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“Closer” – The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
Jessica Whitesel: It’s no “Roses,” but it’s not bad. It has more of a chill kind of love song type feel, but still upbeat and danceable. This is the kind of song that comes on in the club and then you either run to the bar to get another drink, head to the bathroom and cry about your shitty ex, or sloppily make-out on the dance floor.
Courtney Miller: Full disclosure: I freaking love Halsey. If she wasn’t featured on this track, I would not rate it as highly as I do. It starts off just fine, but when she drops in — hot damn man, the song gets taken to another level. I won’t spin this as much as I do Badlands, but I would definitely listen to this over again.
Jessica Pickering: The first song features Halsey. I am truly blessed. I barely listened to the first verse because I was just waiting for her. This is my favourite song that’s been on New Music Friday in a long time. The only thing that would have made it better is if it were all Halsey. I love her.
“F*** Apologies” – JoJo feat. Wiz Khalifa
JW: I know JoJo had some issues with her record company and wasn’t able to record the music that she wanted to, but this sounds like it is straight out of 2006 and was another single paired with “Too Little Too Late.” It’s old, boring, and Khalifa doesn’t really add anything to it either.
CM: Well, the palm-muted guitar instantly reminds me of that Gotye song, so I’m already a little turned off by this track. JoJo’s got some great pipes, and I mean, as a Canadian I have a love/hate thing going on with the whole “fuck apologies” sentiment. Wiz Khalifa’s rap wasn’t terrible? This was overall OK — I wouldn’t change the station but I guarantee I won’t seek it out.
JP: Well I hate JoJo’s voice but I feel the message of this song on a whole other level. This song is solidly OK overall. I am resigned to the fact that it will be every pop radio station’s new go-to track.
“Dang!” – Mac Miller feat. Anderson .Paak
JW: I feel like this would play at a millennial cocktail party. If millennials could afford to hold cocktail parties in fancy repurposed warehouses. It has this kind of elevator jazz feel to it with a chill bassline, and some other loops thrown in for good measure. Also there is rapping, but like if it was at this hypothetical party it would just blend into the conversation.
CM: This has an easy-listening/soft jazz feel before the rap starts. I really like the brass, and if I was in the mood for elevator music, I’d be OK with this as an instrumental anyway. The raps are generally filled with gratuitous expletives and other language I dislike, but they have good rhythm if you can ignore the content.
JP: I have a vague memory of being told not to like Mac Miller in high school and I think that’s affecting my enjoyment of this song; that, or it just really sucks. I am also hating that it’s five whole minutes long. It takes a very specific person to pull off a song that is over three minutes long, and Mac Miller is not one of those people.
“Run Run Blood” – Phantogram
JW: So the background sounds like someone is singing into a didgeridoo. Other than that the overall feel of this song is very Muse-esque. If they did Linkin Park nu-metal and replaced Matt Bellamy with a female vocalist. Honestly the didgeridoo singing is the best part, which is pretty damn sad.
CM: Pretty mediocre, not going to sugarcoat it. It’s completely unmemorable because I just listened to it and I cannot recall a single second of the song. If you want noise just to have noise, fine, but I think that’s all the mileage you can get out of this one.
JP: I’m not artsy enough for this. This is probably a great social statement mixed with challenges of the medium, or some other combination of hipster buzzwords, but I just hear noise.
“This Bitter Land” – Nas feat. Erykah Badu
JW: I’m getting kind of a jazz feel from the beginning, before Nas and holy crap I forgot how good he was at rapping. But that being said, even though Badu’s vocals are beautiful and Nas is on point I got bored halfway through because it never really went anywhere musically.
CM: Badu’s vocals are haunting and beautiful, lingering even after the instruments have paused. Nas’ rap is emotive, powerful, and well-written. The overarching melancholic feel takes this song to an amazing songwriting skill-level that I don’t think we see all too often these days.
JP: This song is hauntingly beautiful. This song is part of a soundtrack for The Land, a film about Cleveland’s hip-hop culture (shout-out to Google for this info). After hearing this, I really want to see the movie.
“Fake It” – Bastille
JW: This song knows how to build musically. It’s like a multilayered cake with nuts, where some things are softer and sweeter and other things are a little more savoury and textural. The lyrics aren’t necessarily their strongest but they more than make up for it with the production and musicality of the song.
CM: Oh glory. Any day with new Bastille is a great day. I’m so stoked for this album, guys, I can’t even articulate it as well as I’d like to. This song just raises my hopes for the release of Wild World because it’s so elegantly crafted, with classically brilliant lyrics, and top-notch musicality. Ugh, so much perfect in four minutes.
