeks without a five on it, and so I am starting 2020 gathering up a couple of the things that might have slipped by your mulled wine daze, along with some stuff that landed this week. There’s no better thing than to start the new year than clarity (though I am doing my best to avoid a “2020 vision” joke, for now at least – you are welcome).

IAMDDB – Kare Package

I feel like following some initially massive hype, the Manchester artist has been operating a little more low-key lately – but as she says on ‘Scare You’, “DD independent / I don’t rely on a label so I set the pace”. This little collection of tracks she dropped over the holidays is a reminder of why you should be paying attention: glimmering beats that light up with her mellifluous vocals and boisterous braggadocio.

Kehlani ft. Keyshia Cole – ‘All Me’

This much-anticipated collab finally dropped to close 2019, and it did not disappoint. A silky banger topped with irresistible vocals (especially from Kehlani), I’m not sure it’s actually about the emotional labour women invest in men – “when you see him know that that’s all me” – but it’s bemusing to interpret it that way.

mxmtoon – ‘unspoken words’

This video from the teen Chinese-American bedroom pop star dropped over the holidays, and it’s a sweet, glowing track that serves as a lounge-y reflection on immigrant familial love.

Mist – ‘Savage’

Okay, so, this actually bangs. I don’t know that much more needs to be said – slick visuals serving Top Gear realness (yes I stole the reference from the YouTube comments) and Mist’s fierce delivery over that hard hard beat. Turn this up real loud.

Lady Leshurr – ‘CARMEN’

This isn’t on Spotify right now, so won’t be on the playlist yet – but it merits inclusion because it’s a beautiful, emotional dedication to Leshurr’s late sister, who passed away from cancer. Over soft-focus pianos, the Birmingham MC pours forth some harrowing catharsis.

You can follow the new 2020 Five on it playlist below (the 2019 one can be found here):

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