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“Go Off” – M.I.A.
Courtney Miller: Intro is too cacophonous and disconnected, and vocals are too autotuned. It’s dynamic enough to be interesting, but it’s overall not pleasing enough to sustain that interest.
Jessica Pickering: It’s not my favourite M.I.A. song but it’s OK. The backing track is really good but super distracting. I think I was able to focus on the lyrics a grand total of three times during this song. It did put me in the mood to listen to “Bad Girls,” though.
“Live in the Dark” – Jeff Beck
CM: I really like the classic rock feel to this. The stellar guitar licks throughout really bring the song up a couple notches. The vocals worked really well with the melody and atmosphere.
JP: I don’t know why, but there was a part of me that thought this might be Beck. Like, Beck Beck. I don’t know if I’m disappointed or relieved that it’s not. Anyways, I don’t care for this song. The guy is a famous guitar player so the song heavily revolves around that instrument. Honestly, it’s a bit overkill.
“Mean What I Mean” – AlunaGeorge feat. Leikeli47, Dreezy
CM: It’s fun, catchy, and not overly manufactured. That being said, it doesn’t stand out. This is one of those songs they play near the end of the party because by then no one cares if the songs are all winners or not.
JP: I like this song but I don’t like this song, you know? There are parts that hit and then there are parts that really miss. It’s fun but I wouldn’t voluntarily listen to it again.
“Cruel” – Snakehips feat. Zayn
CM: I really like the track, actually. There’s always something happening and there’s a sophistication as the song progresses. Zayn’s vocals are reliable, but aside from the chorus and bridge, they don’t elevate the song at all.
JP: I know Zayn’s doing his own thing but he’s always just going to be one of the guys from One Direction to me. I can’t take any of his solo stuff seriously because I just picture his cartoon face in The Adventurous Adventures of One Direction. If you haven’t seen the video I’m talking about, a YouTuber makes fun of One Direction in cartoon-form for an extended period of time.
“She Sets the City on Fire” – Gavin DeGraw
CM: I love Gavin DeGraw. Nothing will ever come close to “Cop Stop” for me, but this was pretty good. The intro threw me off a bit because it does not sound like what I think of when I think of DeGraw, but after that it worked really well. Catchy, rhythmic, and well-executed.
JP: Can we go back in time and make sure Gavin DeGraw stops making music? It’s like he never realized he was a one-hit wonder. He keeps making music and it’s all so subpar. Just stop dude, please.
“Behind Your Back” – Nelly Furtado
CM: This is pretty mellow. Too mellow for me and a bit too repetitive throughout. The bridge sounded promising at the start, but then it followed the same fate as the rest of the song. It’s one of those songs that you think TD Canada Trust will turn into ‘hold’ music.
JP: Holy shit, Nelly Furtado is still making music? Her and Gavin DeGraw in the same playlist? What year is it, 2008? I was never a huge Nelly Furtado fan and this song seems to just maintain the status quo for her. At least Furtado fans will enjoy it. Meanwhile, I’ll be trying my hardest to never hear her voice again.
“Semaphore” – Flock of Dimes
CM: It sounds like this is a misplaced tune from the ‘80s. Are the ‘80s coming back musically? I’m not down for that. The vocals work well with the music, and it’s not unenjoyable, it’s just not my style.
JP: I think this is the best song on the playlist so far. To me, it has a low-key Florence + the Machine feel, especially in the vocals. I have no idea what a semaphore is but I don’t think that really matters. Update: it’s either about flag signalling or computer programming. In both cases, gross.
“Vi Ses” – Lord Siva
CM: The vocals are too strained for most of the song and it doesn’t make an impact. It’s designed as background music, I hope, because that’s all I can see it being.
JP: This is a different language, right? I really hope so. I’m just very confused. I tried to google this guy to understand what this song is and I just kept getting results for the Hindu God Lord Shiva. Eventually, I found the guys on Facebook and had a really good laugh at the Danish to English translation. Point is, the song’s not great.
“Rush” – Skogsberg feat. Akdogan
CM: I could see this being a hit in a club. For regular listening, I don’t think it really works. It just has that club-directed dance vibe and rhythm that I don’t want to listen to away from that environment.
JP: No. Just no. This is shitty and I don’t want to listen to it. I’m not sure what it is, I just don’t like it.
“Let it Show” – Skylar Stecker
CM: Yeah, I can get down with this. It’s pop, but in all the right ways. Great vocals with spot-on falsetto, catchy melodies, and fun to move to in a desk chair.
JP: Oh man, what a refreshing addition to a genre where all the songs sound the same. (Is the sarcasm translating well?) Seriously though, you could play this song five times in a row and I’d just think I was listening to Virgin Radio. Also, I just realized this song is called “Let it Show” not “Let it Snow,” which makes much more sense but is nowhere near as exciting.
“Superlove” – Tinashe
CM: Her quick spoken-word is impressive and she can sing well. I dunno, it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not a bad listen, but I’m expecting more from someone who seems to have a lot of talent. The male vocal interjections throughout detracted from the overall pleasure of the song. I think it needs a bit more maturation.
JP: “I’m trying to make you my baby daddy” is not a song lyric I ever want to hear again. If I didn’t have to listen to the words, I’d probably enjoy this song.
“Make Me. . .” – Britney Spears feat. G-Eazy
CM: Britney’s calling for “something sensational” but fails to deliver. Her experience shines through in this song, it’s extremely well-crafted. It has everything a chart would look for in a pop song these days. But I find the formula old, and Britney should be better than that.
JP: You have no idea how hard it is to not make an “Oops! . . . I Did it Again” joke right now. While you can tell it’s Britney the second you hear the vocals, everything else about this song makes it impossible to tell it apart from similar music. I played “Fly” by Nicki Minaj over it the second time I listened to it and not only does the music sound ridiculously similar but it would also be a pretty good mash-up. Fun fact: most mash-ups are good when they involve Nicki Minaj.