JP: The past 24 hours have been such a gift for me as far as music goes and this is the cherry on top. Bastille is giving me life with this song. Their new album drops September 9 and it honestly can’t come soon enough; especially if the rest of it is anything like this song.
“Till the Tomb” – Beaty Heart
JW: While I don’t mind stripped down music, the vocalist just sounds strained, and like they are holding back. I’ve sung like that before and it’s usually when I don’t know the words or am unsure of the tune. So while it is chill, that kind of kills the vibe. Also, rhythmically it seems a little wonky.
CM: This is a super chill, mellow song. It’s not intrusive, and rests well in the background for reliable study music. It’s got some instrumentation and percussion that elevates it above the regular music rabble, so it’s enjoyable but really low-key.
JP: I have no strong feelings about this one way or the other. It’s a little boring and kind of forgettable. It was good for multitasking, though; I was able to reply to some emails without getting distracted, so that was plus.
“Lost Youth/Lost You” – How to Dress Well
JW: I really want to like this but I can’t. The lyrics are kind of sappy, and that is balanced by the backing track but I still find it kind of syrupy. It might be the repetition or the fact that love songs kind of make me cringe at the best of times, or the power guitar solo that feels like it was ripped right out of an ’80s power ballad. I’ll pass on this one. It’s also way too fucking long. Just stop.
CM: I love the sentimental qualities of this song, how his voice can hit such pristine high notes, and how well the melodies flow together. It’s beautiful, and one of my favourites off this playlist.
JP: This song is good but it’s a major buzzkill. Personally I’m trying to get psyched for the weekend right now and this song is extremely counterproductive. And then there’s the weird key-change halfway through. I just want it to be over at this point.
“Guilty Flowers” – Ward Thomas
JW: It’s a little country, but in the best way possible. It’s kind of an ode to everybody who has fucked up and stayed in a relationship too long with a person who was cheating on them. I’m pouring one out for you, but listen to this while you burn some roses or something.
CM: OK, I’m loving the minimalist guitar and harmonizing voices before it bursts into a full band song. I’m such a sucker for buildups like that. It took me completely by surprise because I thought Ward Thomas was like a solo male artist’s name instead of the name of a female duo. Also it’s a bit country so there’s some naiveté which I find really endearing.
JP: This is nice. I think that’s a really good word for this song: nice. Nice is unassuming, plain, and not very compelling. At least it’s upbeat.
“Real Love Baby” – Father John Misty
JW: I love Father John Misty and I love the lo-fi fuzzy vibe this song has. It is something that I could listen to over and over again without getting bored, just because every time you hear one of his songs you notice something different either lyrically or musically. It is worth multiple listens and is probably my favourite of the week.
CM: This reminds of the oldies songs my mother listens to, constantly and without reprieve. It’s fine, but it’s kind of boring.
JP: This song makes me think of the early 1960s. It’s not super hippie but it has a very mellow vibe. I don’t think I’d listen to it a lot; maybe only during finals to de-stress or on a beach or something like that.
“Life is a Honeymoon” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Ziggy Marley
JW: I am not prepared for this song. It’s just a messed up, mashup sound. One of the lyrics is, “Let love keep us lifting my beer.” So, like, priorities. I mean I like beer but I would like something more substantial than an emotion lifting my beer — maybe like a hand or something? Oh and Ziggy Marley is on this song for about two seconds so he doesn’t really matter.
CM: OK, so I know I’m the country fan, but FGL isn’t really country. I mean they are, but they aren’t. They’re actually really polarizing: most people either love them or hate them. Now, I don’t hate them but they’re not my fave and if given the option, I won’t listen to them — so, yeah. I wish Ziggy could’ve saved this but there was just not enough in it for that to happen.
JP: I’m not going to like this song. I haven’t even started listening to yet, I’m just guessing. I really hate country. Update: I’m listening to it and this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. How do people enjoy this? I listened to the whole song but I’m not happy about it.
“Brand New Moves” – Hey Violet
JW: I’m getting a pop-y bastard child of Marilyn Manson’s version of “The Beautiful People” and Lorde’s “ Tennis Court” kind of vibe. It would be a good kind of lap dance song, but if you were doing the lap dance you would get bored just because of how repetitive the whole song is. It doesn’t really ever go anywhere.
CM: Ooh, this is good. Sultry, groovy, and definitely dance-worthy. I could see somebody stripping to this, no problem. I’m a fan.
JP: I really like this. This is how you end a playlist. I can see myself playing this for all my friends until they tell me to stop. And then I would continue to play it anyways. A+ Hey Violet, nice work.