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toggle caption Courtney Loo & David Karp/Courtesy of the artist

KIRBY's "Kool Aid" injects just the right doses of doo-wop and soul.

Courtney Loo & David Karp/Courtesy of the artist

You can stream this playlist via Spotify.

We recently got a new batch of bright-eyed, music-loving interns here at NPR Music. To get to know the new recruits, we asked them to share the first CD — I know, archaic -- they bought with their own money, to which one hip-hop-inclined cherub answered, "Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak."

For those of you getting up from having fallen out of your chair, yes, 808s, released in 2008, is someone in the world's first coveted music purchase; their emblem of music discovery and, hence, their source of tangible nostalgia.

Like most things in our wonky lil' century, nostalgia has caught up with us at a bewildering, hyper-speed rate. Because we're inundated with more media — especially music — than ever before, new millennial longing mines not only from Y2K, but also from as recently as five or ten years ago.

Today's rising R&B and pop stars are bathing their music in that very concept by marrying their nostalgia with dynamic electronics, harmonies and flips. Let this week's additions to the Heat Check playlist take you back while they push you forward.


Summer Walker, "Playing Games"

Come for the skillful, acoustic Destiny's Child flip of "Say My Name," stay for the wallowing, disjointed hallmarks of millennial courtship: "Swear that you doing the most / But we take a picture, can't post it / How that work?"

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Rex Orange County, "10/10"

A sincere, sad-boy gem is set afloat over an electric, nasally Nord. Rex's latest single feels like an indie-pop love child of Lisa Loeb, Vampire Weekend and Matt & Kim.

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Masego, "Big Girls"

The spry bass line? The jumpin' percussion? The fact that Sego somehow morphs into a charismatic amalgamation of the Ying Yang Twins, John Legend and Count Basie?! (Who knew that was even possible?) Add this sultry, body-positive anthem to the canon ASAP.

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KIRBY, "Kool Aid"

KIRBY's buttery vocals and Motown-channeling production inject just the right doses of doo-wop and soul to your synapses: "You can't buy this at the corner store."

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SiR, "New Sky (feat. Kadja Bonet)"

SiR's whole Chasing Summer album rides out like a forlorn, Donny-Hathaway-Musiq-Soulchild fever dream with slightly warmer shades of The Weeknd's House of Balloons days.

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berhana, "Lucky Strike"

Funky, psychedelics pull berhana's latest lovesick single back to the electro-soaked '80s a la Madonna, Prince and Bowie. Just remember, no crying on the dance floor.

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All Songs Considered

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Enlarge this image Amaarae cuts it up better than a moon-walking Samurai on "Body Count." Philip Boakye/Courtesy of the artist hide
May 03, 2020

Heat Check: Hippocampus Two-Steps

Enlarge this image Dreya Mac spits bars at a level far beyond a novice on her debut track "Skippin." Clara Setian/Courtesy
Apr 26, 2020

Heat Check: Shake Your Senses

Enlarge this image Rooted in languid rhythm, Octavian's "Poison" featuring Santi with OBONGJAYAR sounds like nothing else out. Crowns & Owls/Courtesy…
Apr 19, 2020

Heat Check: Double My W's

Enlarge this image Kenny Mason unveils his debut project Angelic Hoodrat with a cool-under-pressure, low-lid resolve. Nasser Boulaich/Courtesy of the…
Apr 12, 2020

Heat Check: Money In My Hand

Enlarge this image Don't play with Kari Faux. Play with your kids. Quil Lemons /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption Quil
Apr 05, 2020

Heat Check: I Feel Void

Enlarge this image Empress Of's "Void" feels like a euphoric cross-genre culture clash, a dance party in a summer storm. Dorian Lopez/Courtesy
Mar 29, 2020

Heat Check: Teleport And Transform

Enlarge this image Bongeziwe Mabandla's "masiziyekelele" sends you racing through the streets of Johannesburg. Justice Mukheli/Courtesy of the artist…
Mar 22, 2020

Heat Check: Make It Make Sense

Enlarge this image Alex Isley's "Gone" perfects the art of subtle, fear-inducing seduction. Lauren Desberg /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle…
Mar 08, 2020

Heat Check: Homecoming

Enlarge this image The laboriously-delayed Eternal Atake finally delivered big time for Lil Uzi Vert fans. Erika Goldring/FilmMagic/Getty Images hide…
Feb 23, 2020

Heat Check: Caught Up And Curious

Enlarge this image Linda Diaz's "Magic" swirls in the watercolor pools of a quirky, young love. Jonah Zorn Koplin/Courtesy of the artist
Feb 17, 2020

Heat Check: Répéter, Répéter

Enlarge this image Arlo Parks' "Eugene" spins a stinging reminder of getting left for convention. Charlie Cummings/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Feb 09, 2020

Heat Check: Going All Out

Enlarge this image Victoria Monét melds fantasy with reality for her latest, "Moment." Dana Trippe/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption…
Feb 03, 2020

The Tiny Desk Contest Is Back For 2020

YouTube In the past year, we've had some pretty big names come perform at the Tiny Desk: Lizzo, Jimmy Eat World and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
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Dec 17, 2019

Bob Boilen's Top 20 Albums For 2019

Big Thief released two of Bob Boilen's favorite albums in 2019: U.F.O.F. and Two Hands. Michael Buishas hide captiontoggle caption Michael Buishas
Dec 16, 2019

Heat Check: Favorite Discoveries Of 2019

Enlarge this image Kirby, Odunsi (The Engine) and Hope Tala Courtney Loo & David Karp/Folarin Omolayole/Freddie Stisted/Courtesy of the artists hide…
Dec 01, 2019

Heat Check: Ode To The Cap

Enlarge this image Kilo Kish's glitchy, pithy "SPARK" sets fire to procrastination, pushing you to keep creating. Kish Robinson/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 17, 2019

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Nov 17, 2019

Heat Check: Charge The Haters Interest

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Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Oct 20, 2019

Heat Check: Getting Lost, Giving In

Enlarge this image TeaMarrr's mesmerizing new single "Kinda Love" is the type of daydream to put into action. Tyren Redd/Courtesy of the
Oct 06, 2019

Heat Check: Songs That Let It All Out

Enlarge this image The Pendletons provide a jazzy, dancing-in-your-living-room soundtrack to self-care. Ivan Noble/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Sep 29, 2019

Heat Check: Euphoric Shuffle Play

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