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“Raging” – Kygo feat. Kodaline
Jessica Whitesel: The vocals are strong but not overwhelming and, given that this is a song about partying, it’s a good thing. Also the upbeat but chill feel to this song makes it perfect for pre-gaming.
Sarah Finley: Gentle but quick guitar strumming begin this folk-y track, adding in some shakers, some keyboards, and then about a minute in, electronic instrumental manipulation. In this way, Kygo and Kodaline create a perfect blend of their unique and distinctly separate styles of music.
Courtney Miller: Starts off almost indie folk, then adds a poppy bass drum and keyboard riffs. Lyrics were sweet, though (“I can brave it all for you”), so it’s actually pretty good and never a dull moment.
Zach Siddiqui: I won’t lie: I’ve officially grown completely bored of the multitude of love songs that talk about how willing the singer is to wait forever and go through so much for the sake of their relationship. I won’t take it out too harshly on this, though — it’s a decent piece, with special props to the guitar and the beginning and the versatile vocals near the end.
“Inside Out” – The Chainsmokers feat. Charlee
JW: This song is kind of a let down after “Roses.” It’s not a bad song it just is kind of meh. It is a pretty song and better than “#SELFIE” but it isn’t really a great party song.
SF: I’m not really a fan of The Chainsmokers, and this track doesn’t change that opinion for me. Charlee’s gentle singing of romantic lyrics is the only appealing part of this track; Chainsmokers take it over with their sad attempts at bass drops, drowning her out in the process.
CM: It’s decent synth-pop, albeit a bit repetitive, but the vocals are pretty good actually. The chorus doesn’t make me want to sing along, but I don’t mind having it in the background.
ZS: Me, at 1:09 PM: it involves the makers of “#SELFIE,” so I mean, it’s already probably perfection. Me, at 1:46 PM, because I listened to the song and then got distracted for the other 34 minutes: Well, nothing can compare to the masterpiece of “#SELFIE.” However, it’s a soothing piece with a sweet, if similarly clichéd, message.
“Dreamland” – Wild Belle
JW: I could see this being the main track for an indie romantic drama. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song because it is a good song it just feels like it needs a movie to go with it for it to be truly great.
SF: Wild Belle’s Natalie Bergman sounds a bit like Lana Del Rey in this song, featuring Eliot Bergman’s classic saxophone which makes it appearance in the chorus. Chicago natives, this sibling duo is a group to keep your eye on in the future.
CM: A little trancey, a little hypnotic, it’s a little too mellow and slow for my taste.
ZS: I’m really enjoying the immersive imagery in the lyrics, and the tune is sweet and steady. Hearing, this, I envision a romantic late-night encounter at a café with the recent object of your affection. Very nice.
“Come and See Me” – PARTYNEXTDOOR feat. Drake
JW: Sad Drake is sad, and the feeling is catching. He managed to make PARTYNEXTDOOR sound like the only party they would host is a pity party. But if you are feeling bad because your crush doesn’t ever come to you, then this is your song.
SF: I think if there’s one factor that will keep me from being a Canadian citizen, it’s that I don’t like Drake. That being said, this isn’t the worst one I’ve ever heard. Drake’s slow and almost monotonous singing is accompanied by closed hi-hat percussion. Aside from the same chords in the background over and over again, that’s pretty much it.
CM: I’m not sure what all the hype about Drake is for, because this was lukewarm at best. The song is autotuned, never really goes anywhere, and sounds as bored as I feel.
ZS: I think the chorus is actually me when I see people from high school and they ask why I haven’t stayed in touch. . . All kidding aside, it’s a rad — if slightly basic — rap with a very tranquil feel. Give it a listen!
“Efter festen” – Laser & bas
JW: I have zero idea what the words are since it is in Swedish but that doesn’t matter this song is catchy as hell and super fun. It just makes you want to dance around and maybe twirl in a dress that has a super full twirling friendly skirt. Go Sweden!
SF: Just because I have absolutely no idea what Laser & bas are saying doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy this adorable track. Although, admittedly the first ten seconds of the track sound a bit like how the minions from Despicable Me sound when they’re arguing. The rest is entirely adorable with beautiful piano playing and cymbal heavy percussion.
CM: Has a “Footloose,” 1980s feel, music-wise. Other than that it’s pretty unmemorable.
ZS: It’s got a fun and festive flavour, and it’s probably one of the songs I’ve enjoyed most this week. I won’t pretend to understand what’s happening in the song, but I’m almost motivated to learn Swedish now, and well, that should tell you how much I think you should try this out.
“If it Ain’t Love” – Jason Derulo
JW: Does anybody else miss when Jason Derulo sang his name at the beginning of his songs because I do. It allowed me to know who was singing the pretty darn mediocre song and be like ahhh this is why it sucks, and then skip it.
SF: Jason Derulo is always so impressed with women’s bodies in his songs — it makes great cardio music, and this is no exception. Upbeat percussion, plenty of “babe”s, and Derulo’s signature head voice complete this track that seems factory made for a cardio playlist.
