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“Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande
Jessica Whitesel: I really dislike Ariana’s voice. It is too nasally. This song has so much potential to be amazing, but it needed to go to a different artist. I couldn’t even finish listening to it.
Sarah Finley: I’m not typically an Ariana Grande fan, but this new track from Grande utilizes the lower parts of her vocal range, making it distinctly different from her usual music without losing the powerful effect.
Courtney Miller: I was unsure when the song first started, but it does grow on you — the lyrics really help with that because I find them relatable. Grande’s a great vocalist, but I always feel like it never shines through on her own music because she’s in this pop music bubble.
“WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS” – LANY
JW: I like that it is a calmer electronic inspired song, but it doesn’t really ever go anywhere. It just kind of stays on the same level for the whole song. It is also very, very, very repetitive and it becomes pretty clear with the painfully consistent backing track.
SF: My friends are all studying for midterms, so I identify strongly with the title of this track. This song is mildly repetitive with simplistic percussion and chord progression, but somehow it’s still catchy. Kudos.
CM: It’s a little repetitive, but in that good, yes-now-I-can-learn-the-lyrics way. The music is varied enough that it doesn’t get boring and I get a bit of ’90s nostalgia from the overall feel.
“Hallelujah California” – Luna Shadows
JW: This song honestly doesn’t sound that much different from a Lana Del Rey or Halsey song. It doesn’t do anything new and Lana Del Rey is doing the same thing already but better.
SF: Luna Shadows has a dreamy seductive voice, making me desperately nostalgic over the summers I spent playing in Southern California oceans with my friends. I’m guessing any listener will experience the same effect, even if they’ve never travelled south of the border.
CM: The vocals remind me of Halsey, and the music is kind of a haunting-pop with lots of echo. That being said, it’s a great mellow track for quieter moments.
“What You Talking About?” – Peter Bjorn and John
JW: I love Peter Bjorn and John. Their music is just super fun, and, even if I’m having a bad day, never ceases to make me feel better. This song is in that vein, so 10/10.
SF: Peter Bjorn and John have been a long-time favorite, and this new release doesn’t change anything.
CM: I kept waiting for something great vocally to happen but every time it built up it fizzled out. For whatever reason it makes me think of polka music and that’s not really my style.
“Ghost” – Oliver Heldens feat. Rumors
JW: I want to ghost on this song. It’s the kind of song that comes on the in the club and makes you not feeling bad about having to stop dancing to go pee for the 50th time that night.
SF: This song features weak bass drops and a weird change of pace halfway through that leaves me wondering what happened. It’s like the artist decided to give up halfway through, but their label made them finish the track.
CM: It sounds like a bad video game’s soundtrack, where the music’s the best part. I am on this cusp of not being able to decide if I like it — I want to because I like the idea and the vocals, but I can’t because of that video game quality. Multiple listens push me to the ‘no’ side of things.
“Taste the Feeling” – Avicii vs. Conrad Sewell
JW: Merp. I don’t know what feeling that sound conveys, but this song is merp. It’s just a weird remix of a song from a Coke commercial and and it doesn’t make me want to drink a Coke or dance, so merp.
SF: I’ve never really been an Avicii fan, and although this isn’t their usual sound, I’m still not overly impressed. While the beats and synthesizer are catchy, Conrad Sewell’s gentle vocals don’t particularly blend well with the electronic vibe.
CM: This I kind of love. It’s a feel-good tune where the vocals and music work together nicely and nothing feels recycled or homogenous.
“Jesus Made Me Bad” – Laora
JW: This song should be called, “Jesus Made Me Make Bad Music.” This song is trying to do things that so many other artists have already done, but Laora isn’t even close to being on the same level as them.
SF: Firstly, I really appreciate the title of this track, but if I’m being honest, that’s all I’m feeling. Tropical sounds combine with distorted and echo-y vocals, and it just didn’t come across well.
CM: I think she’s trying to incorporate too many styles and elements into one song. I can never get comfortable with it and enjoy it because as soon as I start to get down with it, it switches up and I go “wtf.” All that aside, I love the lyrics.
“Shrubbery” – Bronze Whale 5-D
JW: Their flow reminds me of Twista, but the paired down, almost video game-inspired backing track makes it feel a little less frenetic and chill. Seeing as they are talking about smoking pot for the whole song the chill vibe is a probably a good thing.
SF: I love when formerly underground artists have a breakthrough and enter my life, and this is exactly what happened here. Bronze Whale and 5-D combine to feature extremely talented lyricists, DJs, and background percussion.
CM: The shrubbery is where this belongs. . . I’m impressed they can spit their rhymes that fast, but that’s probably the only compliment I have. There’s a disconnect at times between the rhythm of the rap and the dull track.
“The Magician” – Andy Shauf
JW: I love the laid back vibe this song has, and Shauf’s voice is AMAZING. Also it’s pretty sweet that he is Canadian too, but like I can’t get over his voice. I love this song, and just gets better the longer you listen.
SF: Andy Shauf is an all-time favorite, and this track featuring soothing, masterful piano chords, string instruments, and clarinets make “The Magician” just as good as the rest of his work. Shauf’s voice is uniquely calming, reminding me of frolicking through fields with my golden retriever when I was little. I could listen to this all day.
CM: Soulful guitar, cascading piano, a brass section — I’m loving it. The vocals are emotive, but he needs a little more confidence because he seems a little unsure of himself and his choices at times.
“Shore” – Hoodies at Night feat. Milk & Bone
JW: This song isn’t going to stick around for very long. It’s been done before. The “ooooohh-ah” with the squeak at the end is too much. Also the weird vocals that sound like an untuned horn suck.
SF: This track begins with snapping, and distorted feminine vocals, but after that it’s fairly forgettable.
CM: Kind of repetitive, doesn’t seem to do anything particularly interesting throughout the song. But the slow burn from a morose melody into an upbeat jam saves it from the anonymity of monotony. I’d dub it background chill noise.
“The Woman” – Bo Baskoro
JW: I wasn’t convinced of this song at first. It sounded pretty darn generic, but about 45 seconds in, it really picks up and Baskoro really lets his voice shine. It would be nice if he did it more throughout the song, because he can sing.
SF: Don’t listen to this song if you’re going through a breakup. Aside from the heartbreaking lyrics, Bo Baskoro has a beautiful voice and combines them effortlessly with a simplistic percussion beat and keyboarding.
CM: Sturdy vocals and rhythmic, melodic music go really well together on this track and I really love Bo’s voice. If you like alt-pop, you’ll probably like this.
“One More” – Weaves
JW: I don’t know what this song is. It is like it wants to be a talk-sing-rockabilly track, but it doesn’t really do any of those things well. If Weaves picked a sound and stuck with it, it might be a more successful song.
SF: This beach rock track, while typical of the genre, isn’t really my style. The artist’s voice seems to be at its limit throughout the entirety of the track, and the electric guitars are too screech-y. I’ll stick to my heart breaking Bo Baskoro.
CM: Nope. It starts off almost alright and then it builds into this hugely discordant cacophonous vomit before returning to the almost-alrightness it started with. Dude, it’s like you went, “Okay and here I just want every instrument we have to make a random sound — it’ll be good, I promise.” Don’t make any more promises.