Welcome to The Weekend Stream, a relaxing weekly review of notable digital-only catalogue titles. There may be no CD or vinyl, but there's plenty of great new/old music to discover!
Ben Folds, It's the Small Things, Charlie Brown (Apple TV+ Original Soundtrack) (Peanuts Productions) (iTunes)
Ben Folds has been sort of quiet lately. While the piano-pounding alt-rocker has been livestreaming and podcasting along with being an advocate for orchestras in recent years, he's only released a handful of singles since 2015's So There, a collaboration with chamber-pop ensemble yMusic. But that's about to change: he's set to record a new album this summer, and has contributed another new single to an Earth Day-themed special featuring the lovable Peanuts characters.
Brimming with queer eroticism and undeniable pop hooks, Sophie B. Hawkins debut single became an unlikely anthem, reaching the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. This newly-assembled EP features remixes and radio edits of all the singles from debut album Tongues and Tails (which Hawkins will tour in support of this year).
Yoakam's 1986 debut album flew in the face of Nashville's assumptions, helping make room for honky-tonk revivalism in the face of a post-Urban Cowboy landscape. It earned him two Top 5 country hits (including the terrific title track, which Terminator 2: Judgment Day fans might recognize) and became his first of three No. 1 country albums in a row. Reissued as a deluxe set in 2006, it's now digitally available that way, packed with nearly a dozen demos and a live show recorded at The Roxy in Hollywood as the album was first released.
Another Depeche Mode 12" singles box goes digital - the last one for a moment, as it's the most current, covering their ninth album from 1997. (A set for 2001's Exciter was recently announced - stay tuned for our report on that.)
Co-written and co-produced by Dallas Austin, "Thank You" was only a moderate hit on the U.S. charts, but anything would've been a comedown after third studio album II spun off monster hits in "I'll Make Love to You" (a chart-topper for 14 weeks - a chart-tying record at the time), "On Bended Knee" (which replaced "Make Love" at No. 1 - the first time an act did so since The Beatles - and spent another six non-consecutive weeks on top) and "Water Runs Dry," a No. 2 smash. With these five remixes on digital - one previously only available as a promo - it's hard to split hairs on the charts when you've got '90s R&B/dance this good.
While even frontman Stephan Jenkins was uninterested in revisiting the 25th anniversary of the band's self-titled debut breakthrough this month, a rarity from later in the '90s has appeared digitally: "New Girl," which kicked off the soundtrack to the teen sex comedy American Pie in 1999.
At the top of 2022, HBO Max released a special retrospective on the Harry Potter films, coinciding with the relative 20th anniversary of the first in the eight-part series based on the popular children's books. (The special went a little deeper than most EPKs, notably for the thrill of reuniting stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson for the first time since the series ended - and allowing them to speak openly about the challenging transitions to adulthood while shooting the films and beyond. This weekend, a pair of recordings of John Williams' beloved themes from the series (commissioned for the special) were released to add a little magic to your playlists. They're faithful to the original arrangements, to the point where you might end up sticking to the original recordings, but for the curious, they're here for your perusal.