CM: I kept waiting for him to say his own damn name. I dunno, it was upbeat, he hits the notes, but I’m still not feeling it-something about the track turns me off.
ZS: Crazy and dance-y, I find this to be quite likeable! The brevity makes it difficult for me to come to an especially strong opinion on it, but hey — this is definitely decent for any party-like event.
“Butterfly” – Twin Peaks
JW: The lo-fi fuzzy sound to this track works with this tune’s slight rockabilly, southern rock vibe. It feels like modern AM radio, catchy as hell dad rock.
SF: Honestly, I’m not that much of a fan. The lead singer’s nasally voice is too distracting for me to gain anything from the song. The guitar chords aren’t overly appealing, and just overall bleh.
CM: Oh my word. This song is trying to do too many things at once — it has like a country/classic rock and roll music-base, and then the vocals are like wannabe grunge or something, and it’s just overall unpalatable.
ZS: Very different and out-there, to the point that I have trouble placing it into a genre. I like it. . . I think? It’s certainly intriguing and I love anything that makes me feel confused and internally unprepared about what’s going on. Sort of like capitalism. Wait. Um. I’m just going to leave now and tell you that this is fun and listening to it will be much more fun than listening to me.
“No Money” – Galantis
JW: So the weird ass album art aside this is a pretty catchy song. If it were in the club, I would dance to it and relate to the “I’m broke but fuck that’s it’s ok I’m gonna do me” vibe.
SF: I identify very strongly with the title of this track. Luckily, it’s also catchy with child-like vocals and a heavy bass drop at around two minutes.
CM: This sounds like Kids Pop has decided to try doing original songs. I mean, I share the sentiment — I ain’t giving anyone a dollar, but I can’t overlook the sad Kids-Pop-Tries-Too-Hard vibe.
ZS: Feels very futuristic and devil-may-care. I can see this playing in the background of the end of the first episode of a show’s new season, when all the new plot points start rolling through and fun character development happens. Worth checking out!
“Black Man In A White World” – Michael Kiwanuka
JW: Love the hand claps in this song and the semi-gospel/soul vibe. The social commentary is also pretty solid, but it an catchy not preachy way. I would definitely listen to more of Michael Kiwanuka’s music.
SF: Emulating the slave spiritual style of music from American 19th century via clapping, repetition, and echoing vocals with sad lyrics, Michael Kiwanuka paints a very clear picture of what it’s like to be a minority.
CM: A beautifully uncluttered song, with lyrics from the soul, though he does repeat the title way too much and I’m not a fan of fade out endings.
ZS: My definite favourite this week. An intense beat, nice vocals, a distinct sound, and it doesn’t feel like the same portions are being recycled throughout. It feels almost-retro-but-not: timeless. I’ve not heard of the artist before, but I wish I had earlier. Great work.
“Kiss Me When I Bleed” – White Lung
JW: 15-year-old me is freaking out, but 25-year-old me? Not so much. I do appreciate that the lead singer is female and, given that there aren’t that many female rockers that I can name off the top of my head, that is awesome, but it’s just not my current aesthetic.
SF: Maybe it’s that I listened to this at eight in the morning, but this song is just too heavy for me. Heavy electric guitars and loud angry vocals aren’t really my jam at any point in the day. But if that’s your thing, White Lung is the band for you.
CM: Bless. A nice, guitar-ridden rock song with lots of kick drum. It’s a little closer to thrash rock than I’d like, but it’s still good listening.
ZS: Hits its stride immediately and doesn’t let up once. Not much else to say, really — I like the power here and I think the song capitalizes on it well to create an engaging experience.
“Sleep on It” – Zealyn
JW: It isn’t really the best song out there. It is kind of just another disappointing electronic song. The vocalist has a lot of potential but it just get overshadowed by the boring been done before electronic backing track.
SF: This super angsty track isn’t really vibing with me, despite how much I love to sleep. Breathy vocals just aren’t my cup of tea, and the instrumentals aren’t redeeming enough to make up for that.
CM: I wish I could say it’s amazing, but I can’t. It’s good, and it’s well done, but it’s also nothing I haven’t heard before.
ZS: A heavy song that encapsulates the stress of difficult decisions well. It has a softly melancholic sound to it that draws you in and keeps you listening for some catharsis without being irritating.
“I Wanna Know” – Alesso feat. Nico & Vinz
JW: This is a dancing friendly song that wouldn’t have you in an awkward grinding session with your weird neighbour from down the hallway. It is light, fun, and worth a listen and dance — or two.
SF: Nico & Vinz bring their signature sound to this track, intermingling with Alesso’s DJing. Upbeat percussion, piano chords, and catchy rhymes are well combined with the kind of music you’d hear on Jamaican tourist commercials — not that I’m complaining.
CM: Groovy, spot-on vocals, and makes me want to sing along despite knowing absolutely none of the lyrics. Fun, feel-good tune.
ZS: I don’t really feel that the track needed to be as long as it was. I wouldn’t really listen to this for the sake of listening to it, but I can see it being amazing background music for some sort of video game dungeon, depending on the aesthetic of the game. . . It’s got that nicely ominous yet unoppressive feel to it.