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“If You Go” – Passenger
Antony Czeto: It’s cute, though I really feel like the only appropriate time to hear this is in some rom-com featuring Ellen Page and Zach Braff in 2005. The song itself is not too bad, but it seems like a case of too little too late.
Sarah Finley: Romantic lyrics + gentle strings section + tambourines = a sweet and loving track that anyone who’s just entered into a relatively new relationship will vibe with.
Courtney Miller: It’s more upbeat than other Passenger music I’ve heard and I’m loving the bassline despite its simplicity. Honestly, I’ve got nothing bad to say about this song. It’s good, the lyrics are honest, and it’s not boring.
“Starboy” – The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
AC: I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE WHEN I’M WI — wait, this is something else . . . It’s a step up for the Weeknd, but it’s kind of a step down for Daft Punk. I really dig the mellow vibes but when you have the Weeknd collaborating with Daft Punk I can’t help but feel like they could have made a really great banger. Maybe it’ll grow on me once I hear it at every club ad nauseam.
SF: I’m fairly certain Daft Punk just can’t do anything wrong ever, and their influence on this track makes it easily the best the Weeknd has ever created. I give it 10/10.
CM: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure why the Weeknd is as famous as he is — kinda like how I feel about Drake. That being said, I love the percussion in this and the vocal melodies when they appear. Not such a fan of the lyrics, but I understand the sentiment.
“Really Doe” – Danny Brown feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt
AC: I really enjoy Danny Brown. His voice is totally different and he’s a really funny rapper; he’s like a darker, more serious Chance the Rapper. In this track, Danny takes the backseat to other monster rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt, and falls a bit flat compared the others’ verses. I am really excited for the new album though, especially since it’s NAMED AFTER A FUCKING JOY DIVISION SONG!
SF: Any track that begins with the combination of chimes and a bass doesn’t particularly leave a good impression for me, and it never gets better. With lyrics like, “she be on my testicle,” I’m shocked I made it through the whole song.
CM: 0:11 — make it stop.
“WALLS” – Kings of Leon
AC: The fluttery piano floats just above the rest of the track and keeps me in this suspended melancholy mood. It’s pretty, it’s soft, and it’s slightly depressing. So why don’t I dig it? Maybe they’re just hitting their old man phase, maybe I’ve just heard too many the National songs that could kick this one’s ass, maybe I’m just a cranky asshole today and we’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow.
SF: Kings of Leon is back at it again, but WALLS is markedly different from their typical sound. The lead singer’s voice is kept in lower octaves and at a much slower tempo, featuring quiet guitar plucking and soothing minor piano chords.
CM: I really love the soft intro — like them, love them, or hate them, they do pretty well at matching the music and vocals. The softness continues throughout the song and it’s a nice gentle change from the rougher rock style they typically have. I could fall asleep to this.
“Guys My Age” – Hey Violet
AC: This is really great! The production is very clean, the vocals sound smooth, and it’s got such a catchy hook that’s just begging for every 18- to 24-year-old bedroom producer to remix terribly. It’s something you can listen to while getting stoned, hanging out with your dog, eating breakfast, or even all three
SF: If you’re feelin’ moody about university boys and their lack of knowledge on everything from clits to how to be a good boyfriend, this is the catchy song for you. *Saves to literally every playlist I have*
CM: I get a slight Halsey feel from this, so I kinda love it. It can be a little repetitive, but it’s more of a mantra/motto than something annoying. The song is dynamic and doesn’t stay the same musically throughout which is always nice.
“Sthlm Nights” – Peg Parnevik
AC: Didn’t I just review this song one paragraph up? How in the HELL does Sthlm mean “Stockholm”? There’s a certain point where taking vowels out of song and band names doesn’t make sense anymore. MGMT? Management, cool. MSTRKRFT? Masterkraft, fine. DLRN means Delorean? Umm OK . . . but I draw the line at STHLM! No more taking vowels out of things!
SF: Peg Parnevik’s powerful vocals are sure to impress, not to mention lyrics that craft a narrative of empowerment. Trumpets in the background just add to the appeal.
CM: The power behind the vocals = love. I listened to this song three times because it was good and catchy. Perfectly acceptable for shower time or road tripping if the aim is to belt lyrics at the top of your lungs.
