This was a super damn good two weeks for new singles. It’s usually good to have an even distribution and not oversell things, but damn, I’m not here, it’s a great playlist….hooooooohhhh
Faceshopping- SOPHIE: 5
Sophie KILLS IT here. Best song of the year so far, hands down.
Uses the same beat from Yeah Right & has this grimy/electronic sound with its scratching sounds, pounding bass & drumming that gradually builds intensity; there are so many glitchy layers of detail in this thing. The break in the middle with its elongated textures and glistening synths & dreamy vocals are worked in so well with the chaos. There’s no moment in that entire 4 minutes where I’m not on the edge of my seat. Gahdamn.
Make Me Feel- Janelle Monae: 5
3 minutes of pure bliss and passion. It’s a synth-funk/dance pop jam with hand snaps and clicks in the beginning that fade into a vibrating distorted bass. The guitars gradually come in and overtake it; Janelle’s vocals are straight-up godly and carry the weight of the track perfectly. Really excited for this album now.
Django Jane- Janelle Monae: 4
So well-spoken and empowering. The instrumental is pretty simple (maybe a tad average) but I love the strings and it draws attention to the lyrics. Straight to the point, meant to be appreciated for its message (black girl magic. feminism. diversity. the works.)
Lemon Glow- Beach House: 4
Maybe it’s not switching up much for Beach House, but they’re still bringing their A-game. I love the song’s mixing; the twisted synth layers and quiet percussion are pleasant with the dreamy vocals. The soft distortion fits right in; I’m in love with the faint, muffled soundscape and don’t think it leaves much to be desired.
44 More- Logic: 4
Woah. He’s so in control of this beat and seriously on fire, his speed is crazy impressive. You could argue that these bars aren’t that well-written, but I think its blunt nature is intentional. It’s pretty much your standard trap beat up until the beat switch, when chopped vocal samples and strings come in. Really nice surprise.
Moon River- Frank Ocean: 4
Couldn’t have picked a more perfect song to cover for his vocals. Their layering, effects, and fading in and out are superb. Love the delicate tone of the guitars, pretty low-key instrumental but too gorgeous to deny. Chillingly atmospheric & beautiful cover.
Spider Heard- Guerilla Toss: 4
Solid art pop groove. Love the shaken-up feel to it, harder rock sound in the buildup. Definitely feels complete/finished with all the subtle switch-ups peppered in. My only thing is never having been big on Guerilla Toss’ vocals. Usually I’m cool with strange/eccentric experimenting in that book, but they’ve always struck me as way too obnoxious and weak to buy into. Still, this is an example of how the group can win me over sonically. Love its peppy/new-wavey feel, and definitely keep listening to it so you can notice its intricacies.
Mr. Tillman- Father John Misty: 4
Father John Misty doing what he does best: not giving a fuck. Amusing lyrics, strong narrative, doesn’t overstay its welcome. Maybe it’s instrumentally boring (piano-ballad style structure), but it’s not necessarily what we’re supposed to pay attention to.
Valentine (What’s It Gonna Be)- Rina Sawayama: 4
Surprised me. Such a gorgeous, glistening reverie of sound. I love the shimmering synth textures next to the distorted bass. Strong melody, Rina’s vocals are beautiful as usual, and has careful attention to detail. Lyrically much stronger than I expected; talks about a no-strings attached relationship that throws monogamy to the wayside. Which, ya know, whether you agree with it is one thing, but she goes through the thought process of someone who does effectively.
This is That- David Byrne: 3.5
Structure’s a little disjointed, but grows on you. Psychedelic whirlwind with thunderous, echoing drums and strange synthetic layers. First half is a little more punchy, fades into a dramatically more melancholy tone with pianos and ambience. Not perfect on the whole, but gets better with each listen.
Christopher & 6th & JUNE 12TH- Blood Orange: 3.5
Rough, demo-quality songs (with a lot of background noise; sounds like they could’ve been recorded live). The vocals and lyrics are utterly captivating, and I love how stripped-back the instrumental is. Love the elongated synths that come in at the end of Christopher & 6th and throughout June 12th. The lyrics to June 12th are more specific to black history month which is nice, but the songwriting on each has a stream-of-consciousness/messy feel to them that fits the soundscape perfectly.
Psycho (feat. Ty Dolla Sign)- Post Malone: 3
Well this was a lot better than I expected. Post Malone’s vocals are perfect for the atmospheric production that utilizes a slower tempo with gloomy guitars and synths. The only thing that I feel like shouldn’t have been there is Ty Dolla Sign’s verse.
