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“Don’t You Need Somebody” – RedOne feat. Enrique Iglesias, R. City, Serayah, and Shaggy
Jessica Whitesel: This song is catchy as hell and it makes you want to stop whatever you are doing and dance. It harkens back to like 2011 when it was one dude featuring 20 other people, but as an updated throwback it is pretty good.
Courtney Miller: Combined with the tropical island poster adorning my cubicle, all I need is a tequila sunrise to let my problems float away. It’s a fun song. Try not to read too much deeper into the ska/reggae beats.
Sarah Finley: Enrique Iglesias and Shaggy may not be the first listed artists, but they certainly dominate the track. Created by a fun blend of artists I never would’ve guessed would collab, this is a track for singles who are exploring the flirting stage of relationships.
“Mayflies” – Benjamin Francis Leftwich
JW: Maybe I forget how BFL actually sounds, but this was much more upbeat musically than I was anticipating. The lyrics aren’t super upbeat but they aren’t totally depressing either. There’s plenty of emotional ambiguity, but they more than make up for it in relatability.
CM: The vocals are soft and breezy, but it works with the fantasy-style track he has going on. That being said, I’m not feeling it. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just pretty mellow and breathy.
SF: Breathy vocals with muted percussion and soft guitar make for a very calming and uplifting track. Optimistic lyrics perfect for a rainy, reading-in-pajamas kind of day.
“I Am a Nightmare” – Brand New
JW: Oh man, I remember “Sic Transit Gloria. . . Glory Fades” being my jam back in the day. But this is not what I expected from them. It is less moody and more popped up, and feels like it could be from that period in the ’80s when bands were trying to capitalize on the punk sound but not actually doing right.
CM: It was unobtrusive in that I didn’t realize I was listening to anything until it was pretty much over. It’s like slightly rockier elevator music. I’d probably pass.
SF: Angsty lyrics like “I am a nightmare and you are a miracle” just sound like the emo version of “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream” to me. This track relies too heavily on electric guitar and Jesse Lacey’s very limited vocal range is put on full display. Pass.
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – Adele
JW: I just want Adele to make a happy song once. Her voice is amazing, but I’m super over her never-ending heartbreak. That being said, I really do like this one: it’s paired down, but the focus is put on the beat and her vocals, making for a pretty stellar song. Also the chorus is 10/10.
CM: I love the low drum, guitar-picking intro. I like that Adele is branching out and trying new sounds, it’s pretty fun. I’d add it to my music collection easily.
SF: A suitable track for someone who’s just broken up with their wildly unimpressive (ex) partner. Empowering and devoid of any of the typical awful pettiness that accompanies break-ups, Adele demonstrates her radness once again.
“Life Itself” – Glass Animals
JW: This song is fashun. It doesn’t seem like something that people should enjoy or want to keep going back to, but damn it grows on you. I wasn’t fully convinced by the weird video game intro, but it works with the song, and I probably would listen to it again.
CM: It’s got a bit of that world-feel with the non-drum-kit drums. It has excellent beats, but dime-a-dozen vocals. It’s fun and a decent uptempo song that I’d listen to again, but not of my own volition.
SF: Glass Animals is back with their unique sound: upbeat and eclectic array of percussion combined with an electronic indie vibe. It’s not my favourite of their tracks, and certainly won’t top “Gooey” as most popular, but it’s a hit for sure.
“Say My Name” – Ólafur Arnalds feat. Arnor Dan
JW: I was expecting this to just be all instrumental. But then Arnor Dan comes in and sings this slowed down version of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and holy fucking shit I got chills. I’m a huge fan of the original but like this is just so pretty, and so raw. And just listen to it for the love of God, you will not regret it.
CM: Soft, measured opening, the layering of the different instruments results in a bittersweet, nostalgic instrumental. So much more emotion in the subdued but confident voice. I much prefer it over the original.
SF: The combination of string instruments with piano could probably bring me back from the dead. I 100 percent wish this cover didn’t have the detracting vocals accompanying it; the instrumentals are beautiful enough on their own.
“Svartskallar” – Stor
JW: So this is Swedish rap. It’s not bad, and he has really good flow — the beat isn’t too bad. But I feel like I might appreciate it more if I actually spoke Swedish. If you don’t care about words but like rap then this might be the song for you.
CM: As far as raps go it was inoffensive. Possibly because it wasn’t in English so I have no clue what he was saying, but still. It had rhythm, repetitive cowbells, and a virtually unchanging melody — listen at your own risk.
SF: Is this. . . Swedish rap combined with chimes? Alright. Although I have absolutely no idea what Stor is saying, I’m sure it’s straight fire. Anyone with the confidence to add a child’s favourite part of the garden section at Home Depot to their rap clearly knows what they’re doing.
“Can’t Let You Do It” – Eric Clapton
JW: Clapton is a guitar god. This song is blues-tinged and is clearly Clapton. I know my dad would love this song because he’s liked Clapton from the beginning. I wouldn’t even be mad if he made me listen to this in the car, so that is high praise.
CM: I like the horns and the harmonica. It’s easy to listen to, with just the right amounts of everything. Good laidback song, with a little guitar showing off.
SF: I didn’t realize Eric Clapton was still around doing things, but apparently so. This track isn’t particularly interesting or attention-grabbing. It’s just skilled guitar playing with repetitive, boring vocals.
“Nattpojken & Dagflickan” – Kent
JW: This is just so darn pop-py! But also super Swedish. That being said they all have good voices, and even though some of the words seem abrupt in comparison with English, it is a really good song. Side note: I have come to the conclusion that I need to learn Swedish.
CM: I get a musical’s climax-feel from the intro. Can’t tell you what the lyrics are saying, but the beat is solid, the music isn’t too monotonous, and the vocals — though gentle — are good.
SF: OooOOOooO more foreign tracks! This song sounds like it should be in a Disney film with the major chords and soft harmonizing between the artists.
“DOPE” – T.I. feat. Marsha Ambrosius
JW: T.I. can do better. This is better than “No Mediocre” mostly because Iggy Azalea isn’t on it, but that is setting the bar pretty low since she is kind of the worst. So if you were excited for new T.I. be prepared to be disappointed.
CM: The intro was fine but then no way. Nope, super turned off by the mediocre rap that’s got too many “motherfuckers” for its own good.
SF: I flinched as soon as I saw the track name and cautiously pressed play. I wasn’t pleasantly surprised, either. The first 30 seconds of this track are literally just, “Dope, dope, dope, dope” being faintly whispered, followed by the repetition of “high as a motherfucker.” Yawn.
“Don’t You Forget” – CAFUNÉ
JW: I want to like this but it’s just not my thing. There are too many things happening with the weird computer sounds in the background and then the change just past halfway through just seems like they were trying to do something so they could create the singing equivalent of a bass drop before the end; but the drop never comes and it’s just an anticlimactic build to the end.
CM: Crystalline crisp vocals, cheerful, yet a little seductive musically — I think this is a worthy song, both to listen to and to show your friends.
SF: “Put some red on your lips, give your reflection a kiss,” are lyrics I definitely needed to hear today. While not a 10/10, I would listen again. CAFUNÉ’s soft vocals are gentle and soothing and perfect for a candlelit bubble bath.
“Gucci Coochie” – Die Antwoord feat. Dita Von Teese, The Black Goat, and God
JW: The best way to describe this is early- to mid-2000s Eurotrash club jams. It is a hot mess. Dita Von Teese is talking throughout the whole thing, and someone is talking about how great someone’s boobs are. It is just like the audio equivalent of being hit on in a club, but you know it’s only because you are feeling yourself. It’s just a super weird song.
CM: Weird club/Alvin and the Chipmunks/Indian World music mix — and it does not work at all. Annoying noise that I couldn’t wait to be finished. Then the rap comes in and it is so bad, so monotonous, so inane. Cannot deal with this, I’m out.
SF: God bless this name, and who else could this have possibly been thought up by other than Die Antwoord? Dita Von Teese seductively mumbling “She gets everything she wants, she gets everything for free, she will fuck up your whole life” underneath Yolandi’s very childlike voice is a juxtaposition if I’ve ever heard one.