Thanks to my kids, I’m a 40-something dad who hears a lot of pop music (and, because of my daughter’s love of it, country music too). Most of it isn’t my cup of tea.
But some songs pop out for me, often if they do innovative and twisty things with influences from earlier rock / folk / funk / pop music (that I happen to like.) Creating new religious/spiritual/literary/homiletical/linguistic art from earlier rabbinic and biblical texts is the basis of midrash, and engaging in that activity is sometimes called “drashing.” I like the way a lot of songs today drash on earlier music.
Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s. I hear echoes of Nancy Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Ethridge, and even her contemporaries, Adele and Amy Winehouse – both of whose music serves as midrash on a variety of earlier styles.
Cee Lo Green is doing it for me too:
I’m hearing so much wonderful early 70’s Motown, or maybe 60’s – I’m not an expert on this stuff. Al Green. James Brown. My wife even says a bit of Marvin Gaye.
Neko Case, drawing on vintage country and folk, as well as some 90’s REM sensibilities, mixed with some torch worthy of K. D. Lang, released Hold On, Hold On in 2009:
Interested to hear others’ thoughts!