Suu Whoop- YG: 3
Utterly dark lyrics/have to do with gang calls and neighborhood violence. Pretty catchy production, but not necessarily the most impressive thing I’ve ever heard. YG sounds great, but on the whole the song doesn’t really stand out to me.
Turtle Neck Man- Mount Kimbie, King Krule: 3
Well that was short.
Reminds me of something off The Ooz from the desolate, isolating instrumental with unsettling ambience, sporadic percussion and strings. It just feels more like a fragment of a song than a complete single (no idea why it was released as one.) It could’ve been amazing had it been fleshed out tho.
Catch It- iceage: 3
I seem to be the only bitch on the block that’s not in love with this song. The average instrumentation and whiny vocals rub me the wrong way, and it’s not that these things are awful but after 2 minutes I feel like the song should already be ending. The chorus is kind of obnoxious too. Luckily it does switch up around 3:45, introducing heavier distortion and an epic climax; the lyrics help it out too.
Agony- Beach Fossils (Yung Lean Cover): 3
I actually like this song with drifting guitar layers instead of just pianos, and they’re the perfect group to pull it off. But the original kind of had a certain messiness/spontaneity that really helped it that I wish translated here. I could see someone thinking it’s somewhat boring if they weren’t paying attention to the lyrics and didn’t know the original. Still, I’m glad this happened.
Version of Me- Kimbra: 2
Woooow this is really stripped back for Kimbra; there are these chilling ambient synth layers and pianos, and lyrically it seems to be a dissection of her behavior in relationships and overall habits as a person. I guess my main problem with it is the chorus being weak/cliche and leaving feeling underwhelmed.
Blue Ribbon- Remo Drive: 2
There’s nothing that hooks me into this track, I don’t really think Remo Drive are that great at this sound (which feels more power-pop than midwest emo). Then there’s the fact the vocals are pretty overdone and obnoxious.
Nameless, Faceless- Courtney Barnett: 2
First of all, I’m not the biggest singer-songwriter person, so take anything I say about singer-songwriter material with a grain of salt.
That being said, these lyrics are not even close to being enough to make up for the boring instrumental. It tries to be a deep, harrowing feminist message but says nothing I/we haven’t already heard.
Reflections On The Screen- Superorganism: 2
I have no problem with this instrumental, I like the nature samples and the thumping bass, the subtle drumming that leads into the chorus is nice and the majestic guitar additions are really pretty. The vocals aren’t that impressive tho, and these lyrics are so fucking stupid, dear lord. Pls give me a break. You’d think that a song with so few lyrics wouldn’t find a way to fuck it up but god… should I quote this? I should quote this. “And he's still keen to chill with me, I've zoomed in 1080p”, “This is a portfolio, the chat log's loading way too slow / Your good girl lingerie shows / And she's still keen to chill with me, ditched on her master's degree / What a drag your life must be” “It makes me feel alive, sat in bed lit by the light / Of a silly gif playing on repeat (repeat)”. I’m sure the album is gonna be great, tho (update from my first listen: it is).
Been a While- Wiley: 2
A lot of the time I have to rely on the eccentric/off the wall production on Wiley albums to distract from his bars, but that isn’t here at all. It’s lyrically weak, the hook sucks, it’s sonically boring (overdramatic strings, a few synths & percussion). The only redeeming quality I see is that he hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to rap or anything.
Antidote- Preoccupations: 2
Mmmmmmmmmm not too into this one. I’m not entirely sure the coldwave stuff they’ve been throwing out recently compliments their sound that well. The production is so muddy, the echo isn’t used tastefully at all, it’s just not enjoyable. I do like that the drumming switches up near the end of the track tho.
only1(the hard way)- Code Orange: 1
Well this was a pretty big disappointment considering I actually really like a lot of Code Orange’s other recent material. It doesn’t flow well as a track at all, it’s suuuch a mess. It doesn’t have any structure and feels so slapped together and awkward. Just left me really unsatisfied.
Big Cloud- Wavves & Culture Abuse: 1
I have no idea who Culture Abuse is, but his vocals sound like a really watered-down off brand King Krule and Wavves’ boyish/whiny vocals don’t fit with them at all. Then there’s the fact the instrumental is so average, the melody sucks, the songwriting is fairly terrible. Sooooo.