“The Stall” – Warpaint
AC: Warpaint’s been releasing a lot of cool music recently, and this is really no exception. The rhythm section is very funky, and leaves a lot of room for the guitar and vocals to just space out on. The vocals are smooth and sexy, and the last few seconds of the song just push that groove over the edge, I almost wish the ending was longer.
SF: Haunting feminine vocals and an equally eerie bassline align this track with Warpaint’s classic ambience. All-girl rock bands are just in general A-fucking-plus, and this is no exception.
CM: I feel like this would be amazing if you were tripping on something — it has a bit of that loftiness to it. The electric guitar had a solo moment, but it wasn’t very good — it didn’t showcase anything about the guitar’s or the guitarist’s abilities. Solid 6/10.
“You Want it Darker” – Leonard Cohen
AC: I’m a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, and I love that on his more melodic songs he usually gets someone else to sing it; but he really just doesn’t do spoken word music justice anymore. The writing is still incredible, the production is some of the best he’s had, that chorus is awesome as hell, but man, just bring your vocals down a bit.
SF: This is one of those tracks that begins with a speech, and sometimes that’s alright, but this time the voice is too deep and raspy to be taken seriously. Sounding like a video game character (an effect that isn’t aided by the lyric, “I’m ready, my lord”), it never actually goes away. I am uncomfy. Please make it stop.
CM: Cohen still sounds like deep slam poetry tossed over some basic rhythm riffs and called songs. And it’s still good — if you’re into slam poetry, some snaps. I did get bored by halfway through, though, it’s just pretty monotonous.
“Geneva” – Sea Bed
AC: Sexy as fuck. The beat is a total knock-off of UK Garage/Dubstep, and the vocals are super modern and reverbed to all hell. Then toward the end of the song they just bring the whole mix up and you get shivers down your back (that’s call a “frisson,” by the way). It’s the kind of song that makes me want to take a drive down the highway late at night. I mean, if I had a car . . .
SF: This sounds like the kind of track that will eventually be overtaken by EDM shows, having bass drops added to its originally mellow, echoing, and slightly unmemorable sound. It’s not bad, it’s just not that noteworthy.
CM: I dunno. It’s not bad, it’s just not very good either. Like, there’s this part that I think is trying to be a bridge but it’s almost just like her screeching with a little bit of like sex noises and it just throws the whole thing off for me.
“Campaign” – Ty Dolla $ign feat. Future
AC: Autotune? Really? It’s intense, has a dark beat, and white kids in the suburbs will be drinking to it. It’s generic and incredibly boring. I get that it’s relevant to the whole American election thing, and maybe they even used autotune to harken back to the 2008 elections, but that’s no excuse for being so goddamn blasé. I think I’ve developed psoriasis this track is so dry.
SF: I wince every time I see Ty Dolla $ign’s name attached to any track. This didn’t change my feelings at all. To be entirely honest, I just zoned out for three minutes and waited for it to be over.
CM: Jessica, why do you keep making me listen to Ty Dolla $ign? It never gets better and I just want to slowly die the entire time because a slow and painful death would be preferable to whatever torturous hell this is.
“Long Walk Home” – Scenic Route to Alaska
AC: Yee-haw. This is probably the best country-influenced song to come out in recent memory, so like, if that’s your thing that’s great. The songwriting is actually fairly unique, the vocals are nice and clean, and that stop in the middle was pretty cool. Yee-haw.
SF: Folksy and featuring upbeat instrumentals, you’d never guess this track’s lyrics were heartbreaking. This is the kind of musical juxtaposition I live for. Bless.
CM: First of all, I just wanna say that I love the band name. It is exactly as indie-rock as you would expect. I like how they use the percussion to punctuate the lyrics, and overall the musicality is pretty solid.
“Tribes” – Beach Season
AC: This track is OK, there’s just nothing special about it. The hook is almost nonexistent, the beat is very unenthusiastic, and nothing in the track really feels present at all. I could see it getting played at the mall at Guess, while I walk by, with my headphones on, playing something else.
SF: Erotic lyrics and soft but confident vocals make “Tribes” the missing track you’ve been searching for to complete your one-night stand playlist.
CM: If you’re trying to turn your living room into a club, but not like a super sleazy club, this might be fine to put on. All around, it’s pretty inoffensive, but I never need to listen